Idaho's Weekly Journal of Local & National Commentary Week 2815


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by Free Market Duck

Prop 1: Idaho Teachers' union earmarks 1% of sales tax for itself
(Oct 6, 2006)

Everything is already covered in each year’s school budget.  So what is the reason for the extra slush fund each year?

Vote “NO” on November 7th on this self-serving Public Teachers’ Union Initiative or you may soon be subsidizing a Guaranteed Annual Salary for every profession and trade in Idaho.

Boise, ID – Earmarking a 1% increase of the Idaho sales tax -- currently valued at over $200 million – as extra money for public education is an insane economic action and, at its basic moral philosophical premises, is an attack against the individual rights of the taxpayer.

   By what right does one group of Idaho professionals declare that they should receive a guaranteed percentage of the salaries of all the other professions and trades in Idaho?  A 1% increase in sales tax equals a 1% increase on that portion of everybody’s salaries that is expended for food and groceries and all other commodities and services that fall under Idaho’s sales tax provisions.  Put another way, the teachers are demanding that everybody else fork over a fraction of their salary as a guaranteed income for the teachers’ and their union’s salaries.  If Prop 1 passes, how long will it be before all other public sector employees demand special interest taxation for their profession or trade?  And then, how about a 1% sales tax for the private sector plumbers and car dealers and software consultants?

   The teachers and the IEA union want their extra booty to go into a new slush fund called the Idaho Local Public Schools Investment Fund.  Why should Idahoans create a special slush fund for teachers in which they will receive 1% of Idaho’s sales tax money on top of their annual budget allocation from the state legislature?  The Superintendent of Schools provides a detailed budget to the state legies each year and the state legies crunch the numbers and then increase the next year’s school budget higher than last year’s.  Everything is already covered in each year’s school budget.  So what is the reason for the extra slush fund each year?

   This increase is in addition to the current public education budget of $1.6 billion, which is 70% of Idaho’s $2.3 billion annual budget.  And as sales taxes increase, the 1% slush fund for the teachers will increase.

   Let’s not waste time regurgitating the empirical facts that show Idaho’s public education students are not improving in spite of the continual budget increases every year.  Instead let’s discuss education and individual rights.

   Fact 1.  Education is defined as “information;” it’s a commodity, just like news or other media.

   Fact 2.  Education, as an “information” commodity contains no inherent trait that exempts it from supply and demand, price formation, or competition in a free market.

   Fact 3.  Education is, therefore, a tradable commodity in the free market and its format is not cast in concrete; it can take many different forms than the current public education paradigm, the brick and mortar/busing paradigm.

   Fact 4.  Education is as much of a tradable commodity in the free market as parents buying buy cars, computers, food, newspapers, Cable TV, and health insurance.

   Fact 5.  History shows that embedding free market commodities such as airlines, trains, the post office, oil, natural gas, and health into a socialist economic model, a government bureaucracy, in which the producers (the teachers, in education) control the money instead of the consumers (the parents) controlling the money, results in massive waste, fraud, and abuse.  Parents should control education money, not the teachers and unions.  In economics this is called putting the money on the demand side (the parents) not the supply side (the teachers and the teachers’ union).  Prop 1 gives more money, a slush fund, to the supply side, a huge mistake in economics and only happens in a socialist economic model.

   Fact 6.  Nobody has the right to receive an education from the rest of the individuals in society.  Nobody has the right to receive health care from the rest of the individuals in society.  Nobody has the right to receive a home from the rest of the individuals in society.  Nobody has the right to receive a computer from the rest of the individuals in society.  Nobody has the right to receive anything except the right to exercise mutual non-infringing exchanges of commodities, services, and ideas in a free market.  You did not get your rights from the Constitution or the government.  You got your inherent rights from the fact of your existence, not the church or government or any other collective.  Therefore, nobody has the right to receive an education from the rest of the individuals in society, and furthermore, the notion of “rights to receive” is a contradictory oxymoron since if I have the “right to receive” from you, then you have the “right to receive” from me, and we will have established nothing but reciprocal rip-off rights which can never be implemented – without starting a war, of course.  So, the Bozo left Liberals (and GOP) who preface their 1% Guaranteed Annual Robbery – Prop 1 – with “oooh, sob, sob, but all our children have a right to receive an education,” forgot to answer one question:  the “right to receive” from whom?  One person’s “right to receive” makes everybody else their slave, which, of course, is a contradiction in terms.

   So what is the real reason that the IEA wants a 1% increase for public education?  The IEA union is using the 1% sales tax for pub ed to bribe the teachers with a guaranteed annual salary increase.  Then the teachers, 50% of whom are not in the IEA union, will respond by joining the teacher’s union.  The teacher’s union will then receive lots more union dues to give to their favorite political PACs to keep the IEA in power.  If this atrocious special interest bribe passes, look for the IEA to make it mandatory for Idaho teachers to join their union or teachers don’t work in Idaho – just like in California, New York, and many other states.  As the WSJ already reported, the latest reporting rules requiring all unions to show details of where they spent their union dues money shows that the National Education Association (the NEA) blows hundreds of millions of dollars on their own union employee salaries and donations to politicians, not to the students or classroom.

   We could go on and on countering all the infinite socialist, altruistic, and statist excuses by the teachers and IEA unions to rip off the rest of society with a special interest 1% increase in sales tax but what’s the use?  Violation of individual rights is reason enough to vote “NO” on this Blatant Boondoggle in the Continuing Saga of Leave No Child Behind. – FM Duck

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