Thursday, January 31, 2008

Cheering NPR

My latest post the Blog at Mises.org(Mises.org):











I never thought I'd be cheering NPR, but Michelle Norris really makes Sen. Baucus squirm. Sure her economic theory is off, but some of her questions are spot on.
Norris: "Will this stimulus package in the end add to the nation's deficit woes?"

Baucus: "Well ... it's ... um ... My thought is ... It probably will initially, but all economists say we should do this. All ... I'm not saying all, the vast majority of economists say we should do this. We need to give the economy a little bit of a stimulus, a little bit of an increase. This is the advice we were given by economists. This is the advice we were given by business people. It's I think the right thing to do at this point."
The vast majority of economists, or just the Brain Trust? Didn't Rothbard write a book about this? Funny how history repeats itself.

Ok, it's not actually funny -- more like ironic, but you get the point.

Go NPR!

The Olentangy Watch: What is Galloway hiding?

Day Four: Four days ago I asked Olentangy board president Scott Galloway to defend the levy. No response. Hmmm. What is he hiding?

Galloway, Defend your levy! If you can that is.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Olentangy Watch: Is Scott Galloway out there?

Day Three: I have never met a district resident who has received a response from Galloway.1 However, I hear he exists. At least the newspapers report his presence. Makes me wonder what he has to hide. Scott, Are you out there ... there ... there ... ?


note:

[1] Excluding district employees of course.

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Olentangy Watch: waiting for a response from Scott Galloway

Day Two: Still on watch for the ever-elusive Scott Galloway response. Yesterday, I emailed my previous post to the president of the Olentangy School Board. No hide nor hair of him yet, though I could still get lucky and receive a reply; a response from an elected official to his constituent.

I will be vigilant and remain on watch. I would hate to miss the Yeti of school board members. Hush, I hear him ... oops ... false alarm ... just the wind.

Check back, I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Open letter to Scott Galloway, Olentangy board president

Sent to all Delaware County Republican Party Central Committee members (those with party email addresses) in the cities of Powell and Columbus, plus the townships of Berlin, Liberty, and Orange.

Scott Galloway:

Under your direction, the Olentangy superintendent is claiming that, should the March levy fail, the state requires the district to make $10.5 million in cuts. That is an outright lie, yet the superintendent continues to make it.

The reality is this: The district's most recent Five-Year Financial Forecast -- filed in October -- shows a deficit of only $2 million for the next school year (FY09). Moreover, according to the forecast, salary and benefit increases will be costing the district over $7 million in FY09. So, it is obvious that the deficit is simply a salary and benefits issue, yet you claim that the district must make $10.5 million worth of cuts in current programs; an outright lie.

I will assume that as board president you are well versed in the specifics of the forecast, so you obviously understand the issue, and the lie.

Please explain why a Republican party official would be leading such a deception. Why are you deceiving taxpayers and threatening parents?

Jim Fedako
former member
Olentangy Board of Education

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Response to Sol Stern, et al

Response to a listserve that posted Sol Stern's latest education article in City Journal from The Manhattan Institute:


It's amazing how many people confound laissez-faire with I-don't-care.

Laissez faire refers to systems where government and its minions -- the self-described experts -- stay out of the way. It doesn't mean that the simpletons -- those like me -- will lay down in the fields and die.

In a free market, I-don't-care is actually a pretty safe attitude for most things. It relates to the division of labor ...

I don't care about circuits, data storage, etc., yet someone does. And they are the ones who push improvements of handheld media devices, etc. You don't have to be an expert in everything, or anything for that matter, for the free market to work. Someone else always picks up the slack.

I don't care a bit about motor oil, yet many, many people do. And, I benefit due to motor oils that improve year after year..

In addition, I don't have to concern myself with writing textbooks, supplements, etc., since hundreds of entrepreneurs are willing to do that for me.

However, I do care enough about my children to attempt to make the right decisions for them. Nevertheless, I can guarantee that some of those decisions stand opposite the so-called experts, but what are they really experts of?

Can they burn circuits, design new storage devices, improve motor oil, or, get this, write textbooks that I would even consider purchasing? Hmmm. Wouldn't that be the true test? Yet, the failure of their books to sell would be perceived as additional proof that the simpletons are idiots.

