Saturday, October 8, 2016

Has The WAVE Moved To The Right?

My column in this week's Rockaway's Wave

Oct. 7, 2016

Has The Wave Moved To The Right?

School Scope
By Norm Scott
A recent letter by Mike Scandiffio to The Wave, “Enough is Enough” asked “Could your paper get any more right wing?” Mike talked about the constant ferry whining, contempt for an ultra-liberal mayor, a lovefest with Republican State Assembly candidate Alan Zwirn, with a front page headline every time Alan farts. Mike points out the situation this nation was left in eight years ago with a looming 1930’s like great depression, two raging wars – with the war in Iraq based on lies , and a massive deficit instigated by the George Bush tax cuts which soon led to over 10 percent unemployment (it is now under five percent). Need I point out Bush was a Republican? Take a look at the value of your 401-k at the end of the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations (and even the first Bush admin in 1992) and also of the stock market and tell me what has worked better for business. Estimates are that if Trump wins the market will drop 12 percent and 3 million jobs will be lost. Republicans like Alan Zwirn should be pressed on the extent of his belief in fundamental Republican principles.

Rational people know that despite the often awful and corrupt government we often have, the alternatives are worse. Republicans are antiunion and anti-worker, believe in cutting taxes and government, and have absolute faith in the private, profit-making sector, which is often avaricious and corrupt and will do anything to make a buck even if on the backs of its workers and consumers. They rail about over-regulation, even cutting the FTC to the bone. Remember the scandals of the early 1900s when little was regulated and it took a Republican, Teddy Roosevelt, to reign in the monopolies and strengthen regulations that often protect us. Are there areas when this goes too far? Sure. Let’s look at them and fix them instead of railing against all regulations. Like do we need any food and drug regulation or just leave things to private hands – like let’s raise the price of life-saving drugs enormously.

President Reagan termed government as the problem, not the solution, a concept revered by the current Republican Party. Ruth Graves addressed this issue in a Sept. 23 letter “We Need Government.” Let’s take basic Republican views local. Build it Back is a disaster with bad stories every week. Are there any successes? Or does the local press only report the disasters? Remember under the last year of Bloomberg not one dime was spent on Build it Back.

And the darn ferry. And the railway corridor. And the A-train. Every issue we hear complaints about government. We had 20 years of Republican mayors in Giuliani and Bloomberg. Constant complaints on how Rockaway was ignored by both of them and no ferry until we had a disaster four years ago and had no means of transportation for a long time. Yes, de Blasio took it away (while the Staten Island Ferry continues to be subsidized). But he is putting it back permanently – not only here but all over the city with a master plan to use our waterways and we will still be paying the normal transit fare. The mayor finally put skin in the game with a massive city subsidy to keep fares low. Instead we hear whining about the boats being too small or the wrong contractor, complaints that the ferry ride will be one hour, 10 minutes longer than the old ferry. I never saw the trip be less than an hour after the Brooklyn stop was added.

Don’t get me wrong. As a Bernie Sanders-type social democrat, I assail both parties. But we shouldn’t fall into the Republican trap that will leave us at the mercy of the privatizing of public services. Need I mention ad infinitum the growing charter school scandals, for which both parties are responsible?

More next time.

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