Monday, June 29, 2009

Great Place for Summer Fun

Where's a great place for summer fun? Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park Camp and Resort in Mill Run, Pa.

Nestled in the Mill Run valley, between the Chestnut and Laurel ridges of Southwestern Pennsylvania, this park is a great place to spend time with the family.


Besides the campground, there are the outdoor activities down in Ohiopyle, including a waterfall and natural water slide.

Of course, there are the mountains to ride.

A beautiful area, indeed.

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Delaware County Political Reporter

For a couple of years now, the Delaware County Political Reporter has been going after Republican officeholders and wannabes. The Reporter has been all over any comment, action, or decision that had even a slight odor.

As an example: Not too long ago, the Reporter caught Hanks making some strange campaign contributions (see below). But, now ...

The Reporter is on the side of the two of the commissioners and ST eGe -- Delaware, LLC. This in spite of the very questionable vote taken by Tweedledee and Tweedledum.


How did the Reporter gain such an affinity for Tweedledee (Hanks) over such a short time? Could the Reporter have some connection to the stink in Delaware? I wonder.



From the Delaware County Political Reporter:

Todd Hanks, in support of his “buddy” Jordan, funded Jordan’s plan against longtime members of Central Committee by using $6,000.00 he pirated out of his auditor campaign fund that he converted to his “Todd Hanks for Central Committee” fund. No campaign reporting is required for central committee races – Hanks found a new way to steal! We acknowledge that Hanks won his Central Committee race; however, he never had a challenger. Hanks won’t be on the ballot again until 2010, but has received Party funds in the past and continually has fund raisers for himself while endorsed candidates are trying to beat Democrats (and who need the limited money available from contributors today). Hanks is the leading contender to claim Jordan’s office – if he wins. (see the tax trouble situation in "Brenner.")

Thursday, June 25, 2009

What a deal for Delaware County

Consider this: I conceive of a new way to seal asphalt. I apply for, and receive, a patent for my idea. I then contact my local county commissioners, with patent and return-on-investment model in hand, and ask for $3.1 million so that I can test to see if my concept works. Interesting.

I expect the county to bet tax dollars on some concept I dreamed up. Does that even make sense?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Jim Camp gives the two most important minutes of his life

Camp (of ST eGe -- Delaware, LLC) loves his grandchildren so much that he is willing to accept a $3.1 million contract. That's real love. The man has a big heart ... And, with the love of Hanks and Thompson, a big wallet.

With Jim, anything is possible!


note: the Camp-y presentation begins around 8:15. Count the use of "possibly" in his presentation.

Monday, June 22, 2009

$100 million per year over 100 years

$100 million per year for 100 years. Amazing.

Then there are the 3,000 jobs generated by a facility. 3,000?

Hey, they have the model. Does anyone believe them?

Todd Hank and Tommy Thompson: Real class acts

Hanks and Thompson are so proud of the contract they approved that they wanted to just slip it past the public. You see, those two are real class acts. They do not need accolades for their hard work. Nope. They would rather just pass those $3.1 million contracts without discussion.

O'Brien, on the other hand, asks too many questions. Doesn't he realize that commissioners are not supposed to bring attention to such expenditures? Commissioners are just supposed to negotiate out of slight and then approve the contract unnoticed. It's all about friends and allies.

Hanks may think his cat and mouse act is cute during the meetings, but it is so obvious from the video that he is no Bill Clinton. Hanks is hiding something. Something big.

Thompson plays the good old boy -- the country boy politician. But old Tommy's a real snake in the county. Watch his nonsense when he replies to direct questions and you will see a true backroom deal maker.

Seems like the real excrementitous discharge occupies the two seats to O'Brien' s right.

O'Brien, Make sure you wash your hands after every meeting. You never know what you may have touched.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Hanks and Thompson: Thumbing their noses at the Ohio Constitution

What are Hanks and Thompson up to? What is so secretive that it cannot withstand a little sunshine? Could it be an illegal investment scheme? But how do Tweedledee and Tweedledum benefit. Hmmm. I wonder.

note: If you want a copy of the contract, post your email (I won't publish it) and I'll send the contract to you.

From the Ohio Constitution

8.06 - Counties, cities, towns, or townships, not authorized to become stockholders, etc.; insurance, etc

Counties, cities, towns, or townships, not authorized to become stockholders, etc.; insurance, etc. http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/constitution.cfm?Part=8&Section=06

No laws shall be passed authorizing any county, city, town or township, by vote of its citizens, or otherwise, to become a stockholder in any joint stock company, corporation, or association whatever; or to raise money for, or to loan its credit to, or in aid of, any such company, corporation, or association: provided, that nothing in this section shall prevent the insuring
of public buildings or property in mutual insurance associations or companies. Laws may be passed providing for the ...

Friday, June 19, 2009

Todd Hanks and Tommy Thompson: They seem a little nervous in the sunshine

Check out the link to see something odd at the county commissioners meeting. The majority of the commissioners try to sneak through a $3 million contract. Who will receive the contract? A company that doesn't even exist today.

Todd and Tommy, What's going on here? Who's pulling your strings?