The experts need government. They need some entity -- the social apparatus of coercion and compulsion -- to force those like me to purchase their wares.

The experts -- Hoxby, Ravitch, Stern, Peterson, et al. -- get so upset when others do not pick the programs these experts deem to be best. So, these experts quickly jump to the conclusion that parents are idiots. I find that to be very insulting.

According to the experts, the parent who simply wants his child out of a dangerous school, regardless of the educational outcomes, is making an uninformed, irrational decision. Huh.

By the way, under the government solution, my local district is showing English Lit students Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth under the guise of persuasive writing -- I guess it is better than the R-rated movies they have been showing; movies with rape scenes, nudity, etc. Amazing.

Still, some folks believe this blob will change under pressure. I suspect that these folks have no experience in a government work-setting. The blob never changes, regardless of which political persuasion is sitting in the head office. On the other hand, the manager at McDonalds is only too glad to help.

Friday, January 25, 2008

A Convenient Truth: Indoctrination in Olentangy

I think we all can agree that the UK is liberal, if not socialist. But even in the UK, a London High Court judge ruled that schools can only show the Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth if they provide the opposing view. According to the judge, there are nine significant errors that place the film in the category of indoctrination, not education, unless the teacher guidance notes are changed to put the film into context.

Yet, in Olentangy, taxpayers are paying to English literature students watch the film without such guidance. Is it happenstance that the NEA supports Gore's nonsense, and then the film ends up being shown to district students.

Education or indoctrination. You be the judge, the London High Court already voiced its opinion.

Olentangy School District's Scott Davis spins a web of deceit

Oh! what a tangled web we weave
When first we practice to deceive!
Sir Walter Scott


Once again, the Davis lie is the headline of ThisWeek Olentangy.

The web of deceit being weaved by Scott Davis is entangling many. The claim that the district MUST cut $10.4 million in order to offset a $2 million deficit is quite a lie. It is strange enough to lie to the public, time and time again, yet to entangle others in your lies is even stranger. Davis is much more than a spinner or a trickster, he's a liar, plain and simple.

Oh, but the web! Keep in mind that those campaigning for the levy are now associated with Davis's lies. These folks are putting their reputations on the line as they speak to friends and neighbors. Their "trust me" is going to mean little after the truth is known. And, then? Well, the damage is down.

The Davis lies are spinning a web that will remain. It's obvious that he doesn't care about his personal reputation, and it's obvious that he doesn't care about the reputations others. Yet, they care, but are now trapped in Davis's lies; lies that on first glance look like silk, but are nothing more that true deceptions.

Davis is a true piece of work!

Delaware Area Career Center and Computers

A local newspaper article noted the recent technology purchases by the Delaware Area Career Center. The tone of the article was that these purchases were something great. Well, considering that DACC spends over $30,000 per student (not a misprint), the new technology purchases are just par for the course. Your tax dollars pay for this stuff, and they brag about it.

One can only wonder what Olentangy is purchasing. One can only wonder ...

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Economic stimulus in search of economic science

Will the proposed economic stimulus packages improve the economy? Will a few hundred dollars in my pocket solve anything?

If you adhere to the long-refuted mush of Keynes, you will answer yes. If, on the other hand, you subscribe to economic truth, you will answer no.

In order to improve the economy, the government needs to: reduce taxes, reduce spending, and get out of the money/credit creation business. Putting a few hundred dollars in every pocket is a game that's been played for centuries. The Roman emperors sought the same end -- placating the masses, though the Romans ran games and festivals instead of simply slipping a few hundred bucks into open hands.

Isn't it ironic that a politician cannot hand over money to voters, yet, during an election year, he can offer the very same bribe in the form of an economic stimulus package.

Economies grow when money is invested in capital goods. A few billion bucks chasing consumer goods that have already been produced leads to more inflation. Yet, come November, the voter will not see the inflation, he will only remember the cash.

If Bush and the rest are serious about stimulating the economy, they need to take the three actions specified above. Will they? Never.

OK, so who will? Ron Paul of course. His platform is based on solid economic science; a platform that will stimulate the economy in perpetuity.

