Workers in Louisiana should have access to steady jobs that pay enough to afford basic necessities to provide for themselves and their families, but that is not the reality in our state. It’s still too hard for workers to make ends meet and the wealth Louisiana has is in too few hands. WRKF’s Sue Lincoln digs into LBP’s State of Working Louisiana for today’s segment of Capitol Access.
“The good news is the state has replaced all of the jobs lost during the Great Recession, plus added an additional 53,000 jobs – as of June 2017,” says LBP policy analyst and the report’s lead author Jeannie Donovan. “The bad news is business profits are consuming an increasing percentage of state economic output, and wages are not keeping pace with state productivity growth.”… Co-author Nick Albares, “That money is primarily going to those at the very top – not to those middle class families that our politicians time-and-time-again say that they care most about.”
Cassidy using cynical approach
Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy continues to pursue a partisan approach on health care that would eliminate Medicaid expansion and cause millions of Americans to lose health insurance. According to former acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service, Andy Slavitt, the goal of Cassidy’s bill isn’t to provide access to affordable, quality health care. Instead, he’s trying to secure 50 votes through legislative buy-offs in order to repeal the Affordable Care Act, regardless of the human consequences.
Though it is out of touch with public sentiment, their [Cassidy and Graham] proposal has one new thing its sponsors are hoping will make a difference – financial payoffs to the states of senators whose votes they are counting…The secret weapon is a cynical redistribution of federal money from mostly urban, blue states that have expanded Medicaid to rural, red states that did not.
Cassidy’s efforts undermine the bipartisan efforts underway to fix the problems in the Affordable Care Act. A group of Republican and Democratic governors, including Gov. John Bel Edwards, worked together on a plan to stabilize and strengthen the individual health care market, while the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee began hearings this week. Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican from Massachusetts, strongly voiced his discontent with the Cassidy-Graham bill at the HELP Committee hearing on Thursday
The proposal would dramatically negatively affect the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. We’re talking about billions and billions of dollars (in cuts) over the course of the next four or five years.
School segregation on the rise
It’s been 63 years since the landmark case of Brown v. Board of Education required the integration of public schools. Since that time, research has shown that integration benefits both white and black children. Black children in integrated schools achieve higher test scores, earn more as adults and live longer, healthier lives. White children in integrated schools have measurably less racial prejudice and tend to live in more integrated neighborhoods as adults. However, many schools are becoming more segregated today. Emmanuel Felton with the Nation explains:
The South’s schools were once the most integrated in the country, thanks to the heavy hand of the federal government as it tried to force Southern districts to abide by Brown v. Board of Education. From 1968 to 1980, during the height of aggressive court supervision, the number of black students attending highly segregated schools in the South fell from almost 80 percent to a low of about 23 percent. But in the last three and a half decades, the number of black students attending segregated schools in the South has increased to nearly 36 percent.
One reason segregation is on the rise: lack of judicial oversight.
Yet six decades after Brown, federal judges and officials rarely check to see if districts are obeying their orders to desegregate—and in many cases, schools in districts with a history of discrimination against black children have actually grown more segregated under federal supervision. And when the judges do step in, they’ve often sided with the districts where school segregation is getting worse.
The state we’re in
Nola.com/The Times-Picayune’s columnist Bob Mann writes that in order to fight for a better future, Louisianans should be honest about our current reality. He lays out the bleak statistics and urges all people in the state to take action for change.
Our elected leaders sell their souls to big oil and the chemical industry. The first has spoiled our land, pillaged our resources and damaged our coast, while the other has poisoned our air and water. We are 47th in environmental quality. Perhaps it’s no coincidence we have the nation’s highest cancer rate. Almost a third of our children live in poverty, the third-highest rate in the nation. That’s not changed for decades. We have the seventh-lowest median household income and the third-highest unemployment rate. After decades of so-called “reforms,” we still have the worst public schools in the country. We’ve cut higher education funding more than almost every other state.
Number of the Day
4 – Percentage growth in the median wage for Louisiana workers from 2000 – 2015, even as the state’s economy grew by 17 percent over the same time period. (Source: U.S. Census Bureau via State of Working Louisiana 2017)