Your Republican Party in action.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Nation of Ratfinks

Sometimes "they" are your neighbors. -- Jim

The following article was published by The Ludwig von Mises Institute in the not too distant past.



A Nation of Ratfinks
by Jim Fedako

Ludwig von Mises: "A free man must be able to endure it when his fellow men act and live otherwise than he considers proper. He must free himself from the habit, just as soon as something does not please him, of calling for the police."



Totalitarianism used to be the product of the Hitlers and Stalins of the world, but your neighbors are beginning to grasp the power of a centralized government that exists exclusively to metastasize its evils throughout every human endeavor — a government that never sleeps and is always ready to put its nose into anyone's business. Just give the feds a call, they're ready and willing to assist with any effort that increases their power and influence. 24/7.

Are your children whining over carrots in their school lunch bag? Are you tired of hearing that Mr. and Mrs. So-And-So down the street let their children eat Ho-Hos and Ding-Dongs for lunch? Does the local school cafeteria serve chocolate chip cookies to anyone with 50 cents to spare?

If the answer is yes, what do you do? Do you take control of your own family and lay down the laws of the household? Or do you blame this whole situation on those of the ilk of your neighbors, the So-And-Sos?

Taking control may cause some hard feelings for a few days, maybe even a week or two, but blaming the So-And-Sos gets you off the hook right away. See, if only the So-And-Sos joined you in your health crusade, your children would be forced to join; you know peer pressure and all of that. You hit the first bump in your road toward the Progressive Utopia when you realize that the So-And-Sos living down the street are not really that friendly with you and are unwilling to follow your marching orders. Ok, next option.

How about your best friend? He agrees that Ho-Hos are the devil's fruit but he's not certain about the Ding-Dongs; they do taste good with a tall glass of cold milk.

Your crusade just isn't working and your kids are still crying about their friend Johnny's lunch snacks.

How about petitioning the local school board? Ask them to ban all unhealthy foods — at least those foods that you deem unhealthy. What is to be considered unhealthy is simply those foods that you don't want your children to eat.

Alright, the list of foods has been defined, but how to get the school board to agree. Go to a meeting and call them all uncaring hypocrites. How can they sleep at night after claiming that they want the best for children all the while knowing that little Johnny crinkles the snack wrapper at lunch — in the school's cafeteria nonetheless?

Those crusty yahoos on the school board don't even smile as you speak, they've got their own agenda to push. Those who struggle with their own parenting somehow become omniscient once elected to a school board or hired as an administrator. Sure they pray that their own efforts will result in happy, health offspring, but they will not let that stop them from becoming the uber-parent of all who attend the local schools. Omniscient and
omnipotent? Certainly. Free and compulsory? Absolutely. Interested in this specific agenda issue? Sorry, no.

A brick wall. Your crusade has stopped. Well, for a minute or two anyway. Then the idea hits; call your state representative. Put the pressure on him. Tell him that you are a strong party member who wants the best for all children. Doesn't he realize that a health crisis exists? Children are dying. Yes, dying. Not just those eating the snacks but also those experiencing the secondhand affects of snack attack. They are bound to suffer a lifetime of pre-snack-desire syndrome.

Your representative listens politely on the phone but really doesn't sound interested in tilting at this windmill. Come on now, there are more pressing concerns that can be used to further the interventionist agenda. This just isn't one of them.

So you are an unsatisfied constituent. Not to fear, you do have a congressman who delights in media coverage. He smells front page because the local paper likes to write about any Don Quixote who tilts for the masses. You've got the hook, time to land the fish. He'll gladly support your efforts because children are dying; it's all right there in the latest research by the Americans Against Unhealthy Foods Institute.

The congressman takes up the banner and enlists a eager bureaucrat in the Department of Health and Human Services to help craft the bill. This bureaucrat wants to make a name for himself. Sure he sneaks the odd Hostess cake at the gas station, but a statist career awaits him.

It is election time and enough House members are looking for the headline and public poll spike, and children are always a winner. Before you can find you way through the cellophane wrapper of a Twinkie, your bill is signed into law and now no one can serve their children snacks deemed unhealthy by a coalition of farmers, health food store owners, bureaucrats, and sundry statist do-gooders.

No longer can the school birthday party include cupcakes with icing. A vegetable tray with low fat dressing has to be served beneath the poster of Mr. Carrot and Ms. Broccoli stomping the Rat Snack.

Sounds unbelievable? Well it's real, and it is fast becoming the American Way.
I've seen a parent who was shocked that the average student in the local schools eats 10 candy bars at lunch during the school year. Can you believe that? Ten candy bars a year. Certainly she is correct in calling this a travesty and a crisis; the papers agreed with her. She soon caught the ear of state officials, for a while anyway. A bill was kicked around but the enthusiasm quickly waned. Bills like this never really go away though, they all return in a modified form when the timing is better.

The woman's crusade did not catch the current fancy of local and state officials but she is lucky enough to have a congressman who saw fit to work with FEMA so that three homes in Columbus, Ohio could be declared a disaster area due to minor land subsidence.
[1] I fully expect her to be heard in Washington and the big paws of central government will find their way into all school lunch bags and boxes.