Vote Ron Paul

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Sylvan Learning Centers

If Olentangy schools are so great, then why did Sylvan Learning Centers choose the district as a place to do business. Keep in mind that there are only 10 Sylvans in the central third of Ohio, an area that stretches from the Ohio River to Toledo.

Obviously the folks at Sylvan realize there are many parents so dissatisfied with their child's education that they are willing to spend additional dollars.

So, many parents -- as well as everyone else -- pay property taxes to the schools, fund the schools through the federal income tax and the whole basket of state taxes, and then turn around and pay Sylvan to get the job done.

Somethings wrong here.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Think Tanks and Idiot Parents

Thanks goes out to the folks at the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation as they have once again raced to the aid of parents. According to TBF, parents are nothing more than idiots when it comes to selecting educational programs (sounds eerily similar to the folks at the local public schools). The TBF article is here. My reply is below.
Editor:

In "How's your drink," Liam Julian misses the point completely. Consumers are not always looking for the best buy as defined by someone else's standards, even when recognized experts define those standards. If that were the case, consumers would only purchase products rated best buy by Consumer Reports.

Though most of us will accept CR as the recognized product-rating expert, consumers oftentimes purchase more than the product itself; they purchase (say) prestige. Julian forgets that colleges and employers value prestige. So, a parent who sends his child to a highly-ranked school -- where the educational product is not the best -- is making a rational decision.

The same holds for the consumer who serves the expensive wine, with bottle and label in full view of his guests, and the job applicant dressed in designer clothes: both made rational purchasing decisions. And, in context, both purchases are the respective best buys.

However, there is more. We do not purchase the CR designated best buy for all products, all the time. In fact, I rarely purchase any CR best buy. The reason is simple: my wants do not match those of the testers and reviewers at CR.

Does Julian want his product selection to be limited to that deemed best by CR? I doubt that Julian purchases his products based solely on the recommendation of CR, yet he readily stands as the CR of sorts when the discussion turns to education.

Does he really believe that he can discern the correct characteristics of a good education: the outcome and the cost? And, does he really believe that all parents must purchase his educational best buy?

I think Julian needs to rethink his position.
The folks in the know, whether at TBF or working at your local public school, really think that they are omniscient, and that you are an idiot.


Sunday, January 20, 2008

Central Planning: the shattering mirror

Due to government initiatives and regulations, corn demand is up and, hence, more land is being devoted to corn. Yet, the demand for corn and land is reducing another government intervention -- land conservation. One government program undoes another government program: the definition of chaos.

Take the new unconstitutional1 federal light bulb standard; incandescent is being phased out in favor of fluorescent. So, the feds reduce energy but introduce more mercury into landfills and the water supply. Clean Water Act anyone? Government at odds with itself.

Decades ago, FA Hayek showed that government, unless checked, necessarily becomes more intrusive and more oppressive, ending in serfdom. Ludwig von Mises showed that government planning necessarily leads to chaos. You can see those truths in the interventions above.

Never, never, did our Founders risk their lives for an intrusive central state that taxes an absurd amount of income, robbing the productive for the sake of the nonproductive. Never, never, did they conceive of a nation where the largest employers are governmental agencies.

Yet, here we stand, a nation where the federal government taxes wages for programs that are nonsensical, and at odds with each other. The examples above prove that central planning is an oxymoron; tax-funded chaos leading toward serfdom.

Everything is not lost. On the horizon is the movement of Liberty; a movement that has once again found a leader: Ron Paul.

Paul is the only candidate who will check government expansion. He is the only candidate who actually believes YOU are capable of running your life. That my friends is the essence of Liberty.


notes:

1. Nowhere in the Constitution is the federal government granted such powers. In fact, the 9th and 10th Amendments forbid the feds from such intrusions into the lives of the people and the several states. Other than Ron Paul, the Constitution is a dead letter in DC.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Olentangy levy: a couple of good questions

The following was posted as a comment to a previous post of mine -- Olentangy Levy: More nonsense.
Jim...while I don't support this levy, I am curious why:

1) the district wants to spend 14m for a 200 student expansion at OHS when capacity won't be an issue until 14-15 when they estimate a 4th HS will come on line.

2) How do they justify such expense for so little gain.

