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The Friday round-up.

May 12, 2017

Stories or parts of them that flew beneath the radar this week.

# 1 – Improving college diversity –  No manners, no money?

Intolerance on a college campus made news again this week, but for the wrong reason.

Comparatively small Bethune-Cookman University (enrollment about 3600) should have been in the news for the courage of its administrators. In contrast, the so-called birthplace of free speech, the University of California, Berkeley campus has an enrollment of just over 40,000.

This predominately black school, in sharp contrast to far better funded educational behemoths like the University of California, invited a conservative, white, rich member of the Trump cabinet to speak, received considerable student backlash, allowed the event to continue, and even chastised the student audience for its lack of tolerance and simple good manners during the event.

For some reason, hosting an event featuring Secretary DeVos is being seen by some as being somehow disloyal to black students and black concerns everywhere.

There is no evidence that the school administrators agree with, much less sanction, everything the Secretary says.

Is it just barely possible that they simply wanted the students to see and hear her on her own merits, rather than through the filter of the liberal news media?

If so, kudos to them.

But of course that wasn’t the headline.  What made the news was the disruption caused by students, who, by one young man’s own admission, didn’t want to hear anything Education Secretary Betsy DeVos had to say. So, they booed and catcalled and turned their backs to her.

BTW- there was another option. Just don’t go to the event.

For their display of commitment to real education and diversity of thought, the Florida NAACP is now calling for university President Edison O. Jackson and Board Chairman Joe Petrock to resign.  How does that advance the community the organization purports to represent?

If you want to know why students act like this, you should listen to The View.  Apparently in today’s uncivil world, raising children to be rude and disrespectful is the accepted norm. Maybe so, but where I grew up, my Mom would have dragged me out of there by the neck hairs or an ear if she had seen me do that.

Etiquette aside, closed ears are always a sign of a closed mind, and that’s not what colleges are supposed to be about.

Somehow, we need to return our colleges and universities to their core mission as institutions of learning, not incubators for the next generation of intolerant community activists, entertainers  and politicians.

One way to do that might be to restrict access to government funds and government contracts for those campuses that cannot foster at least an outward commitment to diversity by insisting that  students and faculty display good manners when faced with a point of view they do not themselves embrace.

This does NOT mean threatening college scholarships. It does mean that failure to expose students to differing points of view or not demanding respect for all speakers from the audience should not be rewarded with millions in taxpayer funding for research and other programs.

#2 – Is Obamacare threatening all individual policy holders?

Buried in Aetna’s announcement that it would be pulling out of all the Obamacare exchanges was the guidance that the company would also quit selling any kind of individual policies, on or off the exchange.

Many small business owners and freelance contractors carry individual insurance policies. They have to, because as sole proprietors, they can’t qualify for group plans. In Iowa, that affects over 36,000 Aetna customers.

The collapse of Obamacare will create far more uninsured people than just those who are enrolled in exchanges.

Thanks a lot, former President Obama.

#3 – The true cost of subsidizing Obamacare.

Various outlets are reporting the real costs borne by taxpayers to provide subsidized health insurance coverage under Obamacare at between $42.6 Billion and $166 Billion dollars in 2017 alone.  That’s your hard-earned money, America.

Note, that’s the cost after the premiums are added into the kitty.

That’s a pretty big spread, and it reflects the different metrics used to calculate the costs.

Regardless of who’s correct, the figures prove that providing government-run healthcare insurance  to even a tiny fraction of the population is prohibitively expensive.

Can you even imagine the cost to provide insurance to every American?

Which makes one wonder…why are we even considering retaining any portion of that program?

#4 – Why is Uber collecting for driver health insurance?

The people who drive for Uber recently lost a class action court case in which they maintained that they were actually employees, not independent contractors.

So why is Uber now collecting five cents a mile from all customers, and four cents a mile from any driver who agrees to the bite, to provide health insurance to independent contractors?

By definition, independent contractors cannot participate in or be given benefits that might tend to establish an employer-employee relationship. That’s Federal law in the U.S. of A.

Uber has lately been accused of  several questionable business practices, such as using apps to circumvent local licensing laws.

This is just another example of a company gaming the system.  In this case, by reaping the benefits of classifying drivers as independent contractors, thereby dodging the payment of taxes, overtime and workman’s comp premiums,  as well as oversight under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Maybe it’s time to revisit the question of driver employment classification again.

From → op-ed

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