That neighborhood crank that we all try to avoid will most likely be testifying before a House committee about the health crisis she perceives to be affecting her neighborhood and the nation. You pay her no mind, at least until she receives a pen from the President at the signing of the Unhealthy Snack Food Act, to be known as Our Children Come First Initiative. Yesterday's crank is now your Gulag commandant.

Consider your options. Don't want to eat at a restaurant that allows smoking? You can either tell the owner that you are leaving because the smoke offends you, or you can work to force an outright ban on smoking. Approaching the owner is uncomfortable, but calling the local office of your congressman is easy. In fact, it will be a positive experience. Trust me, the elected ears want to hear your complaints. The constituent services worker in any congressional office loves these ideas. She'll listen attentively and be willing to work with you. Isn't it all about children, health, etc? No, it's all about
interventionism and coercive power. But in this instance coercion is on your side.

Will your idea withstand judicial review? Certainly. The courts have already declared private property that exists for commercial purposes to be places of public convenience. The judges will have no problem accepting a law that bans smoking in all restaurants and bars. Nor will they consider a ban of Snickers in the lunch bag a violation of personal property rights.

You'll also be on the side of externalities and econometrics. Studies will appear that banning snacks in the school lunch bag will result in an annual x% increase in the local and national economies.

Don't believe them? Prove them wrong, or at least try to prove them wrong. You will find that their arguments morph as fast as those from a cornered Keynesian. Every time you think they're pinned, a new argument will wrestle itself free. No matter that each new argument refutes a prior one.
Polylogism is the name of the game and logic for some ebbs and flows like tides in the Bay of Fundy.

The
National Bureau of Economic Research will host conflicting correlative studies that not only contradict each other but stand outside of a priori logic. With conflict and contradiction comes a new government panel or commission, or both. Something has to give, and that something is your liberty.

I have to admit that prior to reading
Critique of Interventionism, my first book by Ludwig von Mises, I was apt to vacillate with the argument of the times. Fighting against the statists and their supposed concerns for children and the general heath and welfare are tough without strong backing. After reading that book, along with Human Action, Bureaucracy, and the Rothbard classic, Man, Economy and State, I gained the knowledge to see through the statist haze.

Unlike most schools of economics and philosophy, the Austrian School has stayed true to its beliefs. Mises, a cultured gentleman, did not advocate that all be forced to live as he lived his life. No, he believed that private property was the essence of liberty. He's right!

Now back to my Ding-Dongs and hot chocolate.

Notes:

[1] "Home on North Side Sinking into Ancient Bog: City agrees to spend $570,000 to buy, demolish houses that are in danger," Columbus Dispatch, June 20, 2005

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Mencken, again!

"The aim of public education ... to put down dissent and originality."
"That erroneous assumption is to the effect that the aim of public education is to fill the young of the species with knowledge and awaken their intelligence, and so make them fit to discharge the duties of citizenship in an enlightened and independent manner. Nothing could be further from the truth. The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all, it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States, whatever the pretensions of politicians, pedagogues and other such mountebanks, and that is its aim everywhere else." -- H. L. Mencken
Courtesy of my friends over at Freedom Watch

FFF Again

From recent editions of the Email Update from the Future of Freedom Foundation:

Monday, June 15, 2009
But it happens that, at the same period and amongst the same nations in which men conceive a natural contempt for the rights of private persons, the rights of society at large are naturally extended and consolidated: in other words, men become less attached to private rights just when it is most necessary to retain and defend what little remains of them.

— Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America [1835]

Monday, June 15, 2009

They were for certain liberties, then they came into power.

The left was livid as Bush and Cheney trampled over civil liberties. Then they took power.

Amazingly, Obama is about to trump Bush. And no one complains. No one can complain.

Since the issue is ostensively national security, the conservatives can say nothing. And they won't.

Welcome to 1984, twenty-five years late.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Is Democracy for the Demos?

A recent article of mine over on the Blog at Mises.org:








Is Democracy for the Demos?

Jim Fedako





Who benefits from democracy? To believe the standard reply, the masses — the demos — benefit from majority rule. I no longer accept that notion.

I recently finished Étienne de La Boétie's The Politics of Obedience: The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude. The book is powerful, indeed. The essence of his argument is that the tyrant rules by the will of the people, as no other means exists for one man to control the fates of millions.
While the whole book is challenging and thought provoking — a truly wonderful read — it was a small section of Part III that pulled me in and launched me on a tangent.

La Boétie notes that the tyrant and his chiefs rarely live out their natural ends. No, they tend to die at the hands of those closest to them. What accounts for this state of affairs? It is the fear that one's supposed allies are real threats — they likely are. And it is this fear that drives the power-seeking toward nighttime adventures and assassinations.

Since power is ever and always intoxicating, is the order of government the issue? While it is true that, as power increases and becomes more centralized, the dagger becomes the likely means to transition from oppressor to oppressor, does it necessarily follow that democracy is a better arrangement?

Democracy has allowed for peaceful transitions from one ruling elite to another (or, between different factions of the same elite). It is likely the most suitable arrangement to transfer power without bloodshed. But what is the benefit of democracy to me, the common man? Is it to celebrate those rare occasions when the majority views the world as I do? For even a tyrant will occasionally rule in my favor.

