“What Happened To Iowa Nice?” Another View

A few weeks ago I wrote a post concerning “Iowa Nice.”      That is the perception that Iowans are by their nature nice people. That is a perception that is getting an update as the nation is astonished by Iowa’s exceptionally hard turn to the extreme right.

Today we have sometime contributor Don Paulson of Letts share his take on “Iowa Nice.”:

Whatever happened to ‘Iowa Nice”? Republicans in the Iowa legislature have filed dozens of bills that would take a sledgehammer to common decency and common sense.

Iowans prefer to have strong public schools, clean water, real health care centers, help with child care costs, no limits on trucking industry liabilities, independent State Auditors and State Consumer Advocates, leave SNAP alone, keep their children safe in the workplace, and a fair tax system.

Robert Leonard (Iowa Capital Dispatch, “Drowning Public Schools in the Bathtub to Promote GOP Ideology”, 3/18/23) explains what is going on here.

He states, “It’s a perfect formula. Underfund government, make sure it underperforms, let the underperformance be used to demonize the underfunded government efforts, and then make the arguments that public money should be diverted into the private sector instead because the private sector can allegedly do it ‘better’.”

Senate Study Bill 1126 is a case in point. As Mike Owen explains, (Common Good Iowa, 3/3/23) SSB 1126 would accelerate tax cuts passed last year and eventually eliminate the state income tax. The bill is reckless and irresponsible. Eliminating the income tax would shrink our General Fund by about half. This is a cut in services every bit as much it is a cut in taxes.”

This has been tried in other states- it doesn’t work.

When you factor in the cost of the Governor’s religious school voucher program, the contract to Odyssey to administer it, and the potential legal costs in discriminating against a targeted group of students, Iowa may need more revenue.

Well put, Don. 

It is sad what this extremist session of the legislature and our extremist governor have done to Iowa, its citizens and its reputation.

Posted in Iowa legislature 2023, Kim Reynolds | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Sick Of The Murders Of Children? Do Something!

Rep Jamaal Bowman calls out Republicans as cowards (2 minutes):

 Do you remember a little over a month ago when far right Republicans were displaying pins depicting assault weapons as if they are some kind of fun toy? I do not know if these far right Republicans are still wearing these pins. Really they don’t have to. The whole party in congress and in our legislature is a subsidiary of the National Rifle Association.

See what money in politics buys? It buys cowardice in confronting a horrible situation. Other major countries such as Australia and Great Britain have faced up to gun violence and banned assault weapons. The US could, but the NRA has bought a solid front of cowards to stop any action in this country.

Today is the 91st day of the year. We have had over 130 mass shootings in this country already this year. Most of these mass shootings don’t even make the news anymore because murder has become so common place, so normalized. Mass shootings only make the news when it is somehow special such as a school shooting. 

Let’s be honest. There is only one group in the world that is in favor the totally unlimited access to guns and that is the far right wing Republican Party in the US. Why? Because it is a money maker for them. The more they ignore the incredible damage that guns do to the citizens of the US the more they are rewarded by the NRA. This is what money in politics ultimately is. Dead children and spineless lawmakers.

So don’t say that the extremist Republicans are doing nothing. They are doing something – something big. They are standing in the way of sensible gun laws, including outlawing weapons of war in the hands of civilians. And they are doing so to make money for the NRA who in turn reward them massively.

Please call your representative . In Iowa all our representatives are extremist Republicans. Feenstra, Hinson, Nunn, Miller-Meeks, Grassley and Ernst. Tell them it is long past time for the United States to allow this carnage to continue. Tell them it is time to get a backbone and vote for sensible gun laws.

Here are their web pages. Choose a way to contact them. Tell them the murder of children in this country must end and if they won’t stand up you will find somebody who will.

Randy Feenstra:


Zach Nunn:


Ashley Hinson:


Marianette Miller-Meeks:


Chuck Grassley:


Jonie Ernst:


If the phone number is not on the front contact page, click on the “office” button to get their office numbers.

Remember be polite, but be sure to leave the message that cowardice in the face of our gun violence crisis is no longer acceptable.

Also remember that gun violence is the number one (#1) killer of children in the US today. We need you to stand up.

One final thought: Thoughts and prayers do nothing. Any politician offering those as an answer deserves to be voted out of office.

