The “Human Toll” indeed

Rich Miller posted some legislator’s comment on the “Human Toll” of the upcoming budget cuts.

It detailed all of the pain that would be generated from some of the cuts to Medicaid that are being discussed. The comment that I placed on this post is below.

Some time around to 2005, I questioned former Rep. Fritchey on the 13% increase in school enrollment and the 157% increase in school funding. His reply?

“Yeah, but that all went to pensions.”

As all the “human tolls” are collected in the upcoming budget cuts, there is only one place to put almost all the blame.

It falls on the legislators who voted for every mandate, every payroll expansion, and every pension benefit increase in the last 10-20 years.

The facts speak for themselves. Unwilling to say no to the powerful spending, borrowing, and taxing interests, these folks (in both parties) voted future generations of Illinoisans into pension poverty and tax increase hell.

You are all now left with a choice. Fund the pension payroll, perks monster you created, or fund government services.

If the taxpayers are asked to do more, which is not an entirely unreasonable request under dire circumstances, the very least you can do is put a stiff, enforceable, and robust constitutional amendment on the ballot.

That amendment should place hard spending caps on all governmental entities, with virtually NO exceptions, and such a cap should be raised only upon a referendum, preferably requiring a super-majority of some sort.

Taxpayers should realize such a cap is worth the cost, and government employees and elected officials should realize taxpayers deserve nothing less after their decades long ride on the debt and pension gravy train.

It is NOT the taxpayer that is to blame for this situation. It is the legislature and the spending interests that purchased them. We can fund services, or we can fund out-sized benefits for too many public employees. Your choice.

Public Sector Unions – just abolish them

Look at who ruined America

Here’s why.

Public Unions – Engines of unspeakable greed

Read this article to understand how this cancer has metastasized into our entire body politic.

When they ask you how you can use such harsh rhetoric, tell them that “pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered,”

Scott Walker trying to save his state from this fate

Farewell, My Lovely
How public pensions killed progressive California

As 72-year-old Jerry Brown enters his second governorship, he has an agenda to match that power, with visions even greater than those that haunted his two-term administration of the 1970s and ’80s: building 20,000 megawatts of renewable power, laying a new high-speed rail network that will connect the state’s major cities, forging a statewide infrastructure for alternative energy, hiring thousands of green employees. The new governor’s environmental agenda is ambitious, untenably expensive, and indelibly popular with voters and lawmakers.

Yet when Brown looks out on Democrat-controlled California, he seems less like Caesar at the Rubicon than Wojciech Jaruzelski at the Gdansk Shipyard. Brown is champion of a workers’ party with monopoly control, yet all his plans are being derailed by a labor movement nobody can harness.

At press time, California was being governed under a state of economic “emergency” declared by Brown’s predecessor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, in light of a staggering $28 billion budget shortfall expected in the next 18 months.

It gets worse. Medium-term unfunded liabilities for government employee pensions are pegged by the Legislative Analyst’s Office at $136 billion—and that’s a lowball figure. Legislative analyst Mac Taylor acknowledges in his current fiscal outlook report that the estimate leaves out billions in funding shortfalls at the pension funds for public school teachers and University of California employees. In the next 10 years, taxpayers will most likely be on the hook for somewhere between $325 billion and $500 billion. (Over the past five years, state revenues averaged $94.5 billion per year.)

How did this happen?

It happened because too many people were asleep at the switch, believing we could spend lavishly on a corrupt and lazy class of greedy public employees who bought the politicians they were bargaining with.

It’s time for the Big Haircut. Cut their pensions and health benefits or fire them an hire new people under new rules. It’s that simple.

5 Years ago, I was crazy. Now I’m prescient

As we watch the shake out of the education reforms on the table across the nation, and as we watch the outcome of Scott Walker’s entirely justified “assault” on greedy public sector workers who refuse to pay a dime toward their pensions or health care…

Just remember that this tiny blog accurately predicted the financial conflagration unions have visited upon this nation, as well as the justified public backlash.

Pigs get fat, Hogs get slaughtered.

Slaughter the Hogs.

Ein Superintendent, Ein Board, Ein Voice!

I posted this about three years ago (Jan 2008). Given the situation in Illinois, particularly with education waste and featherbedding, I think it bears re-posting. Think about the nature of the people educating your kids.
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Elaine Johnson seems like a regular everday citizen. She may be a little out of the ordinary in that she also started a very good local blog in Downers Grove. It’s amazing. You take a little time to look into things, and slowly but surely you start to notice just how things actually work – particularly with school boards.

No need for silence on the school board

Voters were told the board’s responsibility is to put children first and to hire the superintendent. The board acts as a single unit, not as a congregation of individuals motivated by personal agendas – a concept further underscored when incumbents of District 58 and Community High School District 99 ran together as a single slate.

“School boards don’t have a lot of power other than hiring the superintendent,” says Jim Russell of the Illinois Association of School Boards, the voluntary organization that counts 98 percent of the state’s school boards as members.

Indeed, the Illinois School Code highlights the board’s role in hiring, directing and evaluating the superintendent and states that members have no legal authority as individuals.

But it also allows boards to “exercise all other powers not inconsistent with this act that may be requisite for the proper maintenance, operation and development of any school or schools under the jurisdiction of the board.”

The question is: Why don’t they? Why don’t our school board members interpret their duties in the broadest possible terms, initiating policy and holding administrators accountable as other elected officials do? Why do they accept a role that is in large part ceremonial and supportive?

The answer may lie at least in part with the Illinois Association of School Boards, which tries, as Russell says, to “create a philosophy or culture” among its members. My husband, who ran unsuccessfully for the District 58 board last spring, received a packet of IASB handouts explaining the role and duties of a school board member.