Democracy is no benefit to those enfranchised. A man may cherish democracy during his time in the majority and worship it when his views are no longer in the majority. But is this freedom? Is liberty nothing more than accepting the majority at all times, under all costs?

Liberty requires the ability to use one's body and property in any manner, as long as those actions do not collide with the liberty of others. And when collisions occur, a judge or arbitrator decides each case based on property rights, and property rights only.

In a democracy, liberty is simply the right to cast a vote for or against an issue or candidate, and then to accept the decision of the majority under threat of the apparatus of coercion and compulsion. Here, in essence, the political die is cast, with the singular vote having no effect. The voter must abide by an outcome even though he disagrees, and will likely lose property and property rights in the end. This arrangement is no different from one where the voter casts a symbolic vote, a vote that remains uncounted, with the outcome predetermined by the whims of the tyrant.

In either situation, the voter must accept the will of someone else. The right to vote, and the right to have that vote counted, changes nothing.

It would appear that democracy benefits the rulers, as democracy alone has provided the most consistent means for those formerly in power to sleep and die in peace.

And the same holds for the courtiers, nomenklatura, and apparatchiks. These sycophants need no longer dread midnight's knife and muffled cries, and the subsequent crowning of a new king. The elite and bureaucracy can retire to their farms and while away their passing years without fear — their riches and posterity intact.

As I see it now, democracy is not to the advantage of the demos, it is to the advantage of the power elite. Something to think about.




Saturday, June 13, 2009

Gaming the System

Olentangy once again trumpets its ranking on the Newsweek list of top schools. Let's take a look at the method used to generate the list.

The index is obtained by dividing "the number of Advanced Placement, Intl. Baccalaureate and/or Cambridge tests taken by all students at a school in 2008 divided by the number of graduating seniors." OK. So where's the spin?

In Olentangy, students must pay the $90 test fee when registering for AP classes. Why? The district makes students pay the fee since it wants them to take the test, regardless the result. So, even if a student is expecting a low score, there is a lot of pressure to take the test anyway.

Someone needs to tell the Ohio Board of Regents that simply taking an AP test equals college preparedness. For some reason, OBR believes that Olentangy has a high college remediation rate. Go figure.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Favorite Sites

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 in the study of 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.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Doing It Again: yes they are

A reader noted this article from The Columbus Dispatch.

There is something wrong with democracy when it pits those who pay taxes against those who consume those very same taxes. And there is something very wrong when the political class fuels this class war.

No matter the justification, this view of democracy is simply the supposedly morally-justified method to rob your neighbor. But theft is always theft.


City income-tax backers woo retirees
Wednesday, June 10, 2009 3:08 AM
By
Robert Vitale
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

Roberta Johnson says it seems as if the emergency-medical squads reach her Near East Side senior-housing complex within seconds of a call for help.

And an increased police presence around Mount Vernon Plaza makes her neighbors feel safe enough to sit outside again on warm summer nights, she adds.

Johnson, who is 67, thinks older residents place a high value on Columbus city services that officials warn are in danger unless voters approve an income-tax increase Aug. 4.

Yesterday, she helped deliver a message that tax backers hope will win over the high-turnout bloc of voters: Higher taxes won't take a cent out of their pensions or Social Security checks.

Johnson and other supporters of the special-election ballot measure formally kicked off their campaign yesterday outside a Franklinton fire station. Citizens for Strong Neighborhoods and Good Jobs includes neighborhood leaders, labor unions and elected officials.

In addition to making the case for protecting police and fire protection, the supporters emphasized who would -- and wouldn't -- feel the pinch from a tax increase that would cost people an additional $50 for every $10,000 earned. The measure would increase the income-tax rate from 2 percent to 2.5 percent.

"Those who can afford it will pay the most," Johnson said. "Those who are poor will pay the least. For those of us living on pensions, we won't pay anything at all."
Retirees are among a number of groups exempt from Columbus' income tax. Pensions and Social Security aren't subject to the tax, nor are military pay, disability payments and income earned by children.

"They're trying to peel away groups of people," said Heidi Samuel, an East Side resident who started an anti-tax group called Not Right Now. "I don't think for one minute seniors are going to overlook the burden it puts on their neighbors," Samuel said.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Olentangy School Districts: The Sophists

Dear Editor:

Some 150 years ago, the economist Frédéric Bastiat wrote about the economic sophisms of his day -- a sophism being an argument deliberately formulated to deceive. What Bastiat noted is as true today at it was in his day: Politicians and government officials use sophisms to make claims that, while appearing true, are actually false.

The Olentangy School District has recently added to the list of sophisms. As reported in ThisWeek Olentangy, the district's web site states, "One of the main reasons for revamping the school funding system was to take some of the burden off of the local taxpayer."

That implies there exists some taxpayer who is not local. Can that be so?

All state and local taxes are ultimately paid by the local taxpayer. Shifting the burden from the local taxpayer to the state simply shifts the burden back to the local taxpayer in the form of state sales and income taxes.

While the district sounds like it is running to the taxpayer's defense, it is not. The effort to revamp the school funding system is simply an effort to push the tax burden back to the community under a different label. Nevertheless, a tax is always a tax.