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Trans Day of Visibility Friday, March 31st 2023

Iowa Labor News

A coalition of more than one hundred and seventy Iowa community organizations, faith leaders, businesses, labor unions, and elected officials issued the following statement recognizing Transgender Day of Visibility, which takes place Friday, March 31st:

“Today we speak with one voice, to recognize transgender Iowans. We recognize their accomplishments and contributions to our state. Most importantly we recognize their humanity and how much joy they create as our friends, family members, and neighbors.  

“Transgender Day of Visibility comes at a critical moment for our state. This year transgender Iowans have faced unprecedented attacks. Discriminatory policies have been signed into law. Their freedom to get medical care has been taken away. There is an attempt to erase their very existence, by making it easier to ban books, curriculum, and other programs that mention transgender people. And every discriminatory statement and piece of legislation contributes to a culture where LGBTQ youth already have a  higher risk for depression, anxiety and thoughts of suicide.

“The transgender community is resilient. But no one should have to be resilient to preserve their basic human rights and dignity. As Iowans we speak with one voice in support of our transgender friends, neighbors, and family members. We see you, we value you, and you are a valued part of our community.”

The above statement was agreed upon by the following organizations, faith leaders, businesses, labor unions, and leaders from all across the state of Iowa:

One Iowa

Iowa Safe Schools

Interfaith Alliance of Iowa

Progress Iowa

Planned Parenthood Advocates of Iowa

Iowa State Education Association

AFSCME Council 61

Episcopal Diocese of Iowa

Capitol Hill Lutheran Church

Rev. Katie Z. Dawson

Rev. Candice K. Brown

Rep. Jennifer Konfrst, Iowa House Democratic Leader

Iowa Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO

Rev. Cn. Meg Wagner, Canon to the Ordinary, Episcopal Diocese of Iowa

Rev. Anna Blaedel & Rev. M Jade Kaiser

Waterloo Human Rights Commission

Jubilee United Methodist Church

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Grinnell, Iowa

The Rev. John Doherty

Wesley Center, Iowa City

Rev. Gary Sneller, retired pastor Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Jan Schnell

St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church

Rev. Sophie Mathonnet-VanderWell

Rev. Robyn Bles Senior Minister of Wakonda Christian Church

New Beginnings Christian Church

Rev. Jane Stewart

Unity Church of Ames

One Human Family QCA

QC Pride Inc

Metro Community Church QC

Pastor David Borger Germann

Andrew Dunn, Iowa City Councilor

Presbyterian Church (USA)

Cedar County Democrats

Indivisible Linn County Metro

Michelle Bechen, LMSW

Catherine Schroeder, Episcopal Deacon, Boone

Rep. Art Staed

Crossroads United Church of Christ, Indianola

Rep. Mary Mascher (retired)

Chris Rohret

Mary Cohen, Associate Professor of Music Education

Full Circle Catholic Community

Bonnie Murphy

Rep. Megan Srinivas, Physician

Mx. Jonny Meyer

Rep. Tracy Ehlert

Common Good Iowa

Sheri Carnahan

Tom Carnahan

Agudas Achim Congregation

Rita Carter, United Methodist/United Women in Faith

Rev. Dr. Dorothy Whiston (retired)

Sally Pederson, former Iowa Lt. Governor

Full Circle Faith Community

Marlea O’Brien

Indivisible Iowa

Gary Zmolek, educator

Shelly Servadio Elias, Founder Climate Caucus IDP. Acting VC Veterans Caucus, Climate Caucus

Rep. Marti Anderson (retired)

Rev. Jeanie Smith

Sen. Molly Donahue

Charlotte Fairlie

Rev. Kyle Carswell, St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church, West Des Moines

First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Coralville, IA

Rev. Coqui Conkey

Urbandale United Church of Christ

Sen. Janice Weiner

Heartland Presbyterian Church

Sen. Nate Boulton

Tara Shukla Jones

Iowa Citizen Action Network

Joan Steinmetz

National Association of Social Workers, Iowa Chapter

Rev. John Chaplin, Pastor in the United Church of Christ

Sen. Liz Bennett

Christ Church

Rev. Patricia Goldberg

Rep. Monica Kurth

LCS, local business

Bridget Carberry Montgomery, Urbandale City Councilmember

Iowa Queer Student Alliance


Rev. Lee Schott, Valley United Methodist Church Equity & Justice Team, West Des Moines