3) Why don't they use Shanahan as an elementary and middle and move the administrative palace to rental space elsewhere in the district. Those two line items would save an easy 25m. It is easier and cheaper to rent offices than to build new schools.
Very good points. My response:

1) Correct, the space created by this very expensive expansion is not needed for many years, if ever. In other words, it may never make sense to have spent money on this expansion, it all depends on the district actual build-out student population.

2) This expansion has been proposed for years, and for years the board would not approved it. The reason is exactly what you mentioned; the expense is outrageous. Why the change in position of the board? I figure that the March ballot issues are a wants list instead of a needs list. The operating fund can be balanced in FY09 with a change in salary increases and insurance costs. If the levy fails, then so what? Failure leaves the district in a much better bargaining position with its unions. No cuts are needed. I think that the district just floated these levies are trial balloons. Sure, the district would like success, but failure is not hardship at all.

3) True. There are a host of other options that were not -- to my knowledge -- discussed at any board meeting.

Thanks for the comments!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Olentangy Levy: More nonsense

From a recent district email:

Due to responsible fiscal management and higher than expected revenues, the district stretched the 2004 operating dollars to last one year beyond the board's three-year promise to voters. During that time, the district opened 5 new schools without asking voters for additional operating funds.

If the March 4 ballot issue does not pass, class sizes will increase and additional redistrictings (sic) may be required in order to alleviate the overcrowding.

Response to the first paragraph: I sat on the board during most of this period and can emphatically state that neither the board nor the administration managed its finances with this in mind. Circumstances -- housing market and state funding -- allowed the levy to last another year. In fact, many board members (including the former board president) and the superintendent wanted to go back on the ballot in 2006 and then again in 2007.

Response to the second paragraph: This is the big lie: According to state law, the district must cut $10.4 million in FY09 if the levy fails. A BIG LIE which I have detailed in prior posts. The district only needs to reduce expenditures by $2 million in order to balance its budget. That's it. The rest of the cuts are threats to punish parents if the levy fails. The superintendent is simply stating that he is unwilling to negotiate lower salary and benefit increases. He, instead, will cut programs. Salaries come before programs in his minds. Amazing? Maybe not, he did negotiate a real sweet deal for himself last summer.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Olentangy Schools: Big deal, what about my tax burden?

Glad you asked. The Ohio Department of Taxation reports the tax effort -- burden -- for each district in Ohio. Tax burden is defined as the amount of local school district taxes collected as a percentage of personal income. Despite spin to the contrary, Olentangy has a very high tax burden. It's all right here in Appendix D.

Spin heard along the way

Spin: Olentangy has a relatively low cost per pupil.

True? Not when you take into account all district funds.

An example: According to the latest data available from the state, Olentangy's bond millage is the 31st highest out of the 614 school districts in Ohio. 31st? Wow, that's expensive! And, it's bound to get more expensive should the levy pass.

It is correct that growing districts pass bond mills to pay for new schools, but they also use bonds to pay for things that other districts fund through their operating budget; items such as capital improvements and technology. And, districts with older building are more likely to incur such expense.

Olentangy has a relatively large demand for new buildings which is offset by a relatively low demand for capital improvements. It's just like a new house versus an older one. The new one has a large mortgage while the older house has high costs for upkeep; normal wear and tear (roofs, AC, etc.)

So, only including the general -- operating -- fund does not tell the true story; a story you recognize when your property tax bill is due.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

What Olentangy for Kids is not saying

1. Local property taxes have been rising at an annualized rate of over 7%.
Is this rate of increase -- double inflation -- due to something special about education in Olentangy? Yes. The average employee has been reaping yearly salary increases of over 6%, plus projected increases for health insurance of 12%; far, far above the private sector.
2. The levy on the ballot will increase operating millage by almost 30%.
That's a huge increase, isn't it? But, as I have previously written, the money is not for the kids, it's for salaries and benefits. The district is facing a $2 million deficit -- which can be covered by reduced salary increases and controlled insurance costs -- yet the superintendent plans to cut $10.4 million. Why such large cuts? To supposedly punish parents should the levy fail. All about the kids? Huh. It's all about the ego of the superintendent. Oh, and your hard-earned tax dollars.
3. The superintendent is lying about the need for $10.4 million in cuts.
Olentangy for Kids is supposed to be separate from the administration, yet they have appear to take marching orders from district officials. Though, in this instance, they recognized that the superintendent has been lying about the state requiring $10.4 million in cuts should the levy fail. This bald lie is unheard of in Olentangy history. Even OFK bought the superintendent's story until I posted the truth in an earlier piece. OFK quickly changed their web page, though they still are selling the rest of the superintendent's story. OFK used to be about truth. Times change.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Olentangy Schools: Levy and the State Standards Analysis Report

