Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Christmas Challenge for the Collectivists

I've had more than a few debates over taxation and theft. Paul over at SavetheHilliardSchools writes, "While it was great that our students got a temporary reprieve with the passing of the last levy ... " To make such a statement, Paul turns his back on the marginal resident, the likely elderly woman contemplating her ability to pay the new tax.

Paul's comment is nothing less than a modern version of the quote commonly attributed to Trotsky, "You can't make an omelet without breaking eggs." And Paul's levy is an omelet consuming many Hilliard eggs.

I
challenged Paul to assist an eighty year-old woman living in Olentangy who will have to work an additional 140 hours next year just to pay Olentangy's new tax -- I asked Paul to give her a reprieve. Silence.

To be fair, Paul didn't vote for this tax. Though, given the chance, he likely would have done so. I wonder if he plans to assist the Ediths of his district. I wonder.

But this post is not just about Paul. It's also about those living in this district who stand to gain from Olentangy's new tax levy -- to gain at the expense of Edith. If taxation is for the public good (I disagree), can the public good stand Edith suffering additional hours on stiff knees?

To that: I challenge readers who supported the levy to help Edith (not her real name, of course) with her heating bills this Christmas. Remember, for her, the decision is heat or taxes. Send me an email and I'll let tell you how to get in touch with her.


At the very least, help one who stands to suffer for your gain.

note: Hey, Olentangy for Kids. Why not open your campaign war chest to those in need? It's your doing.

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

In our school district, where the taxers wanted to pass a humongous tax levy AND an increase in the income tax, and they did not succeed this time, their cries were that the buildings were going to fall on their children if all new buildings were not built. Even though there were many, many people who voted for those high taxes and evidently planned to hand their money over to the government school, they have not volunteered a penny of their money to pay for all those things they wanted for their kids. Not one penny. Evidently it was only good if they forced everybody to be taxed. Since they can't yet they're holding on to their money. Even though they agonized about what would happen to their kids if the taxes were not passed.

Anonymous said...

Here's a re-posting of a comment someone (10:27) left on the Monday, Oct 20
topic.

The sentiment and emotion in the comment speaks for itself.

"Thanks for stealing from the church from which I'm a member. Thanks for stealing from kids who need an advocate in court to provide a second chance in life. Thanks for stealing from the Red Cross. Thanks for stealing from Pregnancy Decision Health Centers. Thanks for stealing from the Childrens Diabetes Association. Thanks for stealing from the American Cancer Society. Thanks for stealing form the Ronald McDonald House downtown. All of these charities have you to thank for the reduction in charitable donations that I can provide for them next year, as I balance my budget and reduce my "flexible spending account" by the $1600 increase in taxes that you stole from me at the ballot box."

Worse than my taxes increasing significantly in just a few weeks, they're going up FOR A LEVY THAT WAS NOT NEEDED. And for any of those administration and OFK sophists who, because their need for the levy has been soundly revealed to have been a lie, cling to the notion that it was imperitive to raise our taxes by collective tens of millions of dollars in order to increase our bond rating by a few basis points so that we can realize only marginal savings--you should be driven out of town.

Anonymous said...

People that live in Olentangy district always gets a job transfer; they vote these taxes in then move out of state. They stick all of us that can’t move to another state with the higher property taxes.

You can only pray that when another levy comes around people will say NO. You can only pray that people in Olentangy are struggling with their bills and they can’t afford higher taxes.

On another subject:

Olentangy is like every other school; there was a bomb threat at Orange High School Friday, and do you think the parents were noticed? No I wasn’t, my daughter called me up scared and said there was cops every where. The school knew about it on Thursday before school was out they could have told the kids, but they didn’t. I believe that everybody even kids had a right to choose to go Friday or discuss the threat and there feeling with their parents. Do you think that happen NO. There is something wrong with this school district. You have teachers at Orange High school that makes fun of kids that is on I.E.P. , teachers tell these kids that they are not smart. What is wrong with these teachers? They deserve a raise Right???

Paul said...

