The Declarer (Floyd McWilliams' Blog)

Monday, March 21, 2011


The American federal government will run a 1.6 to 1.7 trillion dollar deficit in its 2011 fiscal year. California is facing a budget shortfall of tens of billions of dollars. Governments at all levels have enormous liabilities to their public employees due to generous benefits and pensions.

Given all this, you'd think a responsible civic institution like a major newspaper would cheer any effort, no matter how small, to restore some amount of fiscal discipline. But you would be wrong -- largely because newspapers are no longer responsible civic institutions. Witness the San Jose Mercury News' reaction to tiny federal budget cuts: to give prominent placement to a member of the overclass complaining that his ox is being gored:


In the name of fiscal responsibility, Congress has decided to eliminate all earmarks, those special appropriations usually requested by a single member for his or her district or state that are approved with little oversight.

Such a broad-brush move may make political sense in the short term, but it will produce unfortunate consequences for the nation in the long run.
...
A case in point is the We the People program conducted by the nonprofit Center for Civic Education. For a quarter-century, the program has helped educators work with school children on portfolio-based curricula that promote civic engagement and the practice of democracy.


Seriously, we can't afford to part ways with "helping educators work with school children on portfolio-based curricula that promote civic engagement and the practice of democracy"? I practically fell asleep typing that. (Not only does the overclass loot me, but it bores me senseless in the process of doing so.)

If schoolchildren need to learn about American civic engagement and democracy, let them consider the words of de Toqueville: "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money."

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