Mr. Daschle gets reminded of his past and what he owes to Native Americans.
For a variety of reasons, there are still many parents who are concerned that their offspring may not be receiving the type and level of instruction which they believe is necessary. So, the parents are taking things into their own hands:
The number of home-schooled kids hit 1.5 million in 2007, up 74% from when the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics started keeping track in 1999, and up 36% since 2003. The percentage of the school-age population that was home-schooled increased from 2.2% in 2003 to 2.9% in 2007. “There’s no reason to believe it would not keep going up,” says Gail Mulligan, a statistician at the center.
Notice that last line where the statistician says “There’s no reason to believe it would not keep going up.” What this article doesn’t tell you is that it will keep going up as long as other types of schooling (predominantly public schooling) declines.
The category of “other reasons” rose to 32% in 2007 from 20% in 2003 and included family time and finances. That suggests the demographics are expanding beyond conservative Christian groups, says Robert Kunzman, an associate professor at Indiana University’s School of Education. Anecdotal evidence indicates many parents want their kids to learn at their own pace, he says.
There you have it, a tacit statement that “conservative Christian groups” were the ones who figured out early on that homeschooling was a good way to go. Now, a number of other people have come to the same conclusion.
Yes, homeschooling is definitely about inculcating offspring with certain values and mores, but it is also about ensuring that they can read, write and perform arithmetic at levels necessary to function as eventual adults. It is surprising that parents find such a future attractive?
Most of us are familiar with the term “pay for performance.” The concept is something like this: you work hard and achieve success, you make more than someone else who didn’t work as hard. Well, the US Congress is apparently able to be rewarded regardless of how well it performs:
[Long list of financial woes.]
So what do you do now?
Well, if you’re a member of Congress, you give yourself a raise.
Beginning this week, US representatives and senators will be paid $174,000 a year. That represents an increase of $4,700 and the 10th time since 1998 that congressional pay has been given a boost.
But even if they don’t meet the ethical standards of the 1930s, couldn’t they at least obey the Constitution they took an oath to uphold? The 27th Amendment bans members of Congress from giving themselves a raise without first facing the voters: “No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.” The House and Senate can boost salaries in the next Congress, but they are constitutionally barred from boosting their own.
Alas, the 27th Amendment is a dead letter. Congress claims that putting its salary on autopilot – it goes up every year without a vote – gets around the constitutional restriction, and the Supreme Court has refused to rule on the issue.
Congress? Instead of raising salaries, how about raising your level of historical understanding. I’m talking about those really old documents called the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution. I’ll tell you what, why don’t you throw in the Federalist Papers and the anti-Federalist Papers, too? If you are going to be coming back to work soon, I think it is past time for some employee-funded on the job training.
Pop quizzes will be daily. The mid-term is required. Your final exam will count for 50% of your grade. We’ll use a 6-point scale. Nobody with less than a C makes it to the next session.
I’m thinking this just might work.
I’ve long wondered when it would come to this. I hoped it wouldn’t. Couples in England are now finding it to their advantage to get divorced, for purely economic reasons:
A study by the Civitas think-tank shows how millions of working families are missing out on the benefits paid to single parents.
It argues they should be allowed to keep far more of their income and spend it as they see fit on privately-provided services.
Earlier this week the Mail reported that an astonishing 140,000 households across Britain are pocketing more in benefits than the average take-home wage.
Now Mr Ash takes home £1,184 a month and his wife gets £1,396 in benefits, meaning their income is £1,108 a month more because they are leading separate lives.
He said: ‘There’s no point in us being together if we get more money by living apart. It’s ridiculous.’
Mr Ash added that he found it bizarre that the couple would also have been better off together if he did not have a job. ‘Surely if you work you expect to earn more than you’d get on the dole,’ he said.
The couple’s previous joint income of £1,702 a month included income support, child tax credit and benefit, housing and council tax benefit and £800 for rent on their flat in Lewisham, South-East London.
If the couple had stayed together, Mrs Ash would only have qualified for child benefit of £78.43 a month. She said: ‘It was the straw that broke the camel’s back.’
About that part where you say “if you work you expect to earn more than you’d get on the dole,” Mr. Ash? That would be true, except that under a socialistic government, the goal is for just about everybody to be on the dole–whether or not they actually do any work.
Pool tables should be banned (I speak as a fool) because they are used to do very bad things to people:
Q: What do guitars, pool tables, and baseball bats have in common?
A: They were involved in twice as many non-justifiable homicides in New Hampshire last year as firearms were.
Get the full breakdown at the above link.