Jim:

Once again you misread my blog. That statement came from a collaborator named Mark Morscher, not me. I don't disagree with him, but it's not my words.

And I'll answer your question: the approach we use to organize and fund public schools in Ohio sucks.

One of the first philosophical questions to ask is whether we believe that it is a good thing that every American kid has access to some level of basic education regardless of the ability to pay. My answer: Yes. That obviously means there has to be a mechanism to fund that education for kids who otherwise can't afford it.

One scenario for doing that is for parents who can afford it and wish to sent their kids to school - which would be entirely voluntary - to pay tuition directly and for those who can't to be supported by charitable organizations. If you don't have kids in school, or don't want to send you kids to school, you don't have to pay anything for schools.

Who knows, maybe such a system could work, and could perhaps achieve better results than the system we have today because parents would become more involved consumers. Charitable contributors would do so out of passion for the schools and kids, rather than being involuntary taxpayers.

As a free-market type (with some caveats), such a system is worthy of trying, in my opinion.

But the realist in me says there is about a zero chance of that experiment being tried. The way we 'do education' here in Ohio and the rest of the country is dictated by the powerful teachers' unions, who favor more taxes and less voter input to the process (e.g. the Getting It Right for Ohio's Future amendment).

Which brings me back to my base point that apathy and ignorance are the greatest danger in America, and nothing is going to change in this country as long as we think 60% voter turnout is something to celebrate.

Your scenario with Edith is not so simple. I'll assume she once had kids who attended public school. If that is so, she's already had her benefit from a system that took from some 80 year old lady back then. She's also getting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, which were not fully funded by her generation because it was assumed they would live only into their 60s. So I'm working extra hours to support her as well. If she wants to drop off the grid, that's okay, but don't object to paying school tax while I'm paying FICA.

Our tax system is the result of years and years of politicians figuring out ways to gain power by taking money via taxation and redistributing in exchange for contributions and votes.

I can't change that in the short term. Neither can you. We're both trying to knock the blinders off folks and get them to think about this stuff differently in hope that some seeds gets planted. I don't always agree with what you say, or how you go about saying it, but I recognize and appreciate the passion.

I would ask that you yield me the same respect.

In the meantime, I'll remember the Serenity Prayer, and work hard to change the things I can.

PL

Jim Fedako said...

Paul,

Knocking down elderly women in order to get what you want and then justifying the assault -- you are a piece of work.

Sure you commit your assault at the polling station, under cover of a supposed public good, but the effect is the same.

By the way, she works at a grocery store in my area, but you could easily find someone similarly situated in Hilliard. Find one and taunt away. You got what you wanted, so let her shiver all winter.

And, let her eat cake.

note: She never directly voted for your hated federal taxes, no one did. But you cast your ballet in spite of her, and those like her. Must make you feel proud.

Paul said...

You know, you talk big, but don't walk the talk.

Why don't you move out of your nice suburban neighborhood, which is protected by tax-supported police and fire departments, and paved with tax-maintained streets, and drop off the grid entirely? There are certainly places in this world to escape from taxation as long as you are willing to forego the protection and services provided by a government.

Why don't you build a model community to demonstrate the benefits of a pure form of your economic philosophy?

It would be hard to enumerate all the tax-funded benefits of which you and your family partake because few Americans - certainly neither you nor me - actually know how to live completely independently in the world any more.

America is woven together with a fabric of interdependence. Our founders long ago fought to create a democratic republic, and I'm proud to say my ancestors were among them. Since then, millions upon millions of people have flocked here to enjoy the benefits of our country, and many of those benefits have a cost. Through our democratic process, we've developed a system of tax-supported government entities to administer and deliver those benefits.

Has it become corrupt and perverted? Unquestionably. We have our good and our bad days. But America is still a place more people want to come to than leave.

America is about to go through another stressful evolutionary stage. It might have been avoided with some better leadership - on both sides of the aisle - but we're here now. We need to struggle through it and work hard to avoid such mistakes again. Who knows, it may create the environment to facilitate radical change in the way we do such things as education.

