Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Wish List

The State of the Union address is always a wish list.  Presidents get some of what they wish for, but most of their wishes go unanswered.

There were two item's on Obama's list that I consider especially important, but I have powerful doubts about getting them past Republicans in the House.  The first is raising the minimum wage to $9 per hour, and indexing it to inflation so struggling to get future increases through Congress becomes unnecessary.

The second is universal preschool, which has just about as much chance of happening any time soon as a carbon tax, which we also need very badly.  Preschool is the most powerful way to improve the lives of the poor, because children who attend preschool do better throughout their lives.  They enter elementary school with the social and intellectual skills they need to succeed; they are more likely to go to college, and less likely to go to jail.

Needless to say, universal preschool will be expensive, and will result in Republicans hopping around and yelping, "Free market!  Free market!"  Also, since it is a program that won't bear fruit for decades, it will be easy for deficit hawks to attack.  Nevertheless, it would pay for itself in less crime, greater economic productivity, and fewer people relying on government assistance down the road.

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