Posts Tagged ‘education’

starve the beast

Machine Breaks, Work Stops, New Hampshire © Jim Korpi

“My goal is to cut government in half in twenty-five years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.” -Grover Norquist

A friend teaches 600 children art. One teacher, 600 children. Art. Her job will be cut at the end of the school year.
The November elections brought forward a tax levy to continue funding music, art and physical education classes in a well-to-do area outside of Columbus, Ohio. The levy was denied by voters.

“Here’s how the argument runs: to starve the beast, you must not only deny funds to the government; you must make voters hate the government. There’s a danger that working-class families might see government as their friend: because their incomes are low, they don’t pay much in taxes, while they benefit from public spending. So in starving the beast, you must take care not to cut taxes on these ‘lucky duckies.’ (Yes, that’s what The Wall Street Journal called them in a famous editorial.) In fact, if possible, you must raise taxes on working-class Americans in order, as The Journal said, to get their ‘blood boiling with tax rage.'”
—Paul Krugman, “The Tax-Cut Con,” The New York Times, September 14, 2003

Free at Last

After Math Series © Jim Korpi

I owe nothing. Sure, bills will come, but, as of this Thursday, the thousands of dollars I acrued in student loans were paid in full, with interest.
With that done, I’d like to suggest an improvement in the system and possibly an improvement on humanity. Let’s call it the Loan Payer’s Manifesto.
We preach of a land where all men are created equal. If by this our fore fathers meant we all are pumping blood through similar vein structures then I must agree. But having just paid off these loans and knowing others my age who are $40,000+ in school loan debt, I must say I feel as though I’m just now stepping up to the starting line of financial freedom with wrinkles forming, while I watch others hitting puberty and charging expenses to a parental credit line.
Our economy will in time be fueled by creativity, this I believe. Essentially we must move beyond our foundation of exploitation and move towards innovation. We’ve moved beyond the manufacturing base of the industrial revolution and now must be innovative, not in our dealings with machines, but in our dealings with each other. The nine-to-five desk job days are over. Face it. If they’re not over, they will be as soon as the world realizes that half those 8 hours are spent playing FarmVille on Facebook and gossiping about coworkers. There are exceptions.
Creativity takes risk, exploration and is anti-routine by nature. It can not flourish in a society that uses usury as a way of educating, and preparing, its populace. It’s a form of indentured servitude for those unable to buy out of the system.
I can’t recall how many times a friend has come to me and talked about their life’s financial predicament. They have thousands of dollars in “financial aid”, or loans. These loans have an interest rate similar to a mortgage, 6.8%. They have graduated. They are now expected to enter the uncertain world economy, be creative, and pay off their loans.
What happens is they take the most secure route they can find. They hold onto that for the next ten years so they can work down their debt. By then they’re 40 and have kids. Time to be creative and innovative is put off another year, and then another year…
What must happen is education should become less of a business model and more of a Socratic model focused on paideia, and most importantly not the shallow goals of becoming the perfect consumer.
The economic ideas of incentive are fraught with the unintended consequences we are seeing currently in a country unequipped to feed, shelter, educate and rule itself properly.