Monday, July 21, 2008

Your mandatory obligation to pay the salaries of government school bureaucrats

Once you accept the premise of a liberal argument, the conclusions are inescapable. Thus, Andrew Blechman in the Arizona Republic:
Today, more and more Americans are coming to embrace a lifestyle defined by one common trait - the exclusion of children and young families. But although segregation is a dubious tenet upon which to found a community, and despite the fact that this premise has remained essentially unexamined, so-called "active adult" developments are rapidly gaining acceptance in American society. . . .
After defeating 17 school-bond measures in 12 years, de-annexing from the local school system, and all the energy spent evicting "contraband children," [residents of the Sun City retirement community near Phoenix, Ariz.] can likely forget relying on the goodwill of their neighbors who often share a reciprocal bounty of distrust, anger and apathy.
What Blechman objects to is the right of people to live as they wish, and to exercise their political right to vote in their own interests, in this case, voting to avoid higher taxes -- taxes that would allow the government schools to hire more bureaucrats. By slapping the "segregation" label on these retirement communities, he expects to elicit an appropriate shudder of horror from the bien pensants.

Enter Dana Goldstein, to seize on Blechman's op-ed as an argument against basing school funding on local property taxes:
[S]ome people, who don't have kids in public schools and who aren't particularly civic-minded, will inevitably resent paying [local school taxes] and do everything they can to avoid doing so.
From what little information I can find online, it appears that Ms. Goldstein is about three years out of Brown University, unmarried and childless. Exactly why is she crusading on behalf of higher school taxes in Arizona? Beats me. I figure folks in Phoenix can fend for themselves without any guidance from me. Apparently, however, Ms. Goldstein simply can't suppress her busybody instinct:
Visiting Florida over the years and seeing gated community after gated community along wide highways, I always wondered why so many senior citizens wanted to isolate themselves from young families. I think this may be a lifestyle with far less appeal to younger generations less steeped in the post-World War II pro-suburban ideology. One can hope that by the time Gen X and Gen Y-ers are retiring, the trend toward leaving vibrant, diverse communities in one's old age in favor of homogeneous pseudo-towns will have run its course.
"Vibrant, diverse communities" like Washington, D.C.! High taxes, high cost of living, out-of-control crime, incompetent police -- hell, D.C.'s "vibrant, diverse" population has declined by about 300,000 in the past 50 years. The only people who live in D.C. are (a) rich yuppies who don't want to commute, and (b) poor people who can't afford to leave. I assume that Goldstein, an Ivy Leaguer, fits category (a).

Goldstein's assertion that the purpose of human life is to pay taxes to support government bureaucracy offends me most profoundly. This liberal fetish about governiment schools -- that support for more taxes to hire more school bureaucrats is self-evidently moral, and that opposition is thus immoral -- cannot be justified on the basis of evidence, and must therreforre be classified as a superstition.


  1. Can we start the "Two Minutes of hate"?

    Winston Smith

  2. Worse still is the case of parents who send their children to private school. Not only must they continue to pay school taxes (which return to them no benefits) but they also must pay private school fees which are generally very high. They have reduced the burden on public schools by removing their children and as a reward for that public-spirited act must pay two or three (or four) times as much for the education of their progeny.
    As for funding, let it be noticed that we pay far more today in inflation adjusted terms for public schools than in the 1950s, while the quality of that schooling has breathlessly declined. Conclusion? Reduce school taxes by, say, 80%.

  3. Your argument assumes that only parents(and children) benefit from the public school system. I believe the reason everyone should be expected to pay for schooling is that everyone benefits from it. Even when adults make the choice to live in 'child-free' zones, they still consume things like medical and police services. Doctors and policemen need schooling. Since everyone consume their services, and their services require schooling, why shouldn't everyone be expected to pay for it?

  4. dunkinrussia: I think the problem in Arizona may be the fact that a lot of the people consuming services are illegally in the country and do not pay taxes.