I am revisiting the series of posts I did on the Olentangy State Standard Analysis report as this report will be two years old around levy time.

Never heard of the report? That's because it was never discussed in public, nor shared with the board. Isn't that interesting? A report paid for by local tax dollars never discussed in public nor shared with board of education. Hmmm.

The Olentangy State Standard Analysis report identified well over $10 million in yearly savings, savings that could have been applied starting two years ago. But, for some reason - there are many reasons I can think of - the administration never wanted to discuss this report in public. I imagine that time flies when you're spending someone else's money.

This report should have served as the basis for understanding rising costs and now requisite property tax -- should the levy pass. But the report is obviously being kept from the sunshine of public debate. The reason? I guess you will have to ask your board members why they do not want the public to be given the opportunity to hear debate on this important report; a report funded by local tax dollars.

You'd think that before going to the voters for additional tax dollars, the board would have wanted to get a handle on costs ... you'd think anyway ...

note: click to read installments
one, two, three, four, five, six, and seven

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Is repealing the 20th century such a bad idea?

My latest post the Blog at Mises.org(Mises.org):











Income tax revolt is slowing making its way to the ballot in Massachusetts, and it's picking up a few enemies along the way. According to a letter in the Boston Globe: "So when Libertarian leader Carla Howell launched a new effort to junk the income tax earlier this year, the powers that be made it clear that this time they would do everything they could to discredit it."

An opponent of the prior attempt to repeal the tax (Howell tried to repeal the tax in 2002) is none other than Michael Widmer of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. As the letter notes, "(T)he Taxpayers Foundation is a business lobby that often opposes broad-based tax relief."

This quote from Widmer regarding the prior attempt clearly defines the issue: "Essentially (Howell's) trying to repeal the 20th century."

Repeal the 20th century? Hmm. So, what's the problem here?

note: Here in Ohio, the income tax is only 35 years old, while a number of states have no income tax at all.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Indoctrination: the gatekeepers

The issues that goes unmentioned with regard to the Olentangy Spanish activity on illegal immigration is this: The Spanish teacher -- and hence the administration -- are the gatekeepers; they decide who passes and who fails Spanish courses. These folks can dictate what students must do in order to pass a course.

If the teacher wants students to do activity X or believe position Y, she simply makes it a required element of her course. The student who wants to succeed in the course must perform activity X or state position Y, regardless of whether or not it is even remotely related to Spanish. And that's the key: The teacher and the administration engaged in indoctrination, not education.

This is no different than the professor who demands adherence to his political views in order to pass (say) his math class.

Well, there is one big difference: Everyone in the district -- and throughout the state and nation for that matter -- must pay for the political views of the Olentangy staff and administration, regardless of whether the Spanish teacher's politics match those of the taxpayer.

So, we pay for future generations to be indoctrinated by the politics of the NEA and associated minions. Heck, we even vote them raises for doing this. Yet, we still call it a public good.

Note: In Stockholm Syndrome fashion, students in these classes never question what is being "taught." Whether it's an immigration activity or perverse literature, the political views of the NEA are the political views of the next generation. Scary!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Olentangy Finances: Hiding money under the mattress?

The Olentengy School District claims that it is in dire need of another property tax levy. Things are bad, and the district is running on a shoestring. Yet ...

The
Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) is the audited document that details the financial position of the Olentangy School District. It's lengthy and a little esoteric for average readers, but it is a wealth of information.

The CAFR -- available on the district and state auditor websites -- is addressed to the board and community. In a representative form of government, the community gives the power and responsibility of governance to its elected officials. So, the board needs to read the CAFR and understand all of its nuances, yet I would bet that not a single sitting board member has ever taken the time to read this annual report. By not doing so, the board simply allows the administration to run the schools.

