Paul Vallas, superintendent of the Recovery School District of New Orleans and former reform superintendent of the Chicago public schools, will be the guest this Sunday on my WLS-AM (890) program (8 to 9 p.m.). He ran for the Democratic nomination for governor of Illinois in 2002, losing narrowly to Rod Blagojevich. Since then, he was CEO of the School District of Philadelphia, presiding over the nations largest experiment in privatized management of schools, turning over the management of 40 schools to for-profits, nonprofits and universities, winning national acclaim. Regarded as one of the finest public administrators in the nation, he left Philadelphia when his contract was completed and went to work in New Orleans where today he reports directly to the governor, now Bobby Jindal. His contract will be up in 2008. He was also budget director for the city of Chicago and director of budgetary matters for State Senate President Phil Rock. He is renowned as one of the nations preeminent experts on public policy and administration. His family resides in Illinois and Vallas has always regarded himself as an Illinoisan.
Joining Paul to comment on the weeks news concerning Chicago and Illinois will be Jeff Berkowitz, the highly regarded ace interrogator of his own television show on CAN-Tv, Public Affairs.
Vallas appeared before the City Club of Chicago April 28 where the possibility of his running once again for governor in 2010 was mentioned. As his contract with New Orleans is still in effect, he declined to discuss the ins and outs of returning to political life but pointed outsignificantlythat were he to run in Illinois (a) the only job that really would interest him would be governor and (b) he would make a key focal point of such a campaign reliance on vouchers. In the past as a Democratic candidate, he sidestepped the issue of vouchers. His announcement of his support of vouchers at the City Club was generally passed over by the news media but struck me as a very important step.
On my one-hour weekly program on WLS-AM, I choose to participate in a two-person discussion between a liberal and a conservative
which sometimes becomes a debate
rather than pontificate alone. Occasionally I am asked why. Three reasons: (1) I only have one hour which for pontification is far too short; (2) although many do not remember it, I held fort alone happily on WLS and two other stations for many years and have no objection to itincluding stints lasting three hours daily on weekday evenings, on Saturday mornings. But on Saturday mornings on LS the last hour was devoted to what I called Political Shootout where I interrogated two guests with divergent viewpoints. When my time was shortened, I decided to go with Shootout entirely. Finally, (3) it is far easier to bloviate alone without fear of contradiction (the only divergent views being from callers whom you may silence by pushing a button, You may have heard on some national shows a divergent caller gets in, whereupon the host responds with alacrity and the caller is supposedly silenced with awesome respect. Not so: he is most certainly responding but he is talking to himself as he has been disconnected by the host). I find that instead of running my mouth, drawing conclusions from dual points of view serves as clarification of thought, for me and my listeners.
Ok, ok, as Mr. Nofsinger is bored with economics talk, this will be the last of it. Here is what the wedge it.
When Henry Ford decided to raise his auto workers pay to $5 a daythen a very progressive stephe could be sure that 95% of this daily pay would be available to spend
and some of it on his cars. In other words, his labor costs were almost the same as the workers take-home pay. By contrast now the Ford Motor Company pays far-far more per hour for labor costs but the individual worker is lucky to take home a fraction of his own gross pay. The vast difference between the gross labor cost and the take home pay is known as the wedge. It consists primarily of federal income and payroll taxes plus the costs of special incentives, fringe benefits, pensions, health care etc., some paid by the worker and most by the employer but all paid by the consumer. It is this wedge which supply-side economists contended pre-Reagan was the chief reason for our nations chronic bouts with inflation and recessionor stagflation.
They argue the combination of inflation and the bracket-creep of the progressive [sic] income tax automatically inflates this wedge even faster, forcing the economy to work harder and harder just to climb up the now famous Laffer Curve until real disposable income starts to sputter and the economy slides into recession again. Then, because the recession temporarily lowers the tax burden, there is temporary productivity and inflation reliefand recovery. But unless something is done to slow down the rising tax wedge, either through tax rate cuts or indexing, the whole deadly cycle begins again but at higher and higher levels each time. The long-term effect of this accelerating wedge incentives, lower basic productivity,, reduce real income growth and spur permanently higher inflation rates.
There. No more dismal science for a while. Incidentally, Frank, my father was a semi-pro baseball (and football) player and to the day of his death was saddened that his son never had either the athletic grace or the interest to be a sportsman.
If youre occasionally unlucky, you will hit the Readers Comments of this website when, for a very short time, a scatological deviant writes in excreable bad taste, signing as his name the part of a womans anatomy which shows depravity bordering on the demonic. My webmaster quickly removes it. But if you find it in the brief interregnum before it is erased, know that this debased individual who lurks behind anonymity is a former supporter of Judy Baar Topinka, having gone to John Marshall law school where he returns to occasionally misuse a computer
one who has been offended since 2006 that I didnt support her for governor. I didnt because she is low rent (meaning of vulgar mien not economic status) which this heckler equals with his blennorrhea.