You're a beneficiary of a culture developed around the notion of common good and shared cost. You advocate for anarchy, yet do so from within the protection of an organized nation, with an elected government.

Please just stop with the hypocrisy.

Anonymous said...

Way to go ad hominem, Jim., especially for someone who espouses philosophical and logical points of view. Try and stick to task.

- a regular reader

Anonymous said...

I guess in Jim's view if she can't afford to buy food we should give it to her. If she can't afford a car and gas, we'll give it to her. Same for health care and medicine.

There is a cost to everything. Taxes are a cost, no different than the cost to fill my car up. Yes, I can choose not to have a car but then I need to live somewhere that I can do that. Same with taxes, don't like what they buy you here, live where they don't have the taxes.

Frankly, if she can't afford her house and the taxes that pay for police protection, fire protection, the road to her house and the rest of the benefits around her, she shouldn't have the house.

Machiavellian maybe but it is reality. But then this site doesn't really deal in reality.

(8?» said...

Funny, Paul recognizes both the taxation and education systems are run by criminals for political power, yet chooses to support them anyway.

Never mind the human suffering they create, just as long as the facade of integrity can be maintained.

If there is anything more apathetic than the surrender of personal responsibility known as voting, I have yet to see it.

Well, other than sending your kids off to "public" school, that is.

Jim Fedako said...

9:29 --

Wrong. Ad hominem is a logical fallacy. Please review – Wikipedia is a good start.

That said: Paul is using the ad hominem in his comment. He is trying to refute my argument by claiming I am a hypocrite in some aspect of my political beliefs. True or not, Paul’s assertion has nothing to do with the argument at hand. It would have been a nice move on Paul’s part except he is much too obvious.

Jim Fedako said...

Paul,

The issue is not me and my political views, the issue is the fact you voted for and actively supported a school levy knowing its effect on marginal residents in Hillard – your neighbors. Then you have the gall to turn the table on those very same folks.

What has become corrupt and perverted is the view that the ballot box is the means to gain from others.

For you, that means gaining at the expense of (inter alia) the elderly. Accept your stance and sleep well, in the warmth of your heated home.

Jim Fedako said...

11:07 --

No. The issue is folks like you voting for personal gain at the expense of (inter alia) the elderly. What you term Machiavellian, I term vile. Why waste tax dollars on ballot issues, just mug her. The end is the same.

Just quit saying that it is for "the public good." It's for your good.

Paul said...

The hypocrisy is that you seem to want to vote against these various tax issues, or not vote at all, and yet partake of the benefits of the government anyway. True, you may not send your kids to public school, but at some point you may decide to put your house up for sale, and the value of your house will likely be influenced by the fact that it lies within the Olentangy School District (and not Columbus for example). You may not value the school district, but it is very likely that potential buyers will have the school district at the top of their selection criteria.

Why did you choose a house in your particular neighborhood anyway? If you are going to educate you kids at home, you probably could have found a much cheaper house in another school district.

By the way, the people of the Olentangy school district could have chosen to protect folks like the woman you use as an example. They could have chosen to use earned-income only income tax levies, and chances are she would have had to pay very little tax. Did you advocate for this kind of funding when you were a member of the school board?

When you ran for election to the school board, was your campaign position that you would never vote to put another levy issue on the ballot? During your abbreviated term, did you have the opportunity to vote on a resolution to place a levy issue on the ballot? I'm just trying to understand if your actions are consistent with your words.

I've made my position clear many times - I think Ohio's approach for organizing and funding schools stinks. If I could wave a magic wand and change things, I would. But the reality is that there are powerful entrenched forces - namely the teachers' unions - running our educational system and controlling the lawmakers, and until the public wakes up and retakes control, little significant change is going to happen.

My mission is to educate and engage the public. I think that's yours too. We may not agree philosophically, but figuring out a way to make the things work anyway is what democracy is all about.

Jim Fedako said...

Paul --

Paul doth protest too much, methinks.

The ad hominem fallacies are getting old. The issue is you, and your defense of the indefensible.

