Pittsburgh City Council is off its rocker
By Jake Haulk
Published: Thursday, September 13, 2012, 8:50 p.m.
Updated: Thursday, September 13, 2012
Never has so much inanity, ignorance and denial of reality been on display as in Pittsburgh City Council's proclamation calling for the federal government to enact a “second Bill of Rights” to protect the middle class. It would include a “living wage, education rights and full participation in the electoral process.”
How fascinating that the council would promote things that, in effect, already have been implemented by the city. Is is not happy with Pittsburgh's results? Has the city's “living wage” bill not worked to “grow” middle-class income? Apparently not.
Has spending more than $20,000 per pupil, having a Promise scholarship program that guarantees money for Pittsburgh school graduates and adopting every politically correct education gimmick improved city schools? Absolutely not.
What new educational rights could possibly do more than is already being done? And how likely are they to achieve better results than are already occurring? History says they will be a waste of time.
The nation long has had a minimum wage and labor policy that gives great power to unions. Look at the industries the unions have decimated through their demands.
The nation and the state have had prevailing-wage laws for decades. Pennsylvania has labor laws that give public-sector unions enormous bargaining advantages over the elected officials representing the taxpayers.
Those laws enrich the government employees but have pushed 26 municipalities in the state into distressed status, including Pittsburgh.
Which of these policies, along with business-strangling environmental policies, have been helpful in promoting private-sector activity and creating sustainable high-paying jobs? Where's the evidence that “progressive” programs anywhere have protected the middle class?
The unwillingness to recognize the damage being done to our economy and financial system by “progressive” programs is to be in complete denial. Model Cities ring a bell? How did the Civic Arena work out for the Hill District? Have “progressive” education policies improved education?
Finally, how can a city that has been totally under the control of one party for 80 years in a county that has been under the control of the same party for much of that time in a country which has a voting rights act have concerns about electoral participation?
Where has their party been? The same party has a very checkered history when it comes to electoral malfeasance.
“Progressives” never are happy. Pittsburgh City Council's proclamation demonstrates the inability of progressives to be open minded enough to question whether or not all it has done before is doing what it promised. Or will it ever recognize the unintended consequences of its policies and beliefs?
The council would choke the goose that lays the golden eggs and expect the goose to keep producing the eggs.
Jake Haulk is president of the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy, a Castle Shannon think tank.
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