20 September 2011

This hole isn't deep enough! More digging!

Ok, dear fans of the BlazeBlog, here's a fair warning: This post is basically a poorly researched political rant. So, if you come here for a dose of educational theory or just some insights into my day, you should probably just skip to the end, where I will plop in a short pithy observation about high schools. Until the end, you're getting a screed about Rick Perry.

So grab something and prepare to get angry. At me. Or at Rick Perry. Or at the Tea Party.

Before I delve into my screed, some back story. At the end of the dark days of George Bush's presidency, a legacy of deregulation (thanks, Bill Clinton!) and an attitude of government neglect (thanks, Dick Cheney!) led to a melt-down of the financial sector. Now since the financial sector writes enormous checks to campaigns is vital to American economic stability, the government made numerous "loans" to large international banks. These loans had no strings attached and no rules (thanks, Henry Paulson!) and actually did very little to help fix the problem.

Out of this, a band of fiscal conservatives sprang into action. They called themselves the Tea Party. Aside from giving us one of the greatest collections of terribly spell-checked signs in history they have also introduced some "interesting" political ideas. A return to the gold standard. Outlawing Social Security and Medi-care. Letting people without insurance die. Thinking that Sarah Palin would be a good president.

If we're honest, most of their ideas are far to fringe to really have much impact directly on America. However, their original and oft-repeated (at high volume) message of fiscal conservatism. Most politicians have interpreted this message to mean "cut spending". Since the Tea Party is on the far right of the spectrum, the people catering to them are Republicans. And if we know one thing about Republicans, it's that they hate them some taxes (fun note about that clip: He actually did the fiscally responsible thing and raised taxes). So the Republicans in Congress, and across the country have moved dramatically to the right, and are now demanding that all new spending be off-set by cuts.

Realistically, that shouldn't matter. Shouldn't. But it does because I, and most other teachers, are paid from those funds. Our schools are lit with electricity paid for by tax revenues. I print on paper bought with tax money. When the copier breaks, do you know what kind of money pays the repairman? Tax money. This isn't just true for schools. It's true for all government spending. If you cut it, you cut that money flowing into the private sector. Now, you'll point out that schools don't need increased funding. Then, I'll point out that yes they do, because people do it like they do on the Discovery Chanel, and there are more kids than ever. Now there are even more. You get it. We need more money for schools because there are more kids.

So, we find ourselves in a situation where the economy is stagnant. The Conservative Right's demand for cutting spending is about to make things worse. How? Well, they think that if you just cut taxes, companies will start making and hiring more. I don't know what the reasoning is behind that, and I'm honestly so over the Republicans that I'm not even going to bother to read through the Google results.
What I do know is that by cutting funding to base level government spenders (schools, fire departments, police departments) you're actually hurting private business, because we buy a lot of things from private companies, and now we aren't.

Sure, it sucks that our classes are getting bigger and our checks aren't. It sucks that it takes longer for the fire truck to show up when your house is burning down. It sucks that the police can't really spare the extra manpower to look for your stolen car. But that suck is personal, and Republicans don't care about that. They care about stimulating the economy. You know how? It's a 2 step plan:

1. Cut taxes and spending (again, I'm not sure what this will do)

2. Vote for  this guy.

You know him, you love him, it's the adorable governor of Texas, George W. Bush Mr. Rick Perry! And what is his plan for getting the American economy rolling again? Let's take a look at his webpage, shall we?

Hmm, what did we see?

Perry’s pro-growth agenda, combined with real spending reductions, will lead to a new era of economic growth and the creation of millions of American jobs.
(emphasis mine)
Real. Spending. Reductions. 

Do you know what that meant for teachers in Texas? Well, now some of them get to clean their own classrooms. That's a good solution, since the other one was to lose their jobs, along with thousands of other Texas educators.

(I'm not even going to touch that his entire page for the issue of "jobs" ( which I assume is his economic plan, since his website doesn't have a link for "economy" or "economic issues") consists of only 163 words, of which 7 are "Rick" or "Perry". That's good. 163 words can solve the whole economy. I swear that somewhere Aaron Sorkin is already writing pilots about this)

I can't pretend to know what Rick Perry would do to schools if he were (shudder) elected President. But I do know that in Texas, where he touts his job-creation record, public-sector employees are losing their jobs. And I can figure out that when schools are cutting teaching positions, they have probably cut everywhere else they could and still stay functional. That means millions of dollars no longer going to private companies, which would have had to employ people to service those schools. It also means that those employees aren't spending money. To add insult to injury, those public employees then qualify for unemployment benefits. What pays for those benefits?


Why not just use the tax dollars to pay them to teach? Certainly the unemployment benefit is a much lower cost than full time employment. However, there is benefit to society when the teacher is teaching. When they are getting an aid check and bagging groceries? Not so much.

Anyway, you're tired of reading my poorly reasoned and negligently researched rant, and you're looking for a little bit of giggles to get you through the evening. Here it is:

Freshmen smell terrible. Really really terrible.

So terrible, I'm going to link to Charles Barkley saying terrible in a video. Over and over and over again. 

You're welcome.

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