I’m not sure which president of the United States was the first to promise the creation of new jobs by means of some government plan, but I know it has to go back several decades. In the news today is Obama’s plan to “create” 3 million new jobs. The following video gives the the context:
Properly speaking, government can only indirectly create new jobs by the things which it does not do (that is, the taxes it does not collect). You and I create new jobs when we increase our demand for existing products or services, thereby encouraging the provider of those products or services to add staff to support the demand. When government tries to create jobs by directly interfering with supply and demand or by passing laws which call for the new layers of bureaucracy to handle the implementation of this or that program–jobs are not created. They are either borrowed from the private sector directly (by taking over or socializing private sector goods or services) or they are borrowed from the future of the private sector (by taking funds away from businesses in more taxes and fees which could have been used to create new jobs).
Then there is the whole issue of Obama’s statement that 80% of the jobs will be private sector. That means 20% will be public sector (government): more layers and levels of bureaucracy (as just talked about in the above paragraph). Six-hundred thousand new positions which do not add real value to our economy. That’s approaching the total state population of North Dakota or Wyoming.
This new stimulus package is on track to further leach the lifeblood of capitalism from the American economy. Yes, I know that it comes with big tax cuts, but that is simply to ensure that Republicans will let it become law. Its real benefit is that it will stimulate us right in the doldrums, a la Western Europe, complete with a permanent class of government employees who do nothing but explain to the news media and anyone else who will listen why we are simply not as competitive as the rest of the world market because someone somewhere is cheating.
I have been living in a nation at war since I was born. At my birth, we were deeply involved in the Cold War and had just marched into what was to be the end of the Vietnam War. Since then, we have been engaged in wars almost too numerous to mention, most of which the average person only sees through the lens of dense political rhetoric.
Of old-fashioned shooting wars, we have heard much. However, there are “wars” which concern me even more–not because they are necessarily more deadly but because they provide the premise by which many excesses are excused. I’m speaking now of the various largely domestic endeavors which have been designated as “wars” by our federal and state governments.
Why were the War on Poverty and War on Drugs couched in terms of armed conflict rather than problem-resolution? It is quite simple: when people are at war, they willingly give up things both material and non-material in support of the common goal of winning the war. That is, a government upon a war footing has been given the benefit of the doubt by its citizenry. This is one reason that we are greatly moved when we hear that “______ has declared martial law.” We realize that no matter what the country may be, and no matter how inept, corrupt, or downright evil the government of said country may be, the leadership of that country has now given itself license to do anything it wants, with relative impunity.
Poverty (and I speak from personal experience) is not a good thing. The War on Poverty hasn’t been much good either. When it started under LBJ in 1964, the national poverty rate was about 20%. Today, it remains between 10 and 15% (though the criteria for defining poverty have been, in my opinion, broadened considerably). One would hardly find this war a success, but it allowed for government to encroach onto territory which has been the traditional place of the family, church and community. The War on Poverty never addressed the root of poverty in the US (which lies largely, though not entirely, within people’s inherently selfish natures), but we sure spent a truckload of money combating the symptoms–both real and imaged. Today, we continue to exercise little if any restraint in this war, throwing more and more money at social programs in the hopes that something will stick.
Drugs, broadly speaking, can be beneficial or deadly. The War on Drugs was started to combat the increase, or at least the increased visibility, of detrimental drug use in the United States. This war has been going on a long time, as any of us who remember the “This is Your Brain on Drugs” frying pan commercial can attest. Based on the latest information which I’ve seen, this war is going no better than the one which was to address poverty. Once again, I would say that we’ve spent billions addressing the symptoms of the problem without really getting to the problem itself: why are people so desperate to escape reality that they will destroy themselves to do it? Nonetheless, the war goes on. One of the ever-present reminders of this particular “war” is the creation of SWAT teams in cities large and small across the country.
I’m not going to denigrate all SWAT teams, but the following, by Mr. Balko at Reason is indicative of what the War on Drugs has led to:
A Denver Post investigation found that in 80 percent of no-knock raids conducted in Denver in 1999, police assertions that there would be weapons in the targeted home turned out to be wrong. A separate investigation by the Rocky Mountain News found that of the 146 no-knock warrants served in Denver in 1999, just 49 resulted in criminal charges, and only two resulted in prison time. Media investigations produced similar results after high-profile mistaken raids in New York City in 2003, in Atlanta in 2007, and in Orlando and Palm Beach, Florida, in 1998. When the results of the Denver investigation were revealed, former prosecutor Craig Silverman said, “When you have that violent intrusion on people’s homes with so little results, you have to ask why.”
May I be so bold as to say that we should be asking why we have a violent intrusion on people’s homes at all (forget the results)?
What we have apparently lost in this war mindset is something called restraint. A free nation gives everyone the benefit of the doubt, be he a drug dealer or a murderer. And, while I am in favor of righteous justice, for anyone who is truly guilty of crimes committed, I realize that the maintenance of freedoms sometimes requires that the guilty are not punished in the here and now.