That said, your protests show that deep down you know that taking advantage of the less-fortuned is wrong. Can I assume that you are beginning to lose sleep ... "Out, damn'd spot! out, I say!"

Now, help Edith or a Hilliard Edith this holiday season. Doing so will help remove the stain that is keeping you awake.

Paul said...

Okay, so if your question is whether I think taxing people to the extent that it compromises their ability to afford the necessities of life is fair, the answer is of course no. Our system is screwed up. I'm hoping my actions (not just my words) will help change it.

Do I try to help folks in need? I hope so. I prepare and serve meals to the homeless every once in a while. I gave a beggar on the corner of U & 14th in Washington DC a few bucks the other day. I've not yet had the courage to 'sell everything and follow' as Jesus commanded, but contribute faithfully to my church and other charitable organizations. It may not help your particular Edith, but I hope there are other Ediths that are helped.

I don't say these things to boast, just to hopefully end your accusations in this regard.

My questions still stand: I'm trying to figure out whether you are yourself a closet Collectivist, denouncing our system yet enjoying its benefits nonetheless.

Jim Fedako said...

Paul --

"Okay, so if your question is whether I think taxing people to the extent that it compromises their ability to afford the necessities of life is fair, the answer is of course no."

Baloney. You did it -- you championed it. And you would gladly do it again.

"I've not yet had the courage to 'sell everything and follow' as Jesus commanded ... "

But you took from your Ediths without a second thought. No, take that back, you reversed the argument and blamed them.

Blame the system all you want. You used it to your benefit and Edith's detriment.

note: please, please learn terms that you use, starting with collectivist.

Anonymous said...

Kinda funny how Muirfield Village is situated in two counties, Franklin and Delaware, and property taxes are higher in Franklin. Must be because living in Franklin County is so much more beneficial to those who live there.
Paul is going to get his wish because Strickland and his cronies are going to fund their brain laundries by stealing our money without our getting to vote on it.

Jim Fedako said...

Paul,

You've become too repetitive.

1. Yours is not a definition of collectivist, nor do you show any understanding of the term.

2. The issue is you, not the actions and votes of my past. Do you justify all your doings by such a moral/ethical standard?

Don't bother answering. You refuse to take responsibility for your actions and, instead, place blame on everyone and everything other than yourself -- the elderly, the system, me, etc.

As you head to the store to buy your bird, remember the greeters who have to work to pay your tax.

Eh, let 'em eat cake.

Paul said...

So what happened to my comment from this morning?

Tell you what - I'll pay Edith's December heating bill if you and your family agree to forego for the month of December the use of any and all facilities and services which are funded in any part by taxes I have or will pay.

That means not driving on, riding on, or walking on any US, Ohio or Franklin County roads for starters.

Nor can you visit any Metro Park or go to the Columbus Zoo. Can't watch WOSU-TV or listen to WOSU radio. Can't put your money in any bank which accepts bail-out money from the government. Can't ride COTA or Amtrak. Can't use US paper currency or coins.

The list is very long.

Seems to me that if you want to take the high ground on the claim that taxation is state-aided robbery, you must refuse the benefits of the stolen goods.

Otherwise, join the ranks of us sinners and help find better solutions - things which can actually be implemented.

PL

Jim Fedako said...

Paul,

Pure sophistry. Are you really so simple as to believe such an inane argument justifies your actions?

Accept responsibility for what you did, for what you advocated, etc.

By the way, I have to pay for those "services" in spite of my beliefs.

You, on the other hand, voted -- an action -- to increase the yolk on those less fortunate. That is your solution, voting to increase taxes. That is what you supported. That is what you worked for. There is no getting around it.

Let the folks in Hilliard know that they are to render unto Paul -- or render unto the desires of Paul.

Nice.

Oh, and go review your comments on poor Edith -- real heart warming, you are a real gentleman (that's sarcasm, by the way).

Anonymous said...

Jim, you worry about Edith but you don't worry about the kid who won't get educated because you dissolve public education. Instead individuals are responsible to home school or pay for private education. But of course, not everyone will be able to do that so some will be left behind. But then that is their problem and Edith is ours.