Scott County Democratic Party

Rev. Lee Roorda Schott

Downtown Disciples


Sen. Pam Jochum

Rep. Lindsay James

Dubuque County Democratic Party

Jason Menke, Urbandale School Board Member

Snyder Strategies, LLC

Fort Dodge Pride Festival

Central Iowa Rainbow Families

Crypt with Whit

Corridor Community Action Network

Mandi Remington

Renee Stewart

Micah Kiel

Fayette County Iowa Democrats

Rev. Jill Cameron Michel

Kenna Wolbers

Tracy Murphy, IDP Progressive Caucus Vice Chair, VC Madison County Democrats

Hinton Consulting

Beloved Community Initiative

Rev. Nora Boerner

Glenn Hurst, Minden City Councilperson

Holly Herbert

Iowa Progressive Caucus

Judy Knoblock


Trinity Las Americas UMC

IDP Stonewall Caucus

Edward Agran, Professor Emeritus

Linn County Democrats

Family Folk Machine

Sioux County Democrats

Linn County Democrats

Ashley Anderson, Urbandale School Board Member

Jennifer Winn

Joel Sanford, LCS Payroll Accountant

Senate Democratic Leader

Dan Gutmann, Urbandale School Board

Rev. Deb Hill-Davis

Faith United Church of Christ – Iowa City

Rev. Ryan Downing

The Disability Caucus of the Iowa Democratic Party

Penny Vossler

Iowans for Public Education

Clock, Inc LGBT+ Community Center

Niki Conrad, County Supervisor

Iowa Faith Leadership Network

Mason City Voices for Inclusion

Mason City, IA LGBTQ+ Pride

Unitarian Universalist Society, Coralville, Iowa

Webster County Democrats

Plymouth Congregational Church

Scott County Democrats

Iowa Democratic Party Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Chairs

Adams County Democratic Party

At-Large Fort Dodge City Council Representative

Megan Secor, City Councilperson, Fort Dodge

Indivisible Iowa

Linda Santi

Room for All

Sandi Bass

Amy Croll, Urbandale City Councilmember

Sen. Mike Gronstal (retired)

Penny Rosfjord, IDP District Chair

PFLAG Cedar Rapids

Nikki Arthur, LMFT, PC

APEP – Ankeny Parents and Educators for Progress

Ann Brown Legal, PC

Curtis Boyer

J. Kirby

Slick Designs

Jubilee United Methodist Church

Advocates for Social Justice

Veterans National Recovery Center

Dungeon’s Gate

Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Sparkling Home Services

Teresa Dehming, Decorah

Gary Collins, CEO, Crescent Community Health Center

Ruth Henderson

Higher Education Licensure Pros LLC

Denise O’Brien, Vice chair IDP Rural Caucus

Des Moines Strong

Casey Kelley

Johnson County Democrats

Ed Cranston

Rev. Judith Youngman

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Climate Action Alert – Contact Your Representatives

Please share this action alert from Rob Hogg:

I am asking Iowans to contact our US Representatives to oppose HR1, a bill that includes large fossil fuel subsidies and giveaways. We want to share the message that instead we need their help to cut climate pollution 50% or more by 2030, which the science says is the minimum needed.

Here is a link to an Energy and Environment News article about HR1, which may be up for a vote yet this week:

By subsidizing and promoting fossil fuels, HR1 takes us in the wrong direction.

This is an important moment to speak up. If our Representatives don’t hear from Iowans now, they may think – erroneously – that Iowans don’t care about climate change. If they do hear from us, they may understand that effective climate action is important to most Iowans.

Five national groups have provided action links where you can email your US Representative:

Sierra Club – sc.org/stopHR1
EDF Action – https://www.edfaction.org/action
Wilderness Society – https://act.wilderness.org/a/tell-house-oppose-attack-climate-and-public-lands-1
Interfaith Power & Light – https://interfaithpowerandlight.salsalabs.org/opposehr1/index.html
Climate Reality – https://www.climaterealityproject.org/action/tell-your-representatives-vote-no-hr1

I sent emails through all five organizations.

You can also contact our Representatives directly. Here is contact information you can use:

Rep. Randy Feenstra
1440 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
(202) 225-4426

Rep. Ashley Hinson
1429 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
(202) 225-2911

Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks
1716 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
(202) 225-6576

Rep. Zach Nunn
1232 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
(202) 225-5476

Please contact our US Representatives.

Thank you.


