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Letters to the Editor

Absurd model

December 15, 2010

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To the editor:

I was astounded by the details of the “model budget” for Kansas prepared earlier this year by Kansas’ new budget director and the Kansas chapter of Americans for Prosperity. (Journal-World, Dec. 9)

Their first idea is to cut back on Medicaid. Apparently, the idea is to protect the well-heeled by balancing the budget on the backs of the sick and powerless.

Another idea is to funnel tax dollars into school vouchers. Besides being a boondoggle designed to enrich the wallets of those whose children already attend private schools without freeing a single space for an underprivileged student, how could this preposterous idea help balance the budget?

Another idea is to raise college tuition. (Again?) This is based on two premises. First, that most Kansans don’t have children in college and therefore shouldn’t bear the cost. Do Kansans want their doctor to have attended medical school? Do they want to cross a bridge designed by a trained engineer? How about their pharmacist? Their dentist? Shall we fold up Kansas’ aeronautics industry?

The second absurd premise for this budget move is that “it is only the more affluent citizens who are more likely to have children enrolled in higher education.” Incredible! Most students need financial aid to attend college, hold down jobs while there and graduate with a large burden of debt.

The notion of Steve Anderson guiding the future economy of Kansas is truly frightening. The only real idea here is demagoguery: making average hard-working Kansans suspicious of the sick, the disabled, public education and the educated “elite.”

Comments

devobrun 3 years, 4 months ago

When it comes to America? When was it not here? Where and when did it not exist in the history of the world? There are bums, hobos, urban outdoors-men and alternative life-stylers in every culture now and for all time.

Our poor have cell phones.

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Agnostick 3 years, 4 months ago

PseudoAmericans for Monarchy can best consolidate their power by consolidating the wealth into a select number of people.

When poverty comes to America, it will be wrapped in a flag, and perpetrating fraud.

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CorkyHundley 3 years, 4 months ago

  1. Provided free education for all children in public schools.

[Note the emphasis on public schools. Paying for education isn't enough. What counts is indoctrinating the kids in glorifying the State.]

  1. Produced a common agricultural policy to maximize the productivity of the land.

[Modern corollary: Massive ethanol and agricultural subsidies.]

Most people in democracies like these ideas for one simple reason: They hold the allure of getting something for nothing. They are the siren song of living at the expense of your neighbor.

These ideas became extremely popular over the last 100 years, all around the world. As a result, as democracy spread, so did these ideas. Politicians of each party and persuasion throughout the Western world quickly adopted them as their own (and never mentioned Marx).

As these ideas took hold, one big problem developed… How do you pay for them?

Progressive politicians believed they had the answer. They just took Marx's big innovation: A progressive income tax. Let the rich pay!

It's a popular idea – but it never works because decisions to add more benefits don't take into account the expense of paying for them. It doesn't take long for the budget to get out of control. Or said another way, everyone can't live at the expensive of his neighbor. His neighbor can't afford it… and he moves.

More serious, the flaw in communism is obvious. Communism doesn't account for the fact that people expect to control the fruits of their labor. People don't like their assets being stolen and their wages being heavily taxed by a government that regulates their businesses and sends their children off to war. Incrementally, people stop working. Wealthy people flee… or hide their incomes.

Tax revenues fail to meet projections. Deficits grow. Deficit spending soars. And debts mount.

That's where paper money comes in. Paper money isn't only good for financing a war. It's also perfect for closing the gap between what an economy ought to produce and its paltry real production when it has been beaten into submission by communist ideas. I like to explain it this way…

The central truth of economics is scarcity. There can never be enough of anything to satisfy everyone. The central truth of politics is patronage: promising to give everything to everyone. Paper money is the bridge between economics and politic s.

The unpaid debts of an entire generation of people in Western countries are coming due. The so-called "baby boomers" grew up in a world dominated by Marxism and Keynesian economics. These are bad ideas. They are destined to collapse.

And the collapse is here.

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CorkyHundley 3 years, 4 months ago

The root of the problem the world is facing right now isn't really governments… or banks. The real problem is simply a very bad idea – the idea that the State ought to sit in the center of society. Let me explain…

The last 100 years (since 1914) saw not only the end of the classic gold standard, but also the fantastic ascendancy of the nation-state.

These two trends are inherently and dangerously related.

