Sunday, April 25, 2010

More Civics: Taxes

My kids are lucky.  They go to a "good" public school.  This means only 26 or 27 kids in their classes and a whole hour where an assistant comes in to help the teacher each day.   They even get PE and Music.  Spoiled rotten, those Hooligans. We raise a lot of money (Auction=Tip of the iceberg.), although not enough to establish a foundation, which I hear is the way to go if you really want to get your school set for the long term.  Year to year, we manage to scrape up enough for additional reading support staff and some specialist teacher time.

Is it me or does this just seem wrong?  We have to hustle to get some extra help to teach the kids to READ?!?  I know Lane County's unemployment is around 12%, taxable income is way down, etc.  but it seems like reading instruction would be at the top of the list.  School in general should be at the top of the list.  And I don't mean this grade-D-crap-for-lunch, four-day-week-kindergarten, half-day-on-Wednesday-because there-isn't-funding-to pay-the-faculty-to-meet-after-school-hours, no-art, no-foreign-language, no-gifted-resources, no-on-site-nurse, no-counselor, bullshit that is passing for school today.  I want old school school.  Like when I was a kid.  Homemade bread from the lunch ladies and seconds if you ate fast. I had no idea how good it was at the time.

This drives me crazy (The Man Who Lives In My House would chime in here, "Don't you mean crazIER?).  Crazier.  Yes, because I'm posting about political stuff on my blog.  Those I''m about to offend, forgive me.  You're probably surprised I haven't gone off sooner.

If you live here in Oregon, you may be aware that we (barely) passed tax measures 66 / 67 in January.  Any income above $250,000 (per household) is now taxed at an additional 2%.  If you make $249,999.99, your taxes are the same. If you make $250,001.00, you pay an addtional $.02 a year for the next five years, and .$.01 per year after that.  The idea is that the weatlthiest Oregonians (98th%tile and above) will help get us through the recession and into recovery.  This is an inexact explanation.  Here's a link if you want more:

I bet you've already guessed that I voted yes.  I campaigned for it, actually, and donated a little money to support a grassroots organization (Stand For Children) that was working to get it passed.

Tax time has come and gone and damn! if I haven't heard a lot of moaning about having to write additional checks.  I'm surprised anyone is complaining.  Remember what I said about our very high unