Monday, March 2, 2009 Michael_Jackson_Talk_RadioMichael_Jackson_Talk_Radio
Michael_Jackson_Talk_Radiocapitalhe other day I lamented the number of our fellow citizens who are currently serving time in prisons and jails. Putting it more accurately and graphically, one in ever 31 adults, (that totals 7.3 million) is in prison, on parole or probation. And the figure grows. Correction spending is outpacing budget growth in education, transportation and public assistance.

Only Medicaid spending grew at a faster pace than state corrections spending. Consider this, a survey of 34 states reveals that they spent an average of $29,000 per year on prisoners, compared to $1,200 on probationers and $2,750 on parolees.

Even as crime rates have been in sharp decline, there has been an enormous increase in the number of men and women in some form of correctional control.

Why is it that many states are willing to shrink essential sectors like healthcare and education, while prison budgets continue to grow?

Michael_Jackson_Talk_Radiocapitaly the time you read this, who can know how the stock market will have gyrated, declined and changed the fortunes of many more millions. As I write this, stocks have suffered the lowest close since 1997. Investors' despair about financial companies and the recession have pummeled the Dow Jones industrial average to another undreamed of milestone: its first drop below 7,000 in more than 11 years. The Standard and Poor's 500 index is at 700, while the NASDAQ stands at 1,320. Or, as I said, that was at the close of the market session today and there is nothing that hints at a "bottom", or a resurgence.

Once upon a time, a very short while ago, we "had it good" and perhaps we were insufficiently appreciative. The pains this economy is enduring are repeated in many parts of the world and I still believe that, somehow, with brave and enlightened leadership, this nation will lead the way out of the current crises.

To the verbose and bombastic Rush Limbaugh, who stampeded television at the conservative conclave, with a 90 minute harangue of distorted facts, largely aimed at the new president, I would simply limit my question for him to, how much better do you think either the past president, George W. Bush, or the defeated candidate, Senator John McCain would have handled the current scenario had they had the opportunity?

Michael_Jackson_Talk_Radiocapitalats off to the Obama administration's Secretary of State. In her first official mission abroad, Hillary Rodham Clinton showed herself to be an effective and different kind of Sec. of State. She broke with a half-century tradition in selecting Asia rather than the Middle East or Europe for her first voyage.

Throughout her tour of Japan, South Korea, China and Indonesia, she forthrightly projected a nonconfrontational policy. A good approach ... for now!

Sec. Clinton used the President's popularity and the strength of her personality to try to restore America's standing abroad. In the near future she will find opportunities to use this country's moral force to address human rights abuses in China.

Michael_Jackson_Talk_Radiocapitalr. President, I am a fan of your abilities, skills, style and ideas. We are reaching a stage where, maybe, from now on, those who support you require less inspiration and maybe more inconvenient truth. We must hear from you about specific policies, prompt and decisive action on banks, strong fiscal stimulus and broadly based tax increases that will eventually be needed to rein in public borrowing. Mr. Obama your financial stability plan is now somewhat overdue.

President Obama, as well you know, you remain exceedingly popular - use the support well.

More tomorrow and tomorrow,

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