Until World War I, the central government of the United States, for example, played a small role in the lives of its citizens. Its powers were strictly limited, as were its revenues. It was specifically barred from taxing citizens directly. It was a humble government that interacted with the individual states in the union, but didn't interact much with individual citizens.

The first signs of change came after the Civil War. "Progressive" ideas began to emerge. Most of these ideas came from Germany, from philosophers like Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. The core of these ideas was that the State itself was superior to its citizens. Therefore, the argument went, society ought to be organized to better accomplish the goals of the State.

Today, most Americans have no idea that the foundations of our modern State are based – nearly verbatim – on the demands of Karl Marx's Communist Manifesto.

In 1848, Marx threatened to organize a worker's revolution unless European governments:

  1. Abolished property rights and applied all rents towards public purposes.

[Modern corollary: Don't pay your property taxes, lose your house. So who really owns your house?]

  1. Levied a heavy, progressive income tax to equalize wages.

[Modern corollary: Combined federal and state marginal income and payroll taxes approach (or surpass) 50% in many U.S. states.]

  1. Abolished all rights of inheritance.

[Modern corollary: The estate tax.]

  1. Confiscated the property of all emigrants.

[Modern corollary: The 2008 "Hero's Act," which forces people leaving the U.S. to pay the equivalent of their estate taxes on the global assets before they turn in their passports.]

  1. Centralized access to credit in the hands of the State by means of a national bank and an exclusive monopoly.

[Modern corollary: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which make more than 90% of all of the mortgages in the U.S. and have dominated the market for mortgages for decades.]

  1. Centralized the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.

[Modern corollary: AT&T was a legal monopoly for decades. Amtrak is a ward of the states. The government owns all the roads. And the State controls all air traffic.]

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Scott Morgan 3 years, 4 months ago

We've gone round and round again. Entitlements to many, including me forces citizens into generational poverty. And all generational poverty has to offer in other forms, education, health, and crime.

The United States Postal Dept is a monopoly. A strong one at that. Try putting unstamped mail in your neighbors mailbox. Did you know it's a crime? When's the last time you heard of the UPS Inspector General tossing folks in jail?

The U.S. auto companies more of less rescued the free world during WW2. Fueled our economy for many decades too. I for one will not abandon them, or treat them as the enemy. Might even try one of those Italian Jeeps coming out in 2012.

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Cait McKnelly 3 years, 4 months ago

"Those who grumble about entitlements for the less fortunate, yet feel entitled to profit from the misery of others have no sense of irony or decency." (Anonymous)

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Cait McKnelly 3 years, 4 months ago

L1 has hijacked this thread and spread fallacy after fallacy. This is a shame as what the LTE writer said has merit. I think what is almost funny about this (if it weren't for the cost in human suffering this is going to cause) is that the Libertarians and ultra conservatives seem to have no idea that they are setting themselves up for their own demise. Put enough people into grinding poverty and one of two things will happen; civil war and chaos or serfdom. Neither will do anything for society and will eventually cause it's collapse. The rich need the middle class. Without it there is no one to sell goods and services to and no way to actually make money off the labor of others. By severely narrowing the middle class and concentrating wealth to a small percentage of society and not allowing that wealth to be invested in people, not "business", they are setting themselves up to die. What do the Koch brothers need with their billions? To buy another house? Perhaps they have bought into the fallacy that money equals power. It doesn't. And when this society collapses under the weight of their greed all of the gold they own will mean nothing because it will be worthless. Believe me, electronic transfers aren't very tasty. Everything I have said is based in historical fact (when it hasn't been politically revised) and been proven by the observation of civilizations and societies that have risen and fallen over the course of thousands of years. It's sad that the Koch brothers haven't the foggiest that they are simply a pimple on the butt of history and sooner or later it will pop.

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SnakeFist 3 years, 4 months ago

You must have missed this one, Liberty_One, or else you have no response:

The elephant's still there. The Federal Reserve has been around for a long time and we've had the world's strongest economy. I wonder if there's a connection...

It must be difficult to be a Chicken-Little contrarian in the face of such success, huh?

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Scott Morgan 3 years, 4 months ago

The post office is billions in debt. They are a monopoly.

Name one government agency which does a better and more efficient job than the private sector besides the military?

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KSManimal 3 years, 4 months ago

When you distill it down to the basics, what the AFP/Teabagger types really want to do away with is...civilization.

We should start calling a spade a spade. I suggest a new name: "Feral Americans".