Rob Hogg (retired state senator)

2750 Otis Road SE

Cedar Rapids, IA 52403

(319) 247-0223

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Women’s History Month: Senator Weiner Recognizes Mary Beth Tinker

“In 1969, 54 years ago last month, the Court ruled in a landmark decision that students in public schools have First Amendment Rights.”

“It seemed of particular importance to recognize Mary Beth Tinker during Women’s History Month as a reminder that young people’s constitutional freedom of expression rights are not checked at the school door.”

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“Hoop Muses” Tells The Story Of Women’s Basketball

 Hoop Muses: An Insider’s Look at Popular Culture and the (Women’s) Game.

Available on Amazon

As Hoop Muses author Kate Fagan explains Iowa has a lineage of appreciating girls basketball going back more than 100 years. Her book includes the story of how officials tried to ban the Iowa state girls high school tournament in the  1920s but failed. https://www.amazon.com/Hoop-Muses-Ins…

“In vibrant color and style, Hoops Muses tells the vital stories that celebrate the history and tradition of our game.” —Sue Bird, WNBA legend

“To be a (women’s) hooper is to be part of a long and proud tradition … but one not often celebrated in popular culture. Hoops Muses is here to change that.”

Hoop Muses is Fagan’s fourth book, and it is a collaboration with curator (and former WNBA All-Star) Seimone Augustus and illustrator Sophia Chang.

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A Word From House Democratic Leader Jennifer Konfrst

Protecting Reproductive Freedom

All session long, we’ve been working on priorities that a majority of Iowans support and turning those into legislation that will impact the lives of Iowans. We know folks are tired of politics and division they just want lawmakers to work together to make their lives a bit better.

One of the priorities we’ll be working on for the remainder of session is reproductive freedom. I firmly believe that everyone deserves the right to make their own healthcare decisions, especially when it comes to reproductive care and abortion. Lawmakers and politicians have no place interfering in someone else’s decisions about when or how to start a family.

I recognize this topic has become a centerpiece in the on-going culture wars right now. It seems any rational conversation about reproductive health care has been taken over by folks just trying to gain political ground. It’s so frustrating.

But reproductive freedom can’t be ignored just because it has become so political. And, frankly, Iowans don’t want us to ignore it either. We know that a strong  majority of Iowans support reproductive freedom and believe that private health care decisions belong between an individual, their family, and their doctor.

Here are a few common sense things we can do this session to protect reproductive freedom and make a difference in the lives of Iowans.

Make birth control accessible through a pharmacist without a prescription.

Our plan would allow Iowans to access birth control safely and easily via a pharmacist. Pharmacists, especially in rural Iowa, are an important resource and critical access point for care and could help mitigate barriers and expand access to contraception. Pharmacists in 20 other states are already able to prescribe birth control without a prescription from a doctor.

Extend Medicaid postpartum coverage to 12 months.

Thanks to a recent change to federal law, states are now able to provide pregnancy-related Medicaid coverage for up to a year after a baby is born. It would be a major improvement from the current 60 day limit in Iowa, which leaves too many moms without health coverage at all. As maternal mortality continues to rise here in Iowa, this would save lives and reduce barriers to accessing both healthcare and mental health care.

Guarantee reproductive freedom by adding it to Iowa’s Constitution.

When the U.S. Supreme Court essentially sent this issue back to the states last summer, we started working on ways to make sure Iowans still have access to reproductive care. While the issue is still tied up in the courts right now, the best thing we can do is to guarantee reproductive freedom in Iowa’s Constitution. While it’s a long process to change our constitution, we should start now and give Iowans the final say on it.

Restore family planning programs under Medicaid.

Several years ago, the Governor and GOP lawmakers cut access to reproductive health care programs that resulted in a rise in the abortion and Sexually Transmitted Infections rates in Iowa. Since it obviously had the opposite effect it was intended to, we should restore those services and make them accessible to Iowans again.

While these ideas won’t all happen before we adjourn, there is plenty of common ground we can find with the Governor and other lawmakers. If we can put politics aside and ignore the culture wars, there is a path to give Iowans the reproductive freedom they deserve.


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and we squash their psyche

Thus headlines Progress Iowa’s on Kim (“I really care about families that’s why I screw them over”) Reynolds signing two bills that punched down really hard on transgendered kids and their families on their Thursday High Five newsletter.

In case you somehow missed it, Reynolds signed one bill that would ban gender affirming care and a bill that would force a child in school to use the bathroom aligned with their gender at birth. 