This is true: The district holds the ability to lower the tax burden of its residence. It can reduce its expenditures and reduce its operating millage. All it takes is a vote of the board.

While that action is unlikely, it is likely that the district will continue using sophisms to prepare voters for the next levy. And a levy is coming. They always do.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

The NEA is real tough on its own union

Can you believe the list of draconian rules that NEA's staff union was forced to accept? Such as being fired for habitual drunkenness that affects performance. The NEA certainly runs a tight ship at its own offices. It's no wonder they do such a wonderful job at local government schools.

From the Education Intellegence Agency

4) Contract Hits. Wherein we highlight a contract provision from the current agreement between the National Education Association and its largest staff union. This is Article 17, Section 4, subsection (a):

(a) Progressive discipline shall not be required with regard to the following, which shall constitute just cause for immediate discharge:

i) habitually being under the influence of alcoholic beverages or drugs during working hours to the extent that the employee is unable to perform adequately his/her assigned functions;

ii) theft;

iii) willful falsification of official documents;

iv) gross insubordination, except where compliance would jeopardize the employee's health or safety;

v) unprovoked assault on or threats to an NEA representative or another employee during working hours;

vi) deliberate destruction of the property of NEA or of another employee;

vii) failure to comply with the provisions of Article 27 of this Agreement;

viii) sale or distribution of a controlled substance on the premises of NEA;

ix) deliberate destruction or misappropriation of electronic data or other proprietary information belonging to NEA;

x) deliberate misrepresentation of one's position at NEA for personal benefit or for the purpose of providing false information for the benefit of another; or

xi) aggravated sexual harassment."

Mencken Indicts Both Parties

It's true of both parties.
“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace in a continual state of alarm (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing them with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them
imaginary."

- H. L. Mencken
Courtesy of my friends over at Freedom Watch

The Equity Project

A recent post of mine over on the Blog at Mises.org:









The Equity Project

Jim Fedako



The Equity Project is a new public charter school that has adopted a unique pay scale - the school will pay all teachers a base salary of $125,000 per year. On top of that, teachers can earn up to a $25,000 bonus their first year, plus they qualify for a comprehensive benefits package. In return, teachers agree to take on more hours, certain administrative responsibilities, and classes of 30 students.

While TEP is an interesting experiment, the results will be wanting of any real meaning.

First off, since state and federal dollars fund the school, it is free to the families of the students. Application to the school does not reflect the preferences of parents ranked against alternate choices. The only knowledge one can ascertained is that parents applying to this school desire it more than they desire their local, failing public school.

Then there is the question of performance. Without a profit line, how will we know if the school is successful? Government and the media will judge the school's performance based solely on student scores on government-mandated tests -- not on dollar votes cast by parents.

Finally, there is the use of scarce resources. The school hired a phys-ed teacher who was once the personal trainer of Kobe Bryant (not knowing any more information, I assume the teacher was a trainer in high demand). Other teachers have similar pedigrees (again, I cannot speak to the market value of these folks). For the sake of argument, and accepting the premise that the school only hires the best that $125,000 can buy, I will assume that all of the teachers are highly qualified and in-demand.

Bryant makes like a bazillion dollars because of his skill and fitness on the basketball court. Basketball - like all professional sports - is a sport where the differences (in absolute terms) between the most valuable player and a bench warmer are miniscule. Especially when viewed against the spectrum of everyone who plays basketball. Therefore, anyone who has the knowledge to increase Bryant's performance by (say) even 1% is worth real money.

Who would bid against the market for such a personal trainer, only to have him work in a fifth-grade gym class? If this was a private school, then the answer is someone who wants to satisfy the preferences of certain parents. As this is a government-funded school, the answer is someone who adheres to the Trotskyite belief in the new soviet man.

Putting someone so qualified in a gym class in not an efficient use of scarce resources - it is similar to suggesting that Mises should have spent his years teaching fifth grade social studies instead of writing Human Action, etc.

In the end, since this school is not subject to the market, we will learn nothing from this latest grand experiment in government schools.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Keeping a Handle on the Truth

Paul over at SaveHilliardSchools posted this comment:
As I've written before, I'm not against unions in principle. There's no question that unions played a big part in getting worker safety addressed.

But the post WWII boom is over, and we need to recalibrate to a global market. Teachers and cops and firefighters may not think they're competing globally for jobs, but those of us our here in the private sector - the folks who pay the salaries of those unionized public employee - certainly feel that competition.

Things have to change.
This is an issue of epistemology that has troubled humanity for ages. Are truths immutable? Or can truths change.

The followers of Karl Marx and the adherents of the teaching of the
German Historical School do not believe in immutable truths. For the Marxian, truth is subject to material dialectics. For the historicist, truth depends on time and place.

In the Austrian school of economics thought, truths are immutable -- unchanging and ever-present. The Austrians are unique in their belief that truths are logically deducted from axioms that are themselves true and unchanging.

Paul's comment shows an acceptance of historicism -- he believe that truths about unions changes with time and circumstance. Paul appears to admit that unions have no place in modern society while, at the same time, he claims that unions served an essential purpose in our no-too-district past.

