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New JC superintendent named December 19, 2014

Your Opinion: Comparing states’ policies and outcomes

Dear Editor:

For those who have been keeping up, we approach the end in the Mississippi series. First, I will answer the query posed in the first retort asking why I have targeted Mississippi.

I did not target Mississippi! I selected Mississippi as the prime example of the impact of conservative policies in the metrics of health of its citizens, education and economic strength in wages and level of poverty. My sources being the CDC, the NIH, the Census Bureau, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Bureau of Economic Analysis and Kaiser Health News, I am comfortable with the credibility of those sources.

The uncomplicated reality is that Mississippi scored consistently at the lowest performance level in all metrics and Massachusetts as the progressive alternative consistently scored at the highest performance level in all metrics.

The reason for this extended effort is that Missouri with its conservative Republican Legislature seems to be committed to following the policy course of Mississippi and to put it bluntly I have no interest in advocating or supporting policies that demonstrably have produced low per capita wages, greater poverty, shorter lives, diminished health among seniors, reduced health insurance options, higher death rates among teens and infants, greater incidence of obesity and diabetes, reduced availability of primary care physicians and inferior education.

Our federal system clearly allows individual states to affect these metrics within their own policy adaptations. The petri dishes that this system creates allow each state to make those choices. For Missouri, we simply must choose which outcome we prefer. If we continue to feed the conservative ethos, we will continue a slide into the same predicament that faces Mississippi. The alternatives for Missouri are simple and straightforward. The “why” as noted at the beginning is to clearly offer Missourians a choice as to which direction we wish to sustain.

Finally, I must address the recent response of Mr. Brown. Fewer responses in my experience have seemed less credible. His recitation of the number of farms, acres being farmed, and income from agriculture in comparison to Massachusetts fundamentally asserts that no rural state can compete in raising wages, reducing poverty, extending life expectancy, promoting health care for seniors, expanding insurance options, reducing death and mortality rates among teens and infants, cultivating the availability of primary care physicians or developing a superior educational system. Such a proposition condemns Missouri to a future that I reject as preordained.

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