March 17, 2015


Republicans Can Kiss Medicare Privatization Goodbye. For the last four years Republicans have used their small power perch in the House of Representatives to prime members for the day when they’d control the whole government. During each of those years, House Republicans passed a budget calling for vast, contentious reforms to Medicare, Medicaid, and other support programs. Republicans proposed crushing domestic spending to pay for regressive tax cuts and higher military spending, and then went further by laying out specific structural reforms to popular government spending programs. Today they control the Senate as well, which represents significant progress toward their goal of complete control over the government. But as Republicans inch toward that goal they’re also growing less committed to their ideas. The New Republic

IN: Another True Tale Of Privatization In Indiana. . . A state toll road is (or ought to be) part of the political commons. Naturally, this requires some (cough, wheeze) tax dollars to repair and maintain it and, my dear young people, this simply is not done. So you toss the thing onto the vicissitudes of the private market and you hope there’s always another Australian company ready to step in. Meanwhile, tourists go zipping through Indiana crossing their legs very hard because all your rest stops look like downtown Fallujah. Esquire

AR: Groups Rally Against School Privatization. Groups representing education professionals met Monday to voice concerns about legislation allowing some school districts to be privatized. They warn of a slippery slope allowing private interests to take greater hold of the state’s public school system. The bill in question allows the Department of Education to appoint private not profits to run distressed school districts taken over by the state. . . .But during a rally Monday afternoon, opponents blasted the law as undermining public schools. ArkansasMatters

NY: County sticking with jail medical provider despite inmate deaths. Even though two inmates died in their cells within days of Armor Correctional Health Service’s takeover of Niagara County Jail medical services, county leaders have decided to stick with Armor. A stinging report from the state Commission of Corrections last year on the deaths of Tommie Lee Jones and Daniel Pantera in December 2012 recommended that the county consider whether to replace Armor, whose contract runs out at the end of this year. “We have not made any decisions to change providers,” Daniel M. Engert, deputy chief jail administrator, said last week. Buffalo News

NY: Parents and Teachers Protest the Cuomo Education Agenda. Although Cuomo is strongly in favor of teacher testing and charter schools, the budget that has been proposed by the New York State Senate does him one better. Cuomo had proposed increasing the per-student subsidy for pupils in charter schools by $75. The proposed budget from the Senate would up the per-student subsidy for charter schools by $225. The Senate budget also increases the statewide cap on charter schools by 100, as Cuomo had proposed. The Nonprofit Quarterly

NY: Nassau may move to lease sewer system to private investor. Nassau is moving to revive a proposed lease of its massive sewer system, which officials say could bring an upfront cash payment to the county of as much as $1 billion. The county Monday issued a request for proposals for a financial adviser “in connection with a potential public-private partnership transaction” for Nassau’s three sewage treatment plants. Newsday ($)

Mexico: Grassroots Movement Blocks Water Privatization in Mexico. The ruling party (PRI) and its allies, the National Action Party (PAN), the Partido Verde and New Alliance, were forced to back down in the Chamber of Deputies. The privatization offensive launched this time against water, will have to wait for another day—preferably for its promoters, not around elections. . . . The fact is that faced with this imminent heist of public goods, the citizenry reacted immediately. The Union of Concerned Scientists in Mexico demanded a public discussion of the initiative and issued a statement that in a few hours garnered over ten thousand signatures. The scientists denounced the lack of transparency in the approval process for the initiative and affirmed that the contents violate Article 4 of the Mexican Constitution, which reads, “Everyone has the right to access, provision and sanitation of water for personal and domestic consumption as sufficient, safe, acceptable and affordable. The State guarantees this right.” Upside Down World