Sunday, April 11, 2010

Tea Party Revisited

I received a response to a previous post about the more responsible Tea Party voices across this nation. And ConnecticutMan1, a fellow blogger, laments that
...and I note that while we could find common ground on what the important issues are we certainly have a huge chasm between what we see as the solutions. But not all of them are even willing to have that rational discussion. They are purposely disruptive and just shouting over others.

I am less interested in the shouting matches than the issues themselves. Regardless of how much any two people may disagree about a solution, if a solution actually resolves an issue then who cares who suggested it? I think the point I'm trying to make is that I hear legitimate concerns being expressed by Tea Party advocates and as much as I wouldn't want to socialize with certain people, that doesn't mean they don't deserve to be heard.

I've grown tired of the attack politics of all sides. It's fair to parody and satirize about anything. It's wholly a different level of disagreement that has each group trying to personally destroy the other. If a group of people want to identify themselves as something new, I say have at it.

On the other hand, the too-large-government issue IS a concern to lots of people. As is excessive taxation.  And while I strongly disagree with the more militant Tea Party enthusiasts to threaten violence, I can understand their growing frustration and contempt for the existing political parties.

Runaway government spending has to stop.  And mean-spirited government spending cuts that hurt the innocent and dispossessed is not a solution.  Government and education can be modeled to scale back without sacrificing quality.  But that means that we all grow up.  That means that protecting the fat cats in government and education needs to be addressed.

The poor are not our enemy, the entrenched obsolete bureaucrat who is self-insulating and feather-bedding their own position and paycheck are the ones that need to surgically removed from further damaging this country's ability to economically heal.

The issues of the Tea Party don't go away by demonizing them.  And this country doesn't recover by ignoring the problems so painful that even hermits are marching in the streets.

The best way to dissolve the Tea Party is to effectively address the issue of reducing the size of government and its attendant spending habits.

Let's all stop shouting and get serious about solving this crisis before some misguided idiot starts getting trigger happy.  Quite frankly, while I abhor the Palin-ization of that movement, I think their concerns are as important as any we face.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Educational Black-Ops?

Every once in a while the math doesn't add up or something is so subtly out of place to be unnoticeable but like a paper cut refuses to stop throbbing.

I was reading a Rick Green's Courant blog about the Avon school budget called, Avon Parents Support Public Schools -- and Higher Taxes.

Intriguing.   And there in the comments section I found a cliche that is like that paper cut.
In any event, the median property tax burden for those in single family houses in Avon is 5.56%. That is 70th highest of CT's 169 towns for FY 2008-09 tax payments. Their median state income tax burden rank is 11th highest of CT's towns.

This is the fuzzy math of the education entitlement funding myth. In other words, someone out there is gaming the economic statistics to imply that any of our communities are obligated to tax a certain percentage of income for public education whether it needs it or not.

And worse still, tax whether the town can afford it or not.

In Region 19, we have such a pattern of tax abuse. Because towns pay per student ratios of the regional school budgets, there are always towns paying more or less than the other. And the game is that no town should ever pay less than the year before. For example, this year, an EO Smith budget that desperately needs pruning isn't getting it. The magic reason? Mansfield already has reached a zero increase in EO Smith funding.

Heaven forbid that the finance committee actually consider what is best for all three towns regardless of such nonsense.

But all across Connecticut, taxpayers are being bludgeoned by a tax engine that works just this one way - always spend more and more and more.

You've been conditioned to believe that's better for kids.

That's not always the case.

More on the Black Ops soon (still fact finding).

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

A Tea Party Worth Listening To

I am proud to announce that the Region 19 BOE Gazette is a link on the page of one of Nebraska's most prestigious Tea Party blogs; Don't Let Me Stop You.

I've linked to them under the political links section here as itself the Nebraska Tea Party.

This has forever been a blog that celebrates the disenfranchised voices in politics, culture, and education.  And I ruthlessly skewer the status quo with as much satirical candor as I can muster on a tired evening.

But this blog started during the Bush/Cheney regime and something I have never said but need to is that as fiercely as I objected to their policies I cannot say that this blog was ever threatened in any way, implicit or explicit.  Not once.

First this speaks to the strength of the First Amendment and those of us who exercise it with religious trust.  But secondly, it speaks to the American character - even the hard-core neo-cons back off from trying to muzzle another citizen speaking their mind.

As I said, I'm proud that Tea Partiers link to this, a most-liberal blog.  Not because they agree but because we can agree and disagree and fight through issues that move us.

It is important for those of any party or persuasion to lighten up enough to recognize our common interests so that we can be sure that those things don't become collateral damage.  And its important for us to disagree enough to create the sparks that illuminate a step in the right direction.

And for as often as this blog has been called provincial and partisan, the truth of the matter is that it has always represented those whose voices represent a broad and rich spectrum of people who have every right to be heard and respected.  I'm proud of that too.