The Long Version

Retired broadcast journalist. Blogging helps scratch the itch. Recovering exRepublican – Sober and still Conservative.

Posts Tagged ‘California

Absurdity Du Jour

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After years of economy-strangling regulations, absurdly high tax rates, and public unions’ taxpayer-funded benefits, the policies of the far left have killed the golden goose in California.

The state is broke.

Now elected officials are scrambling to solve a self-inflicted crisis.

One school district in Sacramento must cut $43 million from their budget so they face the unfortunate task of laying off teachers. You would think the best teachers would be kept. However, one of the casualties of this school district’s round of layoffs was Sacramento Teacher-of-the-Year Michelle Apperson.

The Sacramento Teacher-of-the-Year got fired?

Yep. State law mandates that layoffs be dictated by union seniority. She is a victim of her own union’s requirements. She wasn’t “senior” enough regardless of her qualifications or merits. You don’t have to be a good teacher to keep your job you just have to “hang around’ long enough to gain Tenure.

About 80% of all public school teachers have tenure. That’s why teachers who drink alcohol before class, or even during class; teachers who deal drugs; teachers who can’t read or do basic math (all real examples by the way) can’t be fired while Teachers-of-the-year can.

Estimates of the number of incompetent teachers range from a low of 5% to as many as 18% of the 2.6 million total, or between 135,000 and 468,000 bad teachers. All states and the District of Columbia have tenure laws that were negotiated by the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). Unions insist these laws are in place to protect good teachers by giving them due process rights. Critics claim tenure and the unions are the problem.

The evidence across the country seems to back the critics.

A Kansas state representative in an interview with Investors Business Daily said, “Tenure is a very hot issue. If a legislator brings it up, it’s a battle royal. Unless you’re molesting children or robbing banks, you can’t be fired.” She adds that allowing poor teachers to remain in the classroom means more remedial teachers will be needed, which puts more dues money in union coffers. “The unions want as many teachers as possible, making as much money as possible. Their mission is teachers, not children.”

Children don’t pay union dues.

New York state Assemblywoman Debra Mazzarelli told Investors Business Daily: “Our tenure laws protect ineffective and unmotivated teachers and administrators. Removing a tenured employee from his or her position is so difficult, expensive and time-consuming that, for all intents, it is impossible.”

Public unions and Big Government resist any and all free market reforms to education because it would mean the end of their monopoly and their Big Money.

I do not wish to paint ALL union members with the same broad brush, but too many of the good ones stand silent about the corrupt practices of their leadership. I understand their resistance to speaking up. A quick review of unions and how they treat whistle blowers on their own leadership will make their hesitance to say anything publicly very clear, but how is not speaking out about something obviously wrong any different than actual endorsement?

Perhaps the renewed public outcry being heard here and there in the media and public forums will embolden honest union members to help clean up their professions and clean out the bad eggs who ruin it for everyone.

Tax the Rich and Solve What?

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Tax the Rich!The cry is getting louder and louder with the President holding the Bull Horn.

OK.  What if we did raise taxes on the rich and made them pay their “fair share” (with no definition of fair coming from the left).  Would that finally solve the budget woes the country is in?

Let’s look at the math.

In 2008 (latest data available) there were 1,400,000 returns filed by people in the top tax bracket $392,149.  Their total income was 1.7 trillion dollars.  They paid 400 billion in taxes at 23% leaving them with 1.3 trillion after taxes.  The deficit is 1.5 trillion.

Since the deficit is 1.5 trillion and they only have 1.3 trillion left they would need to be taxed at an additional 115%.  Since they are already taxed at 23% their total tax bill would need to be 138% of what they made.

Of course those numbers are for federal income taxes only.  These taxpayers also paid sales tax, property tax, state income tax, and of course all of those fun little hidden taxes we love and adore.

So, now that we’ve taxed all wealthy Americans into poverty, with no solution to the budget or deficit problem, what do we do next?

That question is directed at you, the Left, since your bright idea to tax the rich doesn’t work out so well.

Let the spin cycle begin…

The Tax Foundation

Walter Williams, an economist, author, and syndicated columnist, truly clarifies the absurdity of going after the rich to solve all of our financial woes in this country.

Politicians, news media people and leftists in general entertain what economists call a zero elasticity view of the world. That’s just fancy economic jargon for a view that government can impose a tax and people will behave after the tax just as they behaved before the tax, and the only change is more government revenue. One example of that vision, at the state and local levels of government, is the disappointing results of confiscatory tobacco taxes. Confiscatory tobacco taxes have often led to less state and local revenue because those taxes encouraged smuggling.

Similarly, when government taxes profits, corporations report fewer profits and greater costs. When individuals face higher income taxes, they report less income, buy tax shelters and hide their money. It’s not just rich people who try to avoid taxes, but all of us – liberals, conservatives and libertarians.

What’s the evidence? Federal tax collections have been between 15 and 20 percent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product every year since 1960. However, between 1960 and today, the top marginal tax rate has varied between 91 percent and 35 percent. That means whether taxes are high or low, people make adjustments in their economic behavior so as to keep the government tax take at 15 to 20 percent of the GDP. Differences in tax rates have a far greater impact on economic growth than federal revenues.

So far as Congress’ ability to prey on the rich, we must keep in mind that rich people didn’t become rich by being stupid.

See the Walter Williams full column here.

Written by DCL

May 15, 2012 at 12:46 pm