I will assume that Paul has confined himself to pro-union history texts. Otherwise, he would recognize that unions exist for one reason: To better the position of union members over all others, including members of all other unions.

More importantly, Paul should recognize that a truth is a truth, today as much as yesterday.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Seeing Two Different Worlds: and only one reality


Some folks see the world through eyes clouded by the warmth of government employment. Below is a standard reply to my previous post:
In general, I would say most teachers agree with that sentiment. I know few teachers who complain about pay. They chose the work they do and they know that just because a kid fresh from an MBA program can pull down a six-figure salary in his/her 20's while most teachers work 30 years and often don't reach that figure with the same amount of education, they are okay with it. It comes with the territory. I know a lot of teachers who just wish the state would fix the funding system so they wouldn't have to rely on taxes (teachers pay them, too).

When they say it's about the kids, they are talking about making sure high-quality teachers are in the classroom-- that usually translates to making sure salaries are competitive. Any district's payroll usually takes the lion's share of the budget. It is a people-intensive business.
This has to be a post from someone living on a government salary. There is no other way to explain why the writer believes that individual life decisions are subject to absolute guarantees.

The writer presumes a world where anyone seeking an MBA can obtain one. And that everyone with an MBA has a job and makes a six-figure salary, starting from their 20's. Huh? Who would even make such a claim? Someone with a guaranteed salary and lifetime employment, of course. And who has a guaranteed salary and lifetime employment? A government employee.

The writer equates a masters in education with an MBA, as if the market values both the same. But that is not the case. In fact, there are no market alternatives for the holder of a masters in education -- only government schools value a masters in education.[1] And even government schools are not in the market for teachers with 10 years of experience, regardless of the masters degree.

The next proposition is equally as nonsensical: That teachers pay taxes. Teachers, as government employees, are, on net, tax recipients -- they receive more taxes than they pay. For teachers, the mode of taxation is of no consequence. In all cases they win out -- in all cases their salary is paid at the expense of their neighbor's productive employment.

Of course, teachers want the state to fund government schools. Why? Teachers believe that such a system will benefit them over the current system -- a system based on, for the most part, locally-voted property taxes.

It's all about the kids. Really? Am I to believe that teachers are so altruistic that they fight for higher salaries to benefit the students -- that they are forced to take higher salaries so that new teachers will enter the teaching field.

Finally, the high quality teacher defense is over the top. Given that it is the teachers themselves who fight for guaranteed employment for all teachers, no matter how lousy.

Watch the John Stossel video (above) exposing teachers defending the current system. And then tell me it's all about the kids.

Notes:

[1] I know, some private companies do value a masters in education. But these companies are the pilot fish of the government school sharks.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

The Issue

OK, so here’s my issue:

In a previous post, I stated, “Well, Wade-O connived a superintendent salary that is 2.5 times the amount funded by the state -- in his mind, his overly inflated salary is ‘the right thing for [the] students.’”

Some folks say that it was OK for Wade to negotiate with his family in mind – to play the board in order to receive the highest salary possible.

I do not disagree that a man has to consider his family when making decisions. [1] My issue is that he negotiated for himself and his family and now has the nerve to turn around and claim he always does “the right thing for our students and for our taxpayers.”

No. Wade does the right thing for himself, the very same course taken by administrators, teachers, etc. It’s all done for their benefit, and their benefit alone. [2]

Yet, at levy time, all of a sudden, it’s all for the kids – and the taxpayers.

Very disingenuous, to say the least.

I don’t like school employees taking me for a fool as they lift dollars from my wallet. And I do not like a board that does not recognize it represents the taxpayers, not the school employees.

Note:

[1] Keep in mind that if Wade was willing to play the board, he is also willing to play the community.
[2] That is not to say the rest of us are any different. Of course, I do not attempt to force my neighbors to pay for that which benefits me.

Friday, June 05, 2009

The End of the Republic: Socialized Healthcare

What is the Rubicon that divides freedom from servitude? According to David Zanotti of the American Policy Roundtable, it’s healthcare. And he has a point.

To hear Zanotti tell it – and the man is passionate about this subject, resistance to the growing state ends once government holds the power of life and death. Once government allocates healthcare, based on its arbitrary whims and fancies, this nation will fall in line – it will have to.

Consider this situation: Your bible study was shut down due to the lack of a city permit. You want to express your offense. And you want express it loud and clear. But your daughter is ill. Do you speak the Truth knowing that your words may offend some official who has the power to deny the healthcare your child so desperately needs? Would you speak? Could you speak?

Does that sound farfetched? Just for a moment, consider acquaintances who send their children to public schools. How many of them are willing to upset the status quo? And this is true even though the parents are free to remove their children from those very same schools. If a parent fears the lowly teacher and principal, with his child’s life on the line, how much more will he fear the vindictive bureaucrat charged with allocating scarce healthcare?

Yes, it is true that state can intrude on my life and property. It can harass and arrest me for no reason whatsoever. However, currently, anyway, it cannot deny healthcare to my children as long as I am able obtain the necessary funds.

Zanotti believes this will all change if our nation succumbs to the material dialectic of socialized medicine – the Fabian approach of gradual political change. He is convinced government will not force socialization in one swift move. It will not attempt to shove socialized medicine down our throats, only to have the nation regurgitate it as before. No, the state will deliver socialized medicine in measured doses, slowly poisoning our health and our freedom.