Also, the district is required by state law to create a
Five-Year Forecast every October, with an update every May. In addition, the district is supposed to update the forecast whenever a significant change occurs to its financial position.

The board approves the Five-Year Forecast and any subsequent updates, after which the forecast is sent to the state department of education (ODE). The latest version of the forecast is available on both the district and ODE websites.

A momentary diversion. The district earns investment income from surplus operating funds -- cash -- invested in a number of investment vehicles. The income from these investments is deposited back to the operating fund. The district also earns investment income from the cash received from the sale of bonds; cash that has not yet been used to pay construction costs. The income from these investments is initially deposited into the building funds.

School districts cannot use revenue generated from the sale of construction bonds for operating expenses, but districts can use the investment income resulting from these bonds for any purpose, subject to board approval.

OK, we have a CAFR and a Five-Year Forecast, as well as investment income from operating surpluses and bond sales.

The Five-Year Forecast is reporting an approximate $2 million shortage for FY 2009. This is the reason for the dire need for a March 2008 levy. However, the 2006 CAFR reports over $3 million in investment income resulting from construction bonds. They wash.

Keep in mind that additional investment income was generated in FY07, as well as being generated this fiscal year.

It is prudent for the district to hold onto some money as a contingency should something occur during construction. However, since the majority of construction will be completed by the start of FY09, the majority of the investment income will be freed from contingency planning and available to be moved to the operating fund.

The administration will certainly recognise this money once the levy passes. That's what they did when I served on the board. The investment income simply appears when the superintendent has a pet project to fund. This year will be the same.

So, the questions to be answered in just a few weeks are these: Why has the district refused to recognize its stash of bond investment income as operating funds in order to wipe away the FY09 negative balance on the October Five-Year Forecast? Why are the superintendent, board, and now Olentangy for Kids, pushing an issue that is not needed? Don't they respect the community anymore?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Olentangy for Kids, spinning along for the ride

It's interesting, the Olentangy for Kids committee used to be about facts and honest campaigning. Now it's just another cog in the district's spin machine.

Just two days ago the OFK site made this statement: Click on the above link for a full listing of the dramatic cuts the district would be forced to make in the event of an issue failure. (emphasis added)

Yesterday, after noting my previous post, they've changed it to this: Click on the above link for a full listing of the dramatic cuts the district plans to make in the event of an issue failure. (emphasis added)


Though, despite that change, they still include this subsequent sentence: The long list below represents only a portion of the losses the district would incur. (emphasis added)

If the committee wants to be forthright, it had better correct this statement so that it also rings true. The district incurs those losses only if the board backs Davis's plan to punish parents; punish them for demanding fiscal accountability by voting NO in March, when a levy is not needed.

So, the committee admits that the superintendent is lying, er, spinning a tall tale, yet the committee is still willing to go along for the ride. Haven't you figured him out by now? Regardless, spinning and obfuscating is not the honest way to campaign across the fence. Don't your friends and neighbors deserve more?

note: Here is the Thursday version from the OFK website, posted for your review.



The Payday Interest Rate Controversy

My latest post the Blog at Mises.org(Mises.org):











I never quite understood the Payday interest rate controversy until today when, like clockwork, I felt the first rumble of my daily, late-afternoon hunger pangs.

In Pavlovian fashon, I hastened over to the vending machine and began depositing change. Then it hit me: I was about to pay almost twice the price for a Payday bar now than I would have had to pay for a Payday bar in two hours. You see, the drugstore on my route home sells the whole suite of vendible goodies, and the drugstore charges a price much lower than the vending machine.

Since originary interest is merely a reflection of "the ever fluctuating ratio between values assigned to want satisfactions in the immediate future and those assigned to want satisfactions in the more distant future," I willingly accept an apparently onerous rate of interest in order to satisfy a passing desire for sugar. Or, I should say that I am forced to accept an onerous interest rate by a vending business that takes full advantage of my current desire. And, amazingly, government and its minions allow this to happen.

Where is my do-gooder advocate? Where is my politician stumping to end unfair Payday interest? Can't these folks remove the vending machines and end this interest rate nonsense?

