The governor seems confused. He thinks credible research is ”baloney,” and mistakes fluffy campaign rhetoric for solid solutions to Kentucky’s budget problems. Perhaps instead of attacking the messenger, the governor should heed the message sent by voters in the last election: They want politicians to stop borrowing from the future and cut spending now.
Click here to read the latest Bluegrass Beacon.
“The current budget cut proposals being debated in Congress are the political equivalent of making a New Year’s resolution to lose weight going to the gym and then not going after the first week.”
So writes Tim Shoemaker on the Campaign for Liberty blog.
Shoemaker is right.
Neither the White House nor congressional Republicans are proposing deep enough spending cuts to turn America’s economic ship around and escape a deficit that threatens to drown our future.
Of course, it doesn’t help when self-proclaimed fiscal conservatives, including the Kentucky delegation, would vote for a defense earmark that even the Defense department has repeatedly indicated it doesn’t want and that the nation doesn’t need.
In fact, conservatives refer to it as the “Mother of all Earmarks” and the new “Bridge to Nowhere” project.
But GE wants it, as does Rolls-Royce, its partner in the project to build an alternate engine for the F-35 joint strike fighter.
Yep, that’s right — an “alternate” engine.
Since GE lost in the bid to build the initial jet fighter’s engine to Pratt & Whitney, it’s using its considerable resources — as evidenced by a recent aggressive ad campaign aided by a $9 million lobbying effort — to be allowed to build an “alternate” engine … all at taxpayers’ expense, of course.
Even Tea-party conservative types in D.C. are having trouble saying “no” to GE, which has a presence in or near many of conservative leaders’ districts, including Speaker John Boehner’s in Ohio. About 1,000 employees have been working on the engine at a GE facility near Cincinnati.
GE claims that having an engine making competition will “drive down costs.” Not so, says the Defense department. In its own release, the DoD said the additional costs, including “the burden of maintaining two logistical systems,” will likely outweigh the savings.
On March 24, the Pentagon ordered a halt to the engine’s production.
Despite the fact that the two biggest-spending presidents in U.S. history — Barack Obama and George W. Bush, both administrations’ defense secretaries and the Defense bureaucracy itself said continuing to fund the $4 billion project could sap resources needed for more immediate security concerns, GE vows to try and find a way to keep it going.
Of course, that’s no problem — as long as they do it with their own money.
Click here for a timeline by Citizens Against Government Waste of spending that’s already occurred on this boondoggle.
While Congress was busy passing a bill that would restore the torpedoed D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program on Wednesday, a state closer to (my old Kentucky) home was also passing landmark education legislation dealing with school choice and spending.
Indiana’s House of Representatives approved a voucher bill allowing students in a family of four with household incomes up to $62,022 to receive a voucher covering from 50 percent to 90 percent of a private school tuition.
Imagine how such an option could shake up, say, a district like Jefferson County, where 60 percent of students are from low-income homes.
No doubt, anti-choice forces would wail about how such a voucher plan would throw government schools into chaos. But have you taken a look at that district’s student-assignment plan and busing disaster lately?
It appears chaos arrived long ago. We’re still waiting on choice to get here.
Unfortunately, adult interests are overriding the best interests of students and parents in the struggle to educate our youth. The CEO also points out:
“Too many of our legislators talk about children and the need for better education, but are more worried about supporting the adult groups who are busy protecting the status quo for their own benefit.”
That is certainly true in Kentucky, which is one of the worst school choice states in the nation, without even one charter school.
Adults in ‘the system’ also attacked a very popular school choice program in Washington, DC after the Obama administration took over. Responding to that pressure, in an action that sent incredibly mixed messages about the new administration’s real support for educational reform, the Congress and the President torpedoed the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program (DCOSP).
Now, it looks like the new Congress is planning to right that wrong. A bill to reinstate the Opportunity Scholarships is working its way into law.
That’s good news for kids in our nation’s capital, but what about kids in Kentucky, many of whom are poorer, and more challenged than the inner city DC children?
When will Kentucky legislators stop deferring to selfish demands from adults who work in the school system and start doing things that make sense for the students who are trying to get an education in that system?
In its article, “Reducing band director’s position frustrates crowd,” The State Journal (subscription) just provided another great example of the power that teachers – not parents – have in Kentucky’s schools. This story just played out in Franklin County.
At issue: Due to tight funding, what staff positions should be cut at Franklin County High School?
Parents had one point of view; teachers had another.
When the voting time came, parents got squashed.
One of the position reductions was for a science teacher. That’s a great way to increase STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) qualified graduates! Sadly, the motivation for this choice becomes crystal clear once you consider the specialties of the teachers on the Franklin High school council: an English teacher, a social studies teacher, and an agricultural teacher. No math teachers or hard science teachers to be found!
Another outstanding example of how parents loose out in school council votes occurred in the very upscale Fort Thomas school district back in 2007. In a story now long gone from the web, a showdown between parents and teachers over selection of a new principal at the Johnson Elementary school went solidly against the parents.