July 28, 2019

Sunday School 7/28/19

I almost hated to do it - I mean, what are the chances anyone was talking about anything other than either racism, immigration, or the Russia investigation, topics about which we've all probably had our fill - but I did make a couple of classroom stops this morning. You all owe me one.

First up. on the Chuck Todd Show, aka Meet the Press, let's hear from California's Rep. Adam Schiff, chair of the House Intelligence Committee, on whether we're talking about impeachment:
Well, I think that, you know, for the purposes of the law and Constitution, where we are now is most accurately described as preliminary to a judicial proceeding, and that judicial proceeding is a potential impeachment. 
Um, so that's a no, then?
And I say that because, you know, what we ask of the Constitution is, you know, what's the function of how we describe something? 
Um, so that's a no, then?
And right now, the most important thing is to obtain the grand jury material, to see the evidence. And the standard the court has set, that we have really set for the court, is are we preliminary to a potential impeachment?  And I believe that we are.
Um, so that's a yes, then?
You know, where we'll get to an impeachment, at least in my view, where we should get to, the decision, "Okay, let's indict the President, let's impeach the President," is if we're convinced that we can make the case.  
Um, so that's a yes, then?
And here, okay, there's no making the case to the cult of the president's personality, that is - the Senate GOP, but we should at least be able to make the case to the American people. And I'd like to see the evidence so I'm confident that we can do that before we say we're ready to charge the President of the United States.
So, that's a no. Period. Glad we cleared that up.

There was some talk about whether not impeaching the president because the Senate is not going to go along with it is setting a bad precedent. Schiff expressed concern about future generations and the message that not going through with this would have on them; he also worried about going through the process only to have the president be acquitted, which would be a statement that obstruction of justice was OK. And finally, he noted,
But the jury I'm most worried about, not the Senate because I think that's a preordained conclusion, is the American people. Can we make the case to the American people? And I want to make sure that that's true before we go down this path because it's going to occupy a year of the nation's time, And I want to make sure that's the right decision.
Forewarned is forearmed.

On Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace talked to Andrew Yang, one of the Democratic candidates for 2020. Yang is currently tied with Amy Klobuchar at 3% , better than Cory Booker, Beto O'Rourke and Julian Castro. Wallace asked why he's doing well and what it will take to catch the leaders (Biden is 30 points or so ahead).

As to 'catching up' he notes he's just introducing himself to the rest of us, but he's "very confident" he'll keep going up in the polls.  Here's how he addressed the 'doing well' side of the question:
The American people realize that our government is way behind the curve in solving the real problems. And we need to catch up and speed up. And they see someone like me as someone who can make that possible.  
Yang says he expects to get more opportunity in Wednesday's debate (he'll be in the group that includes Joe Biden and Kamala Harris), particularly to
make my case to the American people that the real central issue is that we're automating away millions of first manufacturing jobs and now retail jobs, call center jobs, and on and on through the economy. 
Wallace wondered if Yang would attack the front-runners, as a way of getting more air time.
I don't think that we benefit if I'm throwing rocks at other candidates when, frankly, I agree with them on many, many issues. And I think right now my focus really is on introducing myself to the American people. 
They talked policy for a bit, spending the most time on Yang's 'freedom dividend' which pays everyone $1000 a month, "so that if your mall closes or your job gets blasted away, you have at least $12,000 a year" which will help take some of the pressure off and help transition folks into whatever comes next.

Wallace wondered if worker retraining programs were part of his plan.Yang's answer was refreshing, if nothing else:
Well, we certainly need to invest in the retraining of the American people, but we also have to be honest that we're terrible at retraining. The success rates for federally funded retraining programs for the displaced manufacturing workers in the Midwest were between zero and 15%. And pretending that we're somehow going to become excellent at retraining Americans is lying to the American people. 
He confirmed the monthly dividend is available on an opt-in basis, regardless of income. So yes, Jeff Bezos would qualify, just like the rest of us, if he wanted it. The caveat? If you opt in, you lose your right to participate in some existing programs. This should help cut reliance on other social programs. 

His plan pays for the dividend with a value-added tax, or VAT, like they have in Europe,noting
If we give the American people a sliver of every Amazon transaction, every Google search, every Facebook ad, every robot truck mile, we can generate hundreds of billions in new revenue. 
And the money, Yang says, "goes right back into local communities and the economy" because it'll be used on stuff like car repairs and recreation programs and daycare, helping create "millions of jobs around the country."

He also says we need to rethink how we talk about work. Telling his own story, he noted his wife stays at home taking care of their two young children. The market value of her 'work' is zero, but he says "the work she's doing is among the most challenging and vital work in our society."

It's an interesting approach -- different from the 'tax the rich' we hear from many other candidates. Next week's debate should be interesting if he can get involved more.

See you around campus.

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