Two thing are forgotten in the debate: One, just like all services and commodities, healthcare is scarce – scarce in that more is demanded than can be supplied at a price of $0. That should not be surprising. However, for most Americans, it is.

Price is a factor in healthcare, as it must be. Luckily, as demand sends prices and profits soaring, new providers and producers enter the field. Well, that is true in the unregulated market, but it is not so true for healthcare. Nevertheless, the solution to current regulations is not more regulations – or total government control of healthcare. The answer is less government and more freedom.

The second forgotten issue is the influence of government on our current system. As it stands, the price of healthcare is inflated due to such interventions as state licensing of healthcare providers. To hear some tell it, without government, and government licensure requirements, quality will quickly go south. Bunk.

I favor a completely deregulated system. I say let the market decide who can practice medicine, just as the market decides who replaces the brakes on my car. In the end, under a free market, prices will fall and quality will rise. That is the function of the free market, and it is something that only the free market can provide.

Whom should we entrust with our health – with our lives? Should we entrust it to government, which sees healthcare as a cost; a cost to be allocated to those favored by the state and withdrawn from those not favor? Or should we entrust it to the current, highly regulated system where healthcare is both a cost and a potential avenue for profit? Or should we entrust it to the free market, with unregulated healthcare providers and producers working to profit by ensuring patient satisfaction?

The answer should be obvious, but it is not. And because many Americans cannot see the ills of governmental interventions in the market, they assume the need for government involvement in healthcare. This mind set creates the fertile intellectual field for Fabian seeds that turn a hampered market into one controlled completely by the state.

If the state grabs this next foothold over the Rubicon, the Republic truly becomes the empire. And the likelihood of liberty’s return is greatly diminished.

While Zanotti travels about, spreading the word, he is not simply crying out in the wilderness. Folks are beginning to awaken to the reality that government healthcare is not of the people. It is of the state. And it will be a hefty yoke to bear.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Playing Mancala after the Knock on the Door

As a child, I was told a story in Sunday school for which I can find no corroboration. It is likely my memory which is at issue. Regardless, I will tell the story as I remember it.

The early Christians were persecuted by agents of the Roman Empire. Despite the dangers, these Christians would defy law and assemble at a home to read and minister the Word.


Whenever someone knocked on the door in an unfamiliar manner, the Christians would quickly set up Mancala --a popular game at the time -- and pretend to be engaged in friendly competition. The door would be opened with no hint to the world of the real intent of the meeting.

We know the early Church was persecuted, that is fact. The use of Mancala as the ruse is questionable -- or, at least, I can find no corroborating evidence to back up my story. Nevertheless, the story stands as good example of what life in the US may be like in the not-too-distant future.

Just a couple of days ago, I blogged this story, "Couple Ordered to Stop Holding Bible Study at Home Without Permit." The city did pull back under pressure, but it never admitted its agents were at fault.

My question: How long until Christians in this country are threatened by real laws, laws that attempt to silence God's Word? How long until Isaiah's remnant is forced to learn Mancala as cover from agents of the state? How long?


Note: We have the game at home, so we are ready.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Note the publication date

Of course, Mises was correct 87 years ago. And his insights are correct today.

Who's supporting your intellectual battle? Is it the Republicans who simply want a return to their version of socialism? Is it the Obama Democrats who seek to fulfill the dreams of Karl Marx?

Try the Mises Institute, LewRockwell.com, the Future of Freedom Foundation, or the Foundation for Economic Education. These sites will prepare you so that you can "thrust [yourself] vigorously into the intellectual battle."

From a recent edition of the Email Update from the Future of Freedom Foundation:


Tuesday, June 2, 2009
No one can find a safe way out for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interests, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle. None can stand aside with unconcern; the interests of everyone hang on the result. Whether he chooses or not, every man is drawn into the great historical struggle, the decisive battle into which our epoch has plunged us.
— Ludwig von Mises, Socialism [1922]

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Carver Governance spun on its head

The Carver Governance Model requires a strong, focused board. If the board will not hold its superintendent and treasurer accountable, the fault lies with the board, not the governance model.

Two things to consider:

One (from the mainstream point of view) -- Under Carver, the board sets hard and fast goals for the superintendent and treasurer. The board then allows its two chief administrators to work toward those goals based on the boundaries set in board policy. The board then evaluates them against those goals.

Remember, if the board says, "Hire Joe to coach the football team," it can't turn around and hold the superintendent accountable for the team's record. But if the board says, "Deliver a winning team," and allows the superintendent to hire the coach, the board can then hold the superintendent accountable for the team's record.

The same logic applies to educational programs and finances.

But most boards (Olentangy and Columbus included) are weak -- they are nothing more than cheerleaders for the administration (in fact, that is Columbus board policy). So, Carver ends up being the club which the majority of the board wields against any member who desires to hold the district's chief administrators accountable.

This process is called triangulation: Where you adopt a program favored by your opponent, but use it against them.

You see, the majority embraces Carver, not as a means to hold the superintendent and treasurer accountable, but to defend the administration against those who seek accountability. A Clintonesque spin.