Further training encourages individual members to “submit themselves to the overall board,” Russell says. “You have a voice, yes. You are supposed to represent the public, yes. But the board works as a unit. We don’t discourage members from speaking or asking questions … but the district and the community have to hear a single voice.”

This excellent article highlight a singular truth that I have been trying to beat into the heads of people across the political spectrum. School Boards and “districts” are merely facades that provide the appearance of local control. In fact, there is next to no local control at all.

The article also highlights the dark nature of the IASB in particular and school administration in general. By Mr. Russell’s own words, he exposes “Adminstration” for the anti-democratic, anti-free speech, and essentially fascist mindset that they promote.

!!!! “We don’t discourage members from speaking or asking questions … but the district and the community have to hear a single voice.” !!!!

The first part of the above sentence is an outright lie. Members are discouraged from speaking all the time. As some one who follows the antics of school boards and the oily adminstrative class closely, I can attest to the aggressive tactics used by these protectors of financial malfeasance and legalized money laundering.

The second part of the above sentence is even worse than the outright lie, for it reeks of the of enforced conformity and political correctness that have become a cancer on our culture. Any board member who steps out of line is first politely asked to fall in line. If this fails, the gloves come off, and the “education mafia” goes into full attack mode.

Here is a simple fact that most parents and citizens don’t want to process. They practice a dangerous brand of denial regarding their schools. The fact is this. If there is “harmony” on your school board, then corruption is going unnoticed. The legalized money-laundering that now has metastasized to so many districts that the only politically “healthy” districts are the ones where there is “disharmony.”

I’d be happy to hear of any exceptions.

Please wake up people. Re-read the quote by Mr. Russell of the IASB. Please understand the dark, dangerous, and vile nature of his ideology. It is fundamentally anti-freedom, anti-democratic, and anti-American. These are the people that are picking the curriculum for your kids. Mr. Russell’s views and the curriculum are far more in lockstep than you are permitting yourself to see.

Amazon shutting down Illinois accounts!?

Here is the email I received from Amazon today.
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Greetings from the Amazon Associates Program:

We regret to inform you that the Illinois state legislature has passed an unconstitutional tax collection scheme that, if signed by Governor Quinn, would leave Amazon.com little choice but to end its relationships with Illinois-based Associates. You are receiving this email because our records indicate that you are a resident of Illinois. If our records are incorrect, you can manage the details of your Associates account here.

Please note that this not an immediate termination notice and you are still a valued participant in the Amazon Associates Program. But if the governor signs this bill, we will need to terminate the participation of all Illinois residents in the Associates Program. After that point, we will no longer pay any advertising fees for sales referred to amazon.com, endless.com and smallparts.com nor will we accept new applications for the Associates Program from Illinois residents.

The unfortunate consequences of this legislation on Illinois residents like you were explained to the legislature, including Senate and House leadership, as well as to the governor’s staff.
Over a dozen other states have considered essentially identical legislation but have rejected these proposals largely because of the adverse impact on their states’ residents.

Governor Quinn’s office may be reached here.

We thank you for being part of the Amazon Associates Program, and wish you continued success in the future.

Sincerely,
Amazon.com

Lessons -1800 , Students – 24,000,000 – Faculty – 1

And he isn’t striking for unwarranted pay and pension rights either.

This graph shows utter waste and greed in education

No Excuses - Just admit it's a waste of money

No Excuses - Just admit it's a waste of money

Carry this in your wallet or purse. When someone says we need to “spend more on education,” just take it out and beat them about the head and neck with it.

They’ve turned it into a patronage job program. Fixing education, therefore, will require mass layoffs and totally transforming education from a “bureaucracy-based system to a child-based market.” Say it just that way, and stop trying to sugar coat the message.

Just say it! “Teachers Unions are morally illegitimate”

It’s nice to know that the rhetoric I’ve been using on this website for about 6 years now, which some called “extreme,” has gone mainstream.

The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page editors are dipping their toes in the water of truth. They ought to dive in head first, and start rescuing children.

Hating ‘Superman’

The new film “Waiting for ‘Superman’” is getting good reviews for its portrayal of children seeking alternatives to dreadful public schools, and to judge by the film’s opponents it is having an impact.

Witness the scene on a recent Friday night in front of a Loews multiplex in New York City, where some 50 protestors blasted the film as propaganda for charter schools. “Klein, Rhee and Duncan better switch us jobs, so we can put an end to those hedge fund hogs,” went one of their anti-charter cheers, referring to school reform chancellors Joel Klein and Michelle Rhee and Education Secretary Arne Duncan. The odd complaint is that donors to charter schools include some hedge fund managers.

Or maybe not so odd. Teachers unions and the public school monopoly have long benefitted from wielding a moral trump card. They claimed to care for children, and caring was defined solely by how much taxpayers spent on schools.

That moral claim is being turned on its head as more Americans come to understand that teachers unions and the public bureaucracy are the main obstacles to reform. Movies such as “Waiting for ‘Superman’” and “The Lottery” are exposing this to the larger American public, leaving the monopolists to the hapless recourse of suggesting that reformers are merely the tools of hedge fund philanthropists.

Teacher’s unions are on the moral defensive because people have finally started to question their moral legitimacy. (welcome to the club) Teachers Unions have none, and, as a concept, they have no right to exist.

Every dime a teachers union extracts from a tax payer for pay, benefits, pensions, etc., is a dime that can’t be used to better educate a child. It’s so obvious that it’s been staring us in the face for decades.

Just as Reagan hastened the fall of the USSR by challenging their moral legitimacy (evil empire, ash heap of history), we must openly start telling our neighbors that teachers unions have no right to one iota of say in education. Their interests, and the interests of society are diametrically opposed.

You don’t negotiate with such an entity, you abolish it. It’s that simple. Get to work.