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As Long as We Remember...

January 13, 2009

Missed Opportunities? Perhaps!

Farrell Keough

If you wake up tomorrow and go out to warm up your car before leaving for work – you could be facing a $60 fine and one point on your driving record. This is yet another sign of not actually thinking through an idea, and what unintended consequences are.


This law was created as a response to increased automobile theft. As an attempt to stop thieves, it in essence, makes the victim the criminal. Consider that thinking.


To help the larger community deal with the issues of theft, our representatives determine to hold the victim accountable. It is precisely this reverse logic that is leading our national representation.


In a recent article on National Review Online the authors contemplate the huge funding plans by the incoming President-elect Barack Hussein Obama. Their main issue deals with potentially enormous bail-out proposals to the various states. The focus is on school funding.


“To [teacher unions and school establishment], the argument for sparing schools from painful budget cuts — currently appearing on editorial pages nationwide — is self-evident. One influential Washington-based lobbyist recently explained that education spending is smart because ‘it actually has the strongest possibility of being able to pay back’ the government — when today’s students go on to become tax-generating neurosurgeons and white-shoe attorneys rather than welfare chiselers.




“What’s unique about public education is that, unlike their private-sector counterparts, few school districts ever face this day of reckoning. Superintendents squawk when they are told to hold spending growth to “just” one or two percent the next year.


“Per-pupil spending today is roughly double (in inflation-adjusted terms) what it was in 1983, when the U.S. was declared “a nation at risk.” That huge increase in public outlays has funded all manner of questionable practices, including ever-shrinking class sizes (popular with parents and teachers, but mostly unrelated to student achievement), an ever-growing number of teachers and other school employees, a uniform salary schedule that treats incompetents and all-stars identically, an unsustainable pension-and-benefits system, and a tenure system that protects instructional dysfunction. In other words, taxpayers have spent decades funding an enormous, inefficient jobs program.




“A big federal bail-out of school-system budgets will void that opportunity and again put off the day of reckoning. We’ll miss a rare chance to make our schools leaner, more efficient, and more effective, and we’ll saddle tomorrow’s administrators with the same headaches and baggage as today’s face. Oh, and of course we’ll do all this ‘for the kids.’”


This same analysis and ideology needs to form the perspective for our representatives returning to Annapolis. And not just for schools, but for every government agency and bill. This downturn in the economy is actually a benefit to those espousing conservative values.


While we are often accused of not caring, it is during these times that we must show our resolve and prove what caring truly encompasses. The general public understands belt tightening as that is how they live their lives. We must follow that same course of action in our government.


Articulate your message. Engage the public. Write press releases, get on the radio and television, and talk to your constituency. This is an opportunity to rally the public. We understand downsizing; we understand having to spend less; and we understand the need to decrease the size of government.


We also understand the need for law enforcement, education, certain levels of health care, and a few other offerings we receive from government. But, as pointed out in this article, these systems become bloated. This is an opportunity to bring that truth to the forefront and make these agencies either non-existent or “leaner, more efficient, and more effective.”


We have an incredible level of staff in our Maryland Department of Education. There is no possible justification for such an enormous staff at the state level for education – each county has its own level of excess, the state does not need to follow suit.


We have overlap in virtually all agencies. Our state agriculture department alone pushes for more and more regulation with more and more employees. This creates an enormous amount of duplication and overlap.


We are constantly told how poorly our health care system is working. Now is the time to make the necessary cuts which lead to efficiency in that area. Yet, we look to just the opposite solution and call for more taxation, more entitlement programs, more regulation and government employees. This has been the mantra for so long we seem to have forgotten that it does not work. We need to look at how the private sector handles these realities and follow suit.


While it is much more enjoyable to give, when it is necessary to take away, conservatives should shine. This can be a very hopeful year in Annapolis for those willing to step forward and use their political capital to make these necessary cuts. Promote your actions and let the public know you are on their side.


This could well be your year to shine.



Violation of the State of Maryland Vehicle Law, Article 21 Section 1101 (a).


Silver Cloud, Dark Lining - Why Obama’s stimulus may retard education reform, and what to do about it.  By Michael J. Petrilli, Chester E. Finn Jr., & Frederick M. Hess – National Review Online:


Woodsboro - Walkersville Times
The Morning News Express with Bob Miller
The Covert Letter

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