Over the last year, I've heard a number of GOP politicians talk about how we need to preserve the middle class and turn the poor into productive citizens. Personally, I think this is an excellent idea. I'm all for it. And now, Mr. Speaker and other gentlemen, here's what needs to happen in order to achieve this very worthy goal: Guarantee ample funding and the most talented educators in public schools at all levels and in all neighborhoods Make tuition at colleges and universities free or greatly subsidized, for those who are academically qualified and who want to pursue an economically useful degree (those who want to major in lesbian Uzbekistani basket weaving can do it on their own dime) Fund a public option for universal health care Regulate markets to prevent scams that discourage widespread investment Rebuild the infrastructure to pave the way for faster economic development Revamp the justice system so that it no longer disproportionately punishes the poor Bring the percentage of incarcerated citizens back in line with the rest of the free world (jails aren't free) You realize that NONE of the items above is a handout for lazy, irresponsible people, of course. They are simply tools for those willing to make the effort to escape poverty and be successful. Time to put your money where your mouths are.