It is an absolute shame that Iowa elected such an extremist right wing thug as their governor. This sure tells you where Iowa is going as a state. Only a few years ago Iowans did not care about these so-called culture war issues. Seemed like our unofficial motto was “live and let live.” 

Now it seems like our state policy is to find a small group of people against whom hate can be ginned up for no reason and then use the power of the state to rain down punishment to play to the rabid rubble whipped up by the ginned up lies.

Reynolds claims that her purpose behind signing these bills is that the science of transgendered people is incomplete. That is of  course a lie. For Reynolds lying is just another of the tools of her job. She was little concerned about science when she was forcing meat plant workers to work in unsanitary conditions during the pandemic, Nor was she concerned about science when she tried to ban masks from Iowa classrooms in the middle of the pandemic. Politics, pure politics – as is this attack on the transgendered.

Well, Iowa you picked a real winner. If I was a cartoonist I would probably draw Reynolds as a jack-booted thug in a pseudo uniform kicking a kid around. But that is just my impression.

Seems like all authoritarians like to start their oppression with gay men and transgendered because they seem to have little support in society so they are easy to attack and whip up a frenzy about.

But be careful. As I noted last week, some of these authoritarians just don’t know where to stop. Your time in the barrel may be coming even if you are an enthusiastic supporter right now. 

Posted in Blog for Iowa | Leave a comment

Sunday Funday: No Arrest Edition


This may seem surprising to some, but justice prognosticator Donald T(for treason) Trump failed magnificently in his prediction that he would be arrested for one of his hundreds of crimes. Mr. Trump caused multiple networks to drop coverage of anything else, in order to cover him. Police secured buildings and public streets for nothing.

As ace reporter – and sometime satirist – Andy Borowitz noted:   

Trump claims failure to arrest him is conspiracy to keep him from getting donations.  If not arrested by Friday, Trump said, “I will perform a citizen’s arrest on myself.” 

Why does anyone pay any attention to this phony? No, that’s not a quiz question – OK let’s go:

A) Tuesday, 30 schools in 23 communities were the victim of what form of terrorist activity?

B) Los Angeles city and county in California had what kind of really strange weather amongst the continuing atmospheric rivers last week?

C) President Biden celebrated the 13th anniversary of the signing of what historic piece of legislation Thursday?

D) It is still Women’s History Month. Marie Curie won Nobel prizes in what two different categories?

E) What Republican presidential candidate did a fast about face on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine now claiming he supports Ukraine?

F) Iowa governor Kim Reynolds proudly signed two bills last week aimed at what very small, specific groups of Iowans?

G) From 8AM to 12:30PM the Indian Creek Nature Center near Cedar Rapids will be celebrating what delicious annual fest today?


H) The CEO of Moderna shocked far right senator Rand Paul when the CEO presented data that myocarditis in young men was far more likely if the young man did what?

I) The International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for what world leader a little over a week ago?

J) The first Women’s History Day march took place in NYC in 1909 with 15,000 protestors. They were protesting horrible working conditions in what industry?

K) In Utah a parent filed a complaint that what book should be banned because it contains pornographic material?

L) Foot Locker announced that it will close 400 inside mall stores. Foot Locker is the descendent company of what once dominant retail giant?

M) What founding member of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream has been outed as a major funder for a group running a media campaign against US involvement in Ukraine?

N) Ben & Jerry’s is owned by what major international conglomerate?

O) The CEO of what what major internet company spent Thursday denying that his company was a front for the Chinese government?

P) Despite failing to achieve orbit, a rocket sent aloft by Relativity Corp. was considered a success because of how it was manufactured. How was it manufactured?

Q) What world leader postponed a trip to France due to protests taking place in Paris against Macron’s decision to raise the retirement age?

R) What unusual animal is currently a focus as the possible link that connects the corona virus from animals to humans?

S) What novel, written by a woman, is considered to be the first true work of science fiction?

T) What country stepped up Arctic patrols as they reported that Russia had stepped up their (Russia’s) patrols off the coast of that country?

Never forget that we moved heaven and earth to bring Osama bin Laden to justice. Not because he flew an airplane into the World Trade Center on 9/11, but because he incited his followers to do it for him.  Now the world is waiting for us to hold Donald J. Trump accountable. – Andrea Junker tweet


A) Swatting – that is calling a police department with a story that may prompt the police to send in a SWAT team

B) Tornadoes – 2 tornadoes to be specific

C) The ACA or Obamacare March 23, 2010.