Yes, that's the solution: legislate in order to stop the voluntary exchange, as if legislation and the strong arm of government can change time preference with the stroke of a pen. Huh!

Monday, January 07, 2008

We are all Prussians now

This excellent article was recently published at LewRockwell.com. A very informative read. -- Jim



We are All Prussians Now
by Charles Featherstone



On September 12, 2001, while the site of the once-upon-a-World Trade Center was still smoldering, French journalist Jean-Marie Columbani wrote the famous words "we are all Americans now." The attacks on the United States of the previous day had prompted one of "the gravest moments of our own history," and would completely changed the world:

[H]ow can we not feel profound solidarity with those people, [Columbani wrote] that country, the United States, to whom we are so close and to whom we owe our freedom, and therefore our solidarity? How can we not be struck at the same time by this observation: The new century has come a long way.

And it has come quite a bit farther since Columbani’s column was published that Wednesday morning in September. He predicted the marshaling of U.S. anger and military power, but failed to see how poorly that power would be guided and utilized. He predicted that Russia would become Washington’s greatest ally in this war, and that certainly has not happened. In focusing on the madness he believed present in the Arab and Islamic worlds, he was blind to the madness present among all "us" Americans.

It was a nice sentiment, I suppose, this "we are all Americans now." But it wasn’t true then, and it isn’t true now.

An even greater gulf separates the United States of 2008 with the Prussia of the early 1860s – one that makes comparison difficult – but in reading historian Koppel Pinson’s Modern Germany: It’s History and Civilization, I think there is an intriguing parallel between Prussia and the rise to power of Otto von Bismarck and the United States of not just today, but the last few decades. One that is worth paying attention to.

Division of Labor

Thanks to fellow bloggers RonMcK at Blessed Economist and Steve Scott at From the Pew for doing the heavy lifting on Christian issues, especially their research on biblical insights into economics.

These two bloggers make it tough to write on Christian topics as they grab hold of their subjects with vigor and polish. Excellent writing. Check them out when you get the chance, you'll learn something and really enjoy yourself.

Note: In addition, Blessed Economist has an excellent blogroll that links to many other interesting and informative sites. One site of note is KingdomWatcher's series on Christian Economics.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

The Tenth and Servitude

In 1 Samuel, the Bible records the warning of God as spoken through Samuel: And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants. (8:15) He will take the tenth of your flocks: and ye shall be his servants. (8:17)

God was warning Israel about the evils of a king, yet the Israelites persisted. In the end, God allowed them a king, along with the king's requisite taxes -- servitude. Centuries later, the American patriots demanded an end to the king's tax and revolted.

In his book, For Good and Evil: The Impact of Taxes on the Course of History, Charles Adams writes that the tenth is historically considered to be the most a population will grant its rulers for any extended period of time. Anything greater sparks rebellion. However, we currently allow multiples of the tenth to be taken by the DC kings and their state and local minions.

Don't you think its time to rethink our current situation in light of the Bible and the founding ideals of this nation? Don't you think its time to revolt once more?

I believe that it's time, as do many others. The Ron Paul movement is just beginning to gain steam. Add to it the income tax revolt in Massachusetts and the likely one here in Ohio, and we appear to be saying "enough is enough!"

As noted by Adams, prosperity only occurs when a nation reduces taxes and allows free trade. Taxation destroys both the economy and the nation. It's a simply truth, yet, like the Israelites, we have been turning our backs on it. Time to change.

Vote Ron Paul.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Olentangy for Kids, spinning along for the ride

It's interesting, the Olentangy for Kids committee used to be about facts and honest campaigning. Now it's just another cog in the district's spin machine.

Just two days ago the OFK site made this statement: Click on the above link for a full listing of the dramatic cuts the district would be forced to make in the event of an issue failure. (emphasis added)

Yesterday, after noting my previous post, they've changed it to this: Click on the above link for a full listing of the dramatic cuts the district plans to make in the event of an issue failure. (emphasis added)


Though, despite that change, they still include this subsequent sentence: The long list below represents only a portion of the losses the district would incur. (emphasis added)

If the committee wants to be forthright, it had better correct this statement so that it also rings true. The district incurs those losses only if the board backs Davis's plan to punish parents; punish them for demanding fiscal accountability by voting NO in March, when a levy is not needed.