We do not need another War on Something, what we do need is to return to the restraint of government power which was established by our Constitution.
I do not wish safety at all costs, for the cost of such safety is far too dear.
No country has a corner on stupid. The reasons for this are pretty straightforward: no country exists without people and people have a way of plumbing the depths of ignorance and depravity if given the opportunity. Ace leverages the recent excesses of the English in celebrating the New Year to for a useful observation:
If I can make a quick point: Europe forever flatters itself by contrasting itself — erudite, educated, prosperous, well-mannered, bourgeois — with America — drunken, stupid, fat, loud, obnoxious, and ill-informed.
They do this by the same trick every time: They compare their stable, well-behaved middle classes and working with our less well-behaved, less refined lower classes.
Of course this is stupid. It is comparing apples to oranges, or, more accurately, one population’s most well-behaved cohort with another population’s least well-behaved one.
Compare most of the American lower class– which, despite not having much money, tends to be industrious and fairly law-abiding — with the European lower class and the comparison changes quite a bit. The American lower class is far more ambitious and self-improving than the “No Future” drunken yobs of Europe.
If Europe sees more of our lower classes than they do of ours…. well, that’s because our lower class is industrious enough, ambitious enough, culturally curious enough, and diligent enough to set aside money… to travel to England and the Continent.
Over the years (makes me sound old, doesn’t it?) I’ve had the opportunity to talk to many people about financial budgeting. This isn’t because I’m an accountant, but rather because I have seen the enormous benefit which accrues to those who manage to consistently spend less than they make.
Something which is so very simple, yet the people I speak with have a hard time accepting, is that it is simpler to spend less than it is to make more. Not many people are where they are because of entirely financial reasons. That is, you or I might enjoy our job, though it doesn’t pay us as much as we might get elsewhere. Similarly, we might be sacrificing the bottom line to live in an area near family, etc.
One can generally increase one’s spendable income by doing one or more of the following:
- Make more
- Spend less
- Win the lottery or be the beneficiary of a wealthy relative’s estate
- Print money
Making more might not be feasible (for the previously mentioned reasons). Winning the lottery or equivalent is at the level of “not going to happen for just about everybody” so it merits almost nothing. Printing money will either cause one to receive permanent government housing, or a job working for the government. However, just about everyone (even those on fixed incomes) can spend less.
As a state, South Dakota is in need of some of this type of thinking. Unlike the federal government, we cannot print money. Raising taxation levels will only tend to make matters difficult for the citizenry (and expand government influence and power). Thankfully, though the state runs the lottery, it does not get a piece of estates via an estate tax. It would seem as though the best option open to the state would be that of spending less. One area which might benefit from such spending cuts is welfare:
How is it that in years past we were able to build roads, public buildings, etc… and not be danger of total collapse? I think we can point to the outrageous social welfare spending that most every state incurs. We need to re-evaluate every single person who receives disability payments, since most receive housing and welfare benefits. I really have no idea how many people are gaming the system, but I’ve seen too many mentally retarded people, people without limbs, and other injuries who are able to hold jobs. Personally I have two family members who collect a check, are on welfare, but both are able bodied. We also need to hold financially responsible the fathers of children whose mothers are public housing or state welfare. Whether or not liberals like to hear this, it’s much easier to raise a family when the parents are together and living expenses are joint.
The numbers are in:
As of Nov. 30, 67,217 state residents were receiving the [food stamp] assistance, an increase of more than 4,700 over a year ago when 62,458 were signed up. Forty percent of that increase was in Minnehaha County alone.
Ashley Cummings of Sioux Falls said she and her boyfriend were approved for food stamps Tuesday after the company for which he was doing drywall work laid off its employees.
“He went to work one day, and he came back with no job,” said Cummings, 24. “He was doing good enough to take care of me and our son. Now, everything I took for granted, a lot of things, we don’t have.”
“We took for granted all the money we were getting. We didn’t save any. We just thought it would keep coming. Then one day, it’s gone, and we’re completely broke,” she said.
I suppose it is unsurprising that Minnehaha County saw the greatest increase–it is the county with the greatest population (and greatest concentration of urban dwellers). If we go with the 25$ per week number (as previously discussed) then that gives us a weekly expense of 1,68,0425$, or 87,382,100$ annually.
I think that, nationally, about 1 in 10 people is on food stamps, so I suppose that South Dakota is about average (or slightly below). The expense doesn’t bother me nearly so much as the realization that many of the people who are currently receiving food stamps in South Dakota are likely to never not receive them for the rest of their lives (yes, I realize I used a double negative).
Grasshopper, please call your local food stamp office.