Two (from point of view of the Austrian school of economic thought) -- No organization can set meaningful goals for a government agency. It is simply impossible. So all that work in One (above) is just a chasing after the wind.

Keep in mind that no one -- and no organized body -- is omniscient enough to quantify and qualify the desires of any community, no matter how large or small the community. The same holds for allocating scarce resources against competing wants. No one -- and no organized body -- can do it. (Oh, McFerson is convinced he is that sufficiently omniscient, but it appears that Franklin County, the state, and the taxpayers are going to end up buying his mess).


note: Of course, the Austrian view is the correct one.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Sara Marie Brenner: A Persecution Complex

"She cares too much about the City of Powell and good government in general to let them get away with it."

She's talking about a seat on Powell City Council, for crying out loud.

The best part is her claim that "bickering and back-stabbing has to stop." This while she is bickering and back-stabbing.

Thankfully, I can "send a clear message to those trying to undermine [her] campaign" by opening my wallet. How magnanimous?

People like this scare me. Can you image how she will act once given minor powers?

Note: Brenner asks, "Why are blogs attacking [me]?" Because it's politics. And because you are doing the same.



From an email I received (unsolicited) from the Brenner campaign:

Friends of Sara Marie Brenner
Sara Marie Brenner for Powell City Council in '09

Why Are Blogs Attacking Sara Marie Brenner?

Since the May 26th announcement, those against conservative fiscal policy and good government have already begun attacking Sara Marie Brenner. Yes, for a City Council race, people are already in attack mode! Various blogs and individuals are making up hateful lies just to try to make you think that Sara is something she's not. She cares too much about the City of Powell and good government in general to let them get away with it. Sara supports transparency and truth, and she will be happy to combat the lies that come out about her all through this campaign.

Show these people that you support Sara Marie Brenner by making an
online donation to support Sara's campaign for Powell City Council. What a way to say "thank you" to the people who are posting the hateful lies!

So, let's get the record straight about the Delaware County Political Reporter blog, Topix blog, and other blogs out there that just like to spew hatred. First of all, they are all anonymous. While we have a pretty good idea of who it is, the people behind them don't come out and announce who they are or provide any proof. If they're so right, why don't they make themselves public and provide the proof? If Sara has something to say, she'll make sure you know she's the one saying it.

The Delaware County Political Reporter blog went through several of the people on Sara's campaign web site and attacked them individually, as well, just to try to scare them into retracting their endorsements. Are we going to let these people get away with these kinds of tactics? Fight against the dirty tactics of coercion and hatred by
supporting Sara Marie Brenner for Powell City Council.

In addition, one of our county-wide elected officials to whom Sara sent an email asking for support posted the email on a blog, saying that they were "speechless" about receiving the email. Is this person that unconcerned about the job they were elected to do that they have time to contribute to a blog? As Powell City Councilwoman, Sara will be above politics and the 'cat and mouse games' that go on behind the scenes. Sara believes we all need to work together, especially in these times, to get things done for our constituents! The bickering and back-stabbing has to stop - it's a waste of time and resources for everyone.

A blog has also made a comment regarding Sara's support of keeping the Powell Chamber of Commerce separate from the Delaware Area Chamber of Commerce when the proposed merger was being discussed. Somehow, the blogs think that this means Sara doesn't support actually working together. To the contrary! Chambers of Commerce can partner in many ways, but that doesn't mean that they have to officially merge. The merger wasn't necessary, and it was best for Powell at the time, and continues to be best for Powell, for there to be a separate Chamber of Commerce supporting Powell's many businesses. Blogs' claims that this is "contradictory" is nothing but a far-fetched falsehood.

And now, the Delaware County Political Reporter blog is claiming that Sara's husband, Delaware County Recorder &
Legislative Candidate Andrew Brenner, is "laundering" money through Sara's company for his campaign. We ask, prove it! When the campaign finance reports are filed, the world will be able to see that this is another lie attempted to demean to two public servants who have the best interests of the citizens at heart. The Brenners are working and will work hard to protect taxpayers dollars.

All of these blog claims are false and baseless, and written by Sara's opponents who don't want for she or her husband to be successful public servants. Just as Andrew has been able to cut his own budget while in office, Sara supports fiscal conservativism, as well, and looks forward to bringing those principals to the City of Powell. She can't help it if her opponents want the status quo of lawsuits, voters feeling they aren't being heard and bickering between the township and city.
Help Sara Marie Brenner stop the lawsuits, keep taxes low, listen to constituents, work to better handle traffic and congestion, and move forward with balanced growth and development!

To combat these groups and individuals, Sara Marie Brenner will need the campaign funds for mailers, yard signs, literature pieces and other necessary materials to get the word out about her positive campaign.
Please make a secure online donation and support her campaign!

We will continue to refute the false claims we find. For more information on Sara Marie Brenner, please visit www.SaraMarieBrenner.com and you are always welcome to contact the campaign. We will be happy to answer any questions you have about Sara, Andrew or the campaign at any time. Just call or email!

Together, we will send a clear message to those trying to undermine Sara Marie Brenner's campaign.

Friends of Sara Marie Brenner