Anonymous said...

I keep running into that silly argument from the Taxers that I should not be allowed to use any public roads because I object to taxation. That's the first thing that pops into their little pea brains. I wonder what they think about how the government claims rights to encroach on my property along those roads, that the government can take over frontage of my property (that I am taxed yearly to continue to live on after having paid dearly to buy it) any time government decides it needs my property for more lanes of roadway or anything else?

Jim Fedako said...

10:53 --

Aren't parents responsible for raising their own children? Why should anyone expect others to pay for their children's activities? I don't.

It's funny -- well, it's more ironic than funny -- that the activities parents pay out of their own pockets through elementary are suddenly public goods. Seriously, parents pay for their children's OYAA sports yet expect their neighbors to pay once those very same children enter middle school.

All of a sudden, Edith is on the line for her neighbor's children's sports. Does that make sense? Is that ethical or moral?

Anonymous said...

Damnit, Jim--I want my kid to play violin, and I don't care if Edith has to help pay the $600,000+ annual cost of our strings program.

I don't care if my kid has a 1-in-5 chance of requiring remedial math or English when he goes to college--I WANT HIM TO PLAY VIOLIN!!!

(can Edith help pay for his remedial math and English college classes, too?)

Anonymous said...

It has been shown that uneducated people cause more problems in society through crime.

Making sure everyone is educated reduces crime and helps our economy. It would be nice to believe every parent can or will educate their child but that has been shown to not be the case.

You will tell use none of this matters and it is the individuals responsibility until the uneducated animal breaks into your house, rapes your wife, kills your children and steals your car. Then you will be the first in line demanding public support in the terms of the police. But by then it is too late.

Jim Fedako said...

12:43 --

"It has been shown that uneducated people cause more problems in society through crime."

What about the highly educated? Hmmm.

What is ironic about your post is this: Education is mandatory in the US. So where are these uneducated folks coming from? I'll answer that for you. Public schools.

As far as break-ins, etc: Are going to tell me that your are a gun control nut also? So your life depends on the state.

Jim Fedako said...

12:46 --

Also ...

"It would be nice to believe every parent can or will educate their child but that has been shown to not be the case."

And the state is educating? Ever hear of Cleveland City Schools? How about Columbus City Schools?

Finally, how is a mugging downtown ethically different from your vote that forces Edith out of her house? Or forces her to suffer the cold of winter?

Ethically speaking, there is nothin different between your uneducated stealing for their own gain or your educated vote for your own gain. In the end, someone wants the property of someone else. Theft is theft regardless the action.

Anonymous said...

Since uneducated people are the criminals, shouldn't we hold government school teachers responsible for crime? After all, their incompetence results in the large numbers of government school inmates going through the system but remaining uneducated. The masses consist of uneducated people who have been in that rotten system. I see them every day. When I turn on the idiot box they are right there on the screen. When I attend a meeting of township trustees I witness uneducated people trying to run my life. Were I to attend a teachers' union confab I would be surrounded my uneducated people.

Anonymous said...

Wow--the stupidity of the following comment is really, really something. It's truly, profoundly dumb.

"It has been shown that uneducated people cause more problems in society through crime...Making sure everyone is educated reduces crime and helps our economy."

For one, the greatest financial crises since the Great Depression was caused by people with advanced degrees, and even that was caused by highly educated people. Add up all the annual direct and indirect costs to the American taxpayer from "uneducated" criminals--everything from property damage and insurance claims, to the cost of incarceration--and multiply it by 1,000 and you'll begin to approach the magnitude of our current losses due to all those MBA's, MPP's, PhD's and JD's.

But, worse--and even more unforgivably ignorant--is that you conflate "education" with "educated". The former is a process and the latter is the logical, expected result. But statistics on our public education system prove that these two dynamics--process and outcome--are not mutually inclusive (or, at least, any longer complementary). No--our public education system has made these two words incongruous to one another, with one having as much to do with the other as "cream" and "cremation".