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voevoda 3 years, 4 months ago

School vouchers are a form of taxation without representation. When we pay taxes for the public schools, we get a say in how they are run. We vote for the local school board, which determines the structure of the schools, the staff, and how and what children are taught. We vote for the state board of education, which sets curriculum and standards statewide. If we don't like what they do, we can tell them so and as elected officials, they ought to listen. If they don't listen, we can vote them out. That's democracy, and it has happened in the city and in this state. Private schools will be under no obligation to listen to the voters, and they can thumb their noses at the voters' concerns. If we don't approve of teaching "intelligent design" (it's fake science and blasphemous theologically), the private schools can just ignore us. That's unacceptable.

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SnakeFist 3 years, 4 months ago

"...if I told you I had a BS in physics from MIT, a masters in meteorology from Columbia, and a PhD in climatology from Harvard, would you be more inclined to believe what I said about global warming than if I had none of those degrees and simply did research on my own?"

That depends: By "research," do you mean traveling to the arctic to study melting permafrost, including measuring the release of CO2 from thawing peat, or do you mean surfing conservative websites written by contrarians.

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beatrice 3 years, 4 months ago

LIberty, interesting that you take wealth out of the equation of who goes and who doesn't go to college. For you, it is all about who is more intelligent. You leave out the opportunites necessary to attend college, like having wealthy parents who can help pay the way. Children of wealthy people are far more likely to attend college than children of poor people. Are you suggesting that this is because the children of the wealthy are inherently more intelligent? That is, of course, nonsense.

Regarding the person who went to college and is now in debt -- I can just as easily find plenty of people who didn't go to college and are in debt. Your single example means nothing, except that the one person you mentioned didn't know how to manage their college debt.

I also wasn't indoctrinated into believing anything about college. I come from deep blue-collar roots and ended up going to college well after high school, paying my own way when I did. I was the first in my family to do so, and I am the youngest of a large family. My career is directly related to what I learned in college. So, for a single example to counter your person in debt, I can attest to college being very good for me.

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beatrice 3 years, 4 months ago

Liberty, you really have gone out on this one. On just the most basic level, studies have shown that money earned over a lifetime is higher for people with college degrees than those who do not. The link is from the United States Census Bureau http://www.lorainccc.edu/Future+Students/College+Graduates+Earn+More.htm

However, even if you don't believe those findings, consider this -- it doesn't matter if you are using your education in a direct way to the job you are doing, it is still a benefit.

As you state, employers are using the college education as a screening tool. So how would the potential employee benefit by not having pursued higher education? If the degree is what is needed to make it past the screening and actually land the job then the person with the degree is better off, even if the education won't directly apply to the work at hand. The person without the degree won't make it past the screening, so they do not benefit by not having the degree. The non-degreed person is not better off.

Your statement, for it to be true, should be, employers are foolish to require a college education for jobs that are ultimately unrelated to college coursework.

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bangaranggerg 3 years, 4 months ago

Hansel... He's so hot right now... Hansel.

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Bruce Springsteen 3 years, 4 months ago

No, Liberty_One, the author makes the correct assumption, proven by experience, that the private sector is inadequate to address the destabilizing, destructive and deeply inhumane conditions that result from a winner-take-all economy. Someone or something must work to restore a healthy social balance that doesn't abandon vast numbers of citizens to a hopeless condition. Government is best situated to do that corrective work, the institution we use to collectively debate, then attack with coordinated resources, social failures of broad concern. He correctly notices that the proposed budget solves nothing, only yanking the rug from under hard-working but unfortunate Kansans, exacerbating their troubles while conning them into thinking they are being helped. I wonder what the very-well-off will do when the pile of less-fortunates they depend on eventually crumbles beneath them. Their short-sightedness and failure to see how this plays out in the long-run shows that affluence is no sure mark of intelligence or wisdom -- and is often only the product of dogged greed and overblown self-regard. We'll all go together when we go.

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Paul R Getto 3 years, 4 months ago

American's for Prosperity is a cute name, but it really means: "American's for perserving the prosperity we (those funding the group) already enjoy," and screw the rest of you.

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Liberty_One 3 years, 4 months ago

The LTE author makes the primary mistake that all liberals make: assuming that government and society are the same thing. They are not. Objecting to something being done by the government does not mean that the person objects to the thing been done at all. By saying that they don't want the state to shoulder the burden of college education, that doesn't mean that they don't want doctors to receive medical education or engineers to receive training.

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