Mayberry Machiavellis

Gregory Alan Bolcer gbolcer at
Tue Sep 2 09:58:27 PDT 2003

Owen Byrne wrote:
> You paid for your elementary school? 

No, of course not. Eventually I will put more than
enough in to cover it several times over due
to inflation.  :-)

> "Originally, the twin centerpieces of Bush's compassionate conservatism
> were his education plan, "No Child Left Behind," and his "faith-based
> initiative" to direct federal funds toward private charities, including
> religious institutions:"
> is the word "education" too difficult to understand?

I think you have to split them.  I think that I fall into 
the "reform before funding" camp that thinks that educational 
curriculum has been overly defocused from basics to the point 
of being politicized. This includes everything from
multi-language classroom support to self-esteem teaching
to kids that lack the basics.  In addition, there is the
reform camp tha combats the kids-per-classroom metric with
the administrators-per-teachers one.   They've found that 
throwing more money at an arbitrary district will result in
two thirds of it going towards non-teaching positions, support,
experimental programs.   

But I think that's beside the point.  I don't think there's
anyone in the federal government that wants to eliminate
education funding for grade schoolers.   There's really
two issues here.  The first is school vouchers which is
part of the reform camp, the second is faith-based welfare.
I admit I only skimmed the article at first looking for
your quote, but I think it's on only the welfare part.  

Faith-based welfare differs from publically funded
welfare in two respects. The first is that it teaches
self-worth as a means to become self-dependent.  Introspection
is a difficult thing to do.  Second, faith-based welfare
is biblically limited to 10% per year.  

Publically funded welfare is open to criticism in that
it absolves the responsibility of the person.  There's
a philosophy that anyone could be one paycheck away
from welfare and it's not their fault or choices that
got them there.   This is a victim mentality rather than
a self-worth one.   The second reminds me of Bruce Springsteen's,
Credence Clearwater Revivals, (and many other's) Fortunate

       Yeh, some folks inherit star spangled eyes,
       ooh, they send you down to war, Lord,
       And when you ask them, how much should we give,
       oh, they only answer, more, more, more, yoh,

Nobody's ever been able to answer "how much is too much"
in publically funded welfare until the Clinton Welfare
Reform, AKA the Personal Responsibility Act of 1996.  
There's arguments on both sides that having it
increases poverty, not having it increases welfare
dependency.   Pick your social ill.....

> In this part of the world we have a lot of welfare/unemployment
> problems. And they are exacerbated greatly by cynical politicians who
> use poverty as a
> way to buy votes. That is sure what that sounds like.

The realist in me thinks, yes, this is the case and
will always be.  

> But you haven't really addressed the central point of the article -
> which is the Bush regime's credibility problem - where's the compassion?

There's a menage of issues:
o War(s)
o Welfare
o Education

That's probably be a pretty good presidential plank.   I think
that if you take a debateable issue of credibility and try and spill 
it over to welfare and then again to education, then it makes
a weaker argument than addressing the issues head on.  The
approach I always take would be similar to, "where's the compassion
as compared to X" unless you think the only answer to
how and how much compassion we should give is always
more, more, mo, yoh!

> Thats what the republicans ran on and they're rolling it out again to
> get the votes of women and minorities.

Oh no, there's politics going on in there.  Shocked.  Shocked! :-)


More information about the FoRK mailing list