50% tax cut would spur sharp improvements in county schools

This graphic from the 2016 CAFR shows where the county's money comes from.

This graphic from the 2016 CAFR shows where the county’s money comes from.

It is possible to empathize with Hamilton County Commissioners who are being asked to consider a tax increase of F$100 million to pay for the state factory school system in the Chattanooga area.

The reason one might sympathize with board members is that they are victim of a federal law which requires them and everybody else in the country to receive payment in debt in Federal Reserve notes, the currency issued by the Federal Reserve system. This inflationary currency has lost value every year, and the board of governors is trying now to make it lose 2 percent per year in value so that the economy might be enhanced. ( in the upside down world of the Fed, 2% corrosion is a target.)

By David Tulis / Noogaradio 1240 AM 92.7 FM

Press reports indicate that the county commission hasn’t raised taxes in seven years. In that seven years’ time, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator, the dollar has lost considerable value. What $100 bought in 2010 now requires $112.97.

If you go back to the year 2000, to buy goods and services for $100 now requires $145.02.

So the value of collected tax dollars goes down every year and the county commission suffers effectively a reduction in buying power every year.

Old-school thinking controls

However, the county commission is considering a tax increase for public schools partly because it seems unaware of major developments in the economy and among the people, led by  that suggests growing disfavor for the school industry as run by the state and the county.

➤ A continuing commitment to state-run, centralized, bureaucracy based statutory solutions to a purported Marketplace Gap or problem. Keeping public school funding the same or raising the funding suggest the power of the illusion many people in Chattanooga share. That illusion is that there is no real marketplace in educational services and that for some reason the state system must be maintained, or there will be no schooling or educational services provided to children and families.

➤ The rationale for public school has long been forgotten and that is the effort by the founders to homogenize Americans and destroy cultural distinctives of immigrant Irish and others from the Eastern Bloc who were Roman Catholic or irreligious. Public schools today have a much thinner stated rationale for school services. And that is to create a workforce and an employee base for corporations in the area. But business executives are resigned to a poverty of results from their long support of state-run schooling.

➤ The commitment to maintaining funding or raising it reflects distrust in the people themselves. The marketplace is made up of the people, with each member of the public making his own decisions about how to teach and encourage children. If there are no state interventions and subsidized offerings in the marketplace, people will make decisions freely. Capital will be freed with which moms and dads can make decisions about where to send their children for their education. The best way to allocate resources is the free-market. State intervention premised on funding by compulsory tax demands creates friction, waste, inefficiency, and cartel economics, which favor politically connected businesses and those who, smartly and intelligently, get government contracts.

Real respect: Let people decide

➤ If Mayor Jim Coppinger and the county commission truly respected the people who put them in office, they would instead proposed a 50 percent tax cut. Such a cut would dramatically reorganize the spending priorities among the bureaucrats who make their livings off the taxpayer’s dime. Needed programs would survive, bogus programs and offerings would be cut. Needless employees would be fired, and needful staff members would be kept and encouraged in their jobs.

The problem with public education is its overabundance of money, not the lack of money.

Most of the county's bonded debt goes for he state's school system operating in the county.

Most of the county’s bonded debt goes for he state’s school system operating in the county. (Graphic CAFR Hamilton County 2016)

➤ The old guard commitments to capital structures and their repair fails to look into the future far enough. With the internet, YouTube, Khan Academy, homeschooling and decentralization taking place in many sectors, why does the government continue thinking about old solutions such as classroom teachers and capital investment in buildings and new roofs?

The commitments to capital investment in buildings pretends that not even books exist. Schools make sense when books and printed materials are limited. If there’s only one book, then people gather in a physical location around the person who has read the book or written it and who wishes to teach about his ideas and dispense with his wisdom.

The presence of many books and many readers diminishes the claims of the necessity of a central physical location. Yes, a group may unite at a location to hear the expert talk about the book, and they can debate him and learn from that discussion. But that’s for pleasure, self-edification — compulsion is not necessary at any point.

But things are even better than books. Now we have the Internet. Why do people have to gather in a single location under government auspices to hear about a text or a theory or an idea or a religious concept? This is what public schools are, gathering around a supposed expert who offers a very valuable and rare commodity, that is to say learning. Hamilton County teachers are state employees. They are not experts or sages. They take the lowest grade university courses and often are the lowest grade people at University of Tennessee. As grads, they become state employees in state schools and gain tenure in a snap (impossible to fire). The Internet and the wide availability of books suggest that schools that unite people in groups of taxpayer-funded buildings at great capital expense are out of date and should be abandoned.

Force test upon ‘system’

➤ In a tax cut, Hamilton County schools would undergo a test to see how they deal with market opportunities and pressure. Right now there is a guaranteed income through the tax rate. If income is guaranteed and market pressures not felt, reform at any point is unlikely, Improvement in any class or in any part of administration is less likely if funding holds, and even less likely if it rises, as Mr. Coppinger proposes.

➤ Because public schools are politically based and coercively funded, they do not have parents as the real client. The real client of Hamilton County schools is the state. The schools serve the interests of the state, and only ostensibly those of moms and dads, whose government of their children is wrested from them by the state-based professional classes. Only if schools are supported voluntarily will they be responsive to the interests of families, character development, Christian morality, entrepreneurship, free-market thinking, noncompliance with phony rules and edicts, thrift, the end of dependency, and other signal virtues that have been lost in a society built around the passivity and people management systems of the public school.

➤ Hamilton County schools suck a huge amount of capital from local economy. The school budget for fiscal 2016 was F$414.8 million, with Hamilton County providing 49.3 percent of this outlay. This money is private capital siezed for state use. Asphyxiation of local educational capital market.

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