So, the committee admits that the superintendent is lying, er, spinning a tall tale, yet the committee is still willing to go along for the ride. Haven't you figured him out by now? Regardless, spinning and obfuscating is not the honest way to campaign across the fence. Don't your friends and neighbors deserve more?

note: Here is the Thursday version from the OFK website, posted for your review.



Friday, January 04, 2008

Spin Machine or Liars Club

Once again, ThisWeek Olentangy has Olentangy superintendent Scott Davis stating that the district must make $10.4 million in cuts if the March 2008 levy fails.

According to Davis, state law requires the district to cut $10.4 million in order to balance its FY09 budget. So, he is stating that $10.4 million must be cut in order to offset the $2 million deficit recently reported by the district to the Ohio Department of Education.

Did you get that big lie? The district must cut $10.4 million in order to offset a $2 million deficit.

ODE and state law only require a balanced budget, yet Davis states that the district must make $10.4 million in cuts if the voters do not approve his March levy. Amazing!

The sad part is that Davis is now dragging those associated with Olentangy for Kids into his unethical strategy -- keep in mind that making false campaign claims is not just unethical: it's illegal.1

Davis, Have you no shame?

On top of this, the district has millions of investment income squirrelled away in its bond fund. This money will easily offset the deficit. And, this money will miraculously appear once the issue passes. Folks, I've served on the board and that is how the administration plays its game.

note:

1. I would know since I am the only one to have fought and won an election law violation in district history. I know how the process works, what's required, etc. It's actually easy, and fun.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

The Ron Paul Blog Bomb

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Hayek and The Pretence of Knowledge

This important speech was given by FA Hayek at his reception for winning the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science. Neoclassical economics is nothing more than aimless wanderings. -- Jim


The Pretence of Knowledge
FA Hayek
1974

The particular occasion of this lecture, combined with the chief practical problem which economists have to face today, have made the choice of its topic almost inevitable. On the one hand the still recent establishment of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science marks a significant step in the process by which, in the opinion of the general public, economics has been conceded some of the dignity and prestige of the physical sciences. On the other hand, the economists are at this moment called upon to say how to extricate the free world from the serious threat of accelerating inflation which, it must be admitted, has been brought about by policies which the majority of economists recommended and even urged governments to pursue. We have indeed at the moment little cause for pride: as a profession we have made a mess of things.

It seems to me that this failure of the economists to guide policy more successfully is closely connected with their propensity to imitate as closely as possible the procedures of the brilliantly successful physical sciences - an attempt which in our field may lead to outright error. It is an approach which has come to be described as the "scientistic" attitude - an attitude which, as I defined it some thirty years ago, "is decidedly unscientific in the true sense of the word, since it involves a mechanical and uncritical application of habits of thought to fields different from those in which they have been formed."1 I want today to begin by explaining how some of the gravest errors of recent economic policy are a direct consequence of this scientistic error.

The theory which has been guiding monetary and financial policy during the last thirty years, and which I contend is largely the product of such a mistaken conception of the proper scientific procedure, consists in the assertion that there exists a simple positive correlation between total employment and the size of the aggregate demand for goods and services; it leads to the belief that we can permanently assure full employment by maintaining total money expenditure at an appropriate level. Among the various theories advanced to account for extensive unemployment, this is probably the only one in support of which strong quantitative evidence can be adduced. I nevertheless regard it as fundamentally false, and to act upon it, as we now experience, as very harmful.

continue reading ...

From Nobel Lectures, Economics 1969-1980, Editor Assar Lindbeck, World Scientific Publishing Co., Singapore, 1992



Copyright © The Nobel Foundation 1974

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Ohio Education Association spins a tale

Dear Editor:

Talk about spin. Patricia Frost-Brooks, president, Ohio Education Association, dares to question charter school operators for seeking a voice at the statehouse (Charter schools need more than money). Other than threaten strikes locally, what else does OEA do besides seek influence in Columbus and DC (consider recent legislation to increase local tax support for the teacher retirement system)?

How about a detente where OEA quits lobbying for laws that remove choice so that charter school operators can stop lobbying for the ability to provide choice?

Jim Fedako