Just because our kids go to school doesn't mean they are learning: having a high school degree from our "Excellent with Distinction" school district does not mean that our kids are prepared for anything. Olentangy's remediation rate proves this. It's 19%--and that's skewed-low due to private schools not being included in the stats. It's no secret that small, private schools will accept any kid whose parents are able pay the high tuition. It's also no secret that our better schools will not accept kids who cannot pass the entrance exam (er, "kids who need remedial math or English"). This is why Olentangy's acceptance rate to OSU is so low. So, the whole set-statistic of Olentangy's remediation rate is likely 25% or higher.

As of the last TIMSS test (administered internationally to 4th, 8th and 12th graders in order to gauge basic math and science knowledge) American students finished near the bottom in all categories compared against results from the 48 countries who participated. American kids were even bested by their peers in Hungary.

The results of the TIMSS 2007 test will be released on December 9th.

http://timss.bc.edu/TIMSS2007/frameworks.html

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I looked at the Math test data and the US finished in the top 20 for one category and top 10 for the other. We did not finish at the bottom.

Sorry to burst everyone's bubble but in areas with high drop out rates and low numbers of advanced degrees, crime goes up. But all the outrage and misdirection was entertaining.

But then that little bit of data really doesn't support your desire to get rid of public education so I can see why you want to attack it.

Jim Fedako said...

6:55 --

That's right, for somewhere around $15K per year per student (or a $300K per 20 student class), the US beat Italy, Ghana, Armenia, Botswana, etc.

Great results. A true value for our tax dollars.

Anonymous said...

Right...American high schoolers' math scores were equal to their peers in Slovakia and Estonia--SWEET! Our kids being in the Top 20 when our biggest competitors make up the Top 5 is not reasurring.

Unicef and a number of other organizations have done their own studies, with American kids finishing near, or at, bottom.
But, whatever study you look at, American kids are nowhere near the Top 5 or Top 10, which, given the wealth of this nation, its 98% literacy rate, and its influence in the world, is a direct reflection on our pathetic system of public education.

Top 20...you're unbelievable.

Anonymous said...

Tom Friedman is not my favorite read, but he makes some very good points in his book, "The Earth is Flat".

The smartest 5% of people in India and China is a number equal to 40% of the entire US population.

We're importing these folks to fill critical technology positions here, and exporting services and finance support jobs abroad. There will be a day when these countries (namely India) are dominant and self sustaining (organic manufacturing, banking and services sectors) to the point where there is no need for their best and brightest to come here for work--then what?

Our kids are being churned out from public schools unprepared. 1-in-5 in our district are not even prepared for college. What is going on here?

Excellent with Distinction? Against OTHER Ohio public schools?? How about "Ready for College"???

Despite the deterioration of our colleges and universities at the hands of the Left over the last few decades, they still remain the envy of the world.

That being the case, then college preparedness should be the ultimate goal of our school district, with remediation statistics being the determinant of district educational effectiveness. No more of this "Excellent with Distrinction" nonsense. Our district should focus on reducing the college remediation rate. Prepare our kids adequately for the next step in the their education careers and stop wasting their valuable time with nonsense.

Anonymous said...

6:24

1 in 5 not ready for college...I would argue that 1 in 5 should not go to college. Not every kid is college material. Some are far better served going into a trade or technical school for some needed skill that does not require a college education. If we are trying to get more than 80% of the kids ready for college, I think we are making a mistake. Colleges have many students now that don't have the aptitude for academics but could do quite well in another field. I don't thinkn our schools are great by any stretch, but the fact that 1 in 5 are not ready for college is not an indictment of the system. There may be plenty of other valid indictments, but thihs isn't one of them.

Jim Fedako said...

12:50 --

Two points:

One -- this is a comparative statistic between districts. Olentangy has a relatively high remediation rate for a high socio-economic district.

Two -- You are conflating Olentangy's remediation rate against your nirvana view of college (the nirvana fallacy). So you are arguing against your view on college and not the previous comment on Olentangy's results.