D) Physics and Chemistry

E) Ron DeSantis

F) transgender kids- kick ‘em when they are down, right Kim?

G) their Maple Syrup fest. 

H) got corona virus.  A young man has less chance of getting myocarditis if vaccinated

I) Putin

J) the garment industry. About 2 years later the Triangle Shirtwaist fire happened killing 146.

K) the bible

L) Woolworth’s

M) Ben Cohen

N) Ben & Jerry’s was bought by Unilever 

O) Tik-Tok

P) it was printed by a 3d printer

Q) England’s new King Charles III

R) A raccoon dog

S) Frankenstein

T) Norway

It blows my mind that Evangelicals voted for a guy who ignores every moral standard they claim to live by. – John Collins tweet

Posted in #nevertrump, Humor | 1 Comment

Poverty By America

Matthew Desmond interviewed on a Barnes and Noble video (55 minutes):

Matthew Desmond has been making the interview rounds the past couple weeks as his new book “Poverty By America” debuts. While I have not had a chance to read it yet, it is on my list. But I have been fortunate to hear a couple of interviews. Desmond’s look at poverty thoroughly breaks the myths that have become gospel in America through use.

Desmond looks at our government and economy to see how it punishes the poor and rewards the wealthier. For instance he notes that those who supposedly don’t need help get far more in subsidies from the government. His deep dive into government policies is needed and very timely.

As has been the norm for the past century Republicans have made policy that impoverishes the impoverished and moves money to the well to do through tax cuts and other forms of subsidies.

As you listen to this interview with Mr. Desmond, try to think of what you have learned about being poor in America. Think about how you absorbed the conventional wisdom about poverty in America and those who suffer from it. Also try to think about what you think of the middle class and wealthy and how you formed those ideas. Do they line up with the reality that Matthew Desmond describes?

Here are some excerpts from another interview on WAMU radio – an NPR radio station in Washington, DC.

On how homeowner tax breaks help the wealthy at the expense of the poor

“If you look at the amount of money we spent on homeowner tax subsidies, like the mortgage interest deduction, that’s around $190 billion a year. Well, how much have we dedicated to housing assistance for low-income families? About $50 billion a year. So it’s just a colossal difference. And, you know, if we didn’t have so many evictions and so many families paying 50, 60, 70% of their income on rent today, maybe we could live with that inequality. But it doesn’t make any sense to have an enormous, painful rental housing crisis and to be spending so much money on mostly families with six-figure incomes who are the biggest beneficiaries of the mortgage deduction.

And I guess what really angers me even about this conversation is that a lot of times when we put forward a proposal to stabilize people’s housing situation or cut child poverty in half, we hear over and over and over again, how can we afford it? How can we afford it? And the answer staring us right in the face like we can afford it if many of us took a little less from the government.”

On the decline in the investment in public services

“When you have a country like ours, where there are millions of poor people living alongside millions of people with considerable means, a system locks in — a system for private opulence and public squalor. And this is an old phrase. It goes back to the Roman time. But it was really brought out and brought to life by the mid-century economist John Kenneth Galbraith in his wonderful book, The Affluent Society.

And it goes a little something like this: If you are a family of means, you have the incentive to rely less and less on the public sector. So we used to want to be free of bosses, but now we want to be free of bus drivers. We don’t want to take the bus. We don’t want to often enroll our kids in the public school system. We don’t need to play in the public park or swim in the public pool. We have our own clubs, our own schools. We have our own cars. And as we withdraw into the private opulence, we have less and less incentive to invest in public services.”

On the politicization of government aid

A lot of us are getting these tax breaks and we don’t see that as a government helping us. We see that as us getting to keep more of what is rightfully ours. And often that leads to a kind of attitude, a political attitude, where we don’t think the government is in our lives. And so those of us who are more apt to take that mortgage interest deduction are also more apt to vote against affordable housing proposals. Those of us who already have employer-sponsored health insurance — which by the way, is government subsidized in a massive way — we’re often apt to vote against the Affordable Care Act. And so it does have this kind of strange political, maddening irony in our lives.

Is the end of poverty in America possible? Desmond makes a good case for it.

Do we have the political will to make it happen? We would be pushing against the tide of history and prejudices.

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