Monday, March 22, 2021

Senator Schumer Shields The Rich

One of the predictable things about life is that people are hypocrites. People sanctimoniously blast others for looking after their tribe or self-interests but rush to do the exact same thing when they are in power. 
One politician who exemplifies this more than most is New York Senator Charles Schumer. 
Some people have referred to old Chucky as the Senator from Wall Street because of his previous interest in ensuring that New York based financial entities are protected from legal accountability and get their "fair share" of any "gub'mnt cheese" that is being disbursed. 
Well surprise, surprise, as it turns out Senator Schumer is also, despite former hints to the contrary just fine with public funds being given to private schools. 
Tucked into the $1.9 trillion pandemic rescue law is something of a surprise coming from a Democratic Congress and a president long seen as a champion of public education — nearly $3 billion earmarked for private schools. 
More surprising is who got it there: Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the majority leader whose loyalty to his constituents diverged from the wishes of his party, and Randi Weingarten, the leader of one of the nation’s most powerful teachers’ unions, who acknowledged that the federal government had an obligation to help all schools recover from the pandemic, even those who do not accept her group.
The deal, which came after Mr. Schumer was lobbied by the powerful Orthodox Jewish community in New York City, riled other Democratic leaders and public school advocates who have spent years beating back efforts by the Trump administration and congressional Republicans to funnel federal money to private schools, including in the last two coronavirus relief bills. 
Democrats had railed against the push by President Donald J. Trump’s education secretary, Betsy DeVos, to use pandemic relief bills to aid private schools, only to do it themselves.
Got that!!?? Democrats were opposed to giving private schools public funds when this was framed as evangelical schools receiving aid but when the assistance request is initiated by private schools helmed by Schumer's co-religionists and/or possible campaign contributors, apparently that is different. 
Jewish leaders in New York have long sought help for their sectarian schools, but resistance in the House prompted them to turn to Mr. Schumer, said Nathan J. Diament, the executive director for public policy at the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, who contended that public schools had nothing to complain about.
When the Supreme Court allowed public funds in certain situations to go to religious (in this case Christian) schools in Montanta, teachers union leader Randi Weingarten was vehemently opposed. She then had this to say
“Never in more than two centuries of American history has the free exercise clause of the First Amendment been wielded as a weapon to defund and dismantle public education," said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. 
But now Weingarten says this:
“All of our children need to survive, and need to recover post-Covid, and it would be a ‘shonda’ if we didn’t actually provide the emotional support and nonreligious supports that all of our children need right now and in the aftermath of this emergency,” she said, using a Yiddish word for shame.

Demonstrating that he's more interested in his donors than in the greater public good, Senator Schumer recently stalled a long overdue flood insurance reworking which would have raised insurance costs for some homeowners in coastal communities. And when I write "some homeowners" I mean wealthy Long Islanders who can contribute to Senatorial campaigns or finance opposition candidates.

WASHINGTON — One of the federal government’s main efforts to push Americans to prepare for climate threats is in question after the Senate majority leader’s office objected to a plan to adjust flood insurance rates.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency was preparing to announce new rates for federal flood insurance on April 1, so that the prices people pay would more accurately reflect the risks they face. The change would very likely help reduce Americans’ vulnerability to floods and hurricanes by discouraging construction in high-risk areas. Last week, the office of Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic majority leader, pushed back on the changes, according to several people familiar with the discussion. 
That pushback has caused FEMA to pause the rollout of the new rates. Under the new approach, 23 percent of households with flood insurance would see their rates fall right away, by an average of $86 a month, according to data provided by FEMA, because the updated formula shows they have been overpaying based on their risk. Another 73 percent would see either no change or an increase of no more than $20 a month. 
But for some of the remaining households, costs would go up significantly, according to others briefed on the changes. Congress prevents FEMA from increasing a household’s flood insurance premiums by more than 18 percent a year. 
Those big rate increases would mostly apply to higher-cost homes, which under the current formula tend to underpay for insurance. Many of the people that would see a decrease live in lower-cost homes.

Again, it's important to understand that Senator Schumer is intervening to protect the top 4% of households with flood insurance. Schumer wants to protect these homeowners from paying a premium that accurately reflects the risk of their decision on where to live. He's looking out for his rich buddies.
Everyone else is subsidizing their living costs. If you are rich enough to live on the coast you are rich enough to pay the true cost of rebuilding or relocating when there is a flood. And by encouraging people not to overbuild in flood prone areas we can limit the cost of rebuilding when the inevitable floods occur.
Now I'm not upset when someone advocates for their perceived interests, even when I think that he or she is dead wrong. I do have two issues with Schumer in particular and Democratic politicians in general. 
(1) Don't tell me how unfair it is that small population states like Wyoming or Montana get two Senators when larger population states like New York pull crap like Schumer does. This is precisely why we have a federal system, to attempt to limit the self-interested raids on the public purse that are just part of human nature. (2) Stop telling me that the Republicans are all for the rich guy and Democrats are for the little guy when it appears that the Democrats are just for different rich guys than Republicans.
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