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The Great, The Good and The Bad of the Gov's speech to local officials

Today’s speech by the Governor before the Massachusetts Municipal Association was largely a very good one based on some very good plans. Kudos to the Governor. Let’s start with the Great, and, yes, there is also Bad. Great • The idea of requiring “each community to move all of your retirees to Medicare coverage and give you the option of extending your pension schedules within fiscally responsible parameters” is great. • The push to regionale “municipal services and other reforms around procurement and contract advertising” is great, but we have seen few details on the tools and incentives the state wants to provide. Pioneer’s own Steve Poftak was also at the MMA, presenting our recent study of obstacles and lessons […]

So you want European-style health care

Atul Gawande has a great piece in this week’s New Yorker on the many varied ways to get to additional, and even universal coverage. Sidebar: Great, with the exception of his high praise for Paul “Ugh” Krugman, who he notes “received a Nobel Prize in Economics in part for showing that trade patterns and the geographic location of industrial production are also path-dependent.” Fact is, the insight that technology and trade patterns were “path-dependent” was well known to Piero Sraffa, neo-Marxian economist and author of The Production of Commodities by Means of Commodities. Yes, I know such obscurities can only be explained by personal histories. Dark histories. I wrote my undergraduate thesis on the man. To all accounts Piero was […]

Ken Lewis is on the clock

Ken Lewis’ dramatic firing of John Thain from BofA only highlights the next departure — Ken Lewis. He bought Merrill at the height of the crisis and clearly fumbled the due diligence on the deal. Otherwise, why does he need $20b in funds and $120b in guarentees from the Feds to do the deal only a few short months later? A hidden winner in all this? Old Friend Brian Moynihan, who takes over for Thain.

NEA's largesse from their disclosure report

The Education Intelligence Agency‘s just released scoop, entitled “The National Education Agency shares the Wealth to the Tune of $11.7 Million,” gives you a breakdown of where all those teachers’ dues went. (Supplementing members’ dues is “a small percentage derived from advertising and other miscellaneous revenues” and “sponsorship funds from major corporations: $25,000 from Verizon, $67,000 from Target, and $71,000 from Hyundai.”) Keep checking in with EIA, as they will soon have further revelations from NEA’s disclosure report. An Education Intelligence Agency analysis of NEA’s financial disclosure report for the 2007-08 fiscal year reveals the national union contributed $11.7 million to a wide variety of advocacy groups, charities, and advisors. The total is about the same as it was in […]

Urgency on education

No increase in the charter cap. No urgency to put back into place an accountability system that Governor Patrick zeroed out in his first budget. No urgency whatsoever to do more than talk about the achievement gap. This is when criticisms about “just words” begin to make sense. We have seen great gains in education, but none of it is attributable to anything this administration has done. For they have not done anything but talk about education policy. Consider the difference between the Governor’s record on education, as we head into year three, and the urgency of Mayor Adrian Fenty, of DC, who has made change in education the number one priority of his administration. Perhaps the quickest way to […]