Sunday, February 27, 2011

Round-up of interesting policy articles in late February 2011

Here are some articles related to social welfare you might find interesting.

First, one about social security, a commentary by David R. Francis in the Christian Science Monitor.

This past Thursday, the day after our class, Michelle Saddler (secretary of the Department of Human Services) announced that the Office of Management and Budget had explained that Governor Quinn's cuts to drug treatment wouldn't be so deep.  He is now suggesting cutting something like $100 million, rather than $210 million. 

If you want to listen to a short talk by Quinn about cuts to human services, Rich Miller (of Capitalfax) has posted something on YouTube from Friday.

Read about the case of Kelley Williams-Bolar, who lived in a poorly-funded Akron school district, and tried to get her children into a safer and wealthier public school in the suburbs of Akron, falsified information to do so, and has been convicted of two felonies and gone to jail for this.

Here is a photographic essay about protests in Madison.

Many of you who follow a career path as social workers will be state workers.  Rick Ungar at Forbes Magazine has uncovered some important facts about the pensions paid to Wisconsin State Workers.  Someone might check to see if this is true of Illinois as well.

The NASW blog pointed me to this set of links to articles about poverty available from the Urban Institute:

A good summary of the House-approved budget now before the Senate.

Of course the Senate isn't going to pass the budget passed by the House, but for a more detailed examination of what is in that House budget bill, I had to go to a partisan political source, as I couldn't find a single article by a journalist that presented readers with the sort of details given by Senator Barbara Boxer.

What do our own Illinois Senators have to say about important budget issues?  Our newest Senator Mark Kirk has nothing about the House Bill on his site (as of Sunday the 27th of February), but he does take issue with support for cultural spending to put poetry on signs in zoos where families with children would be exposed to (horrors!) poetry.  He has a big press release about this important "waste" spending (not even a full million dollars) at his web site.Funny, Illinois, his home state, was one of the states that received some of this money (I guess to pay the poet, and the people who made the signs).
(NOTE: My sister was indirectly involved in this project, as she was the director of education for the Wildlife Conservation Society, which did the work on the use of poetry as an educational tool in zoos).

To be fair, Kirk did have a short response to the White House budget (not as long as his press release on poetry in zoos).

Senator Durbin responded to the White House budget, focusing on reducing our deficit and creating jobs, and striking a balance, but he hasn't posted (as of Sunday the 27th of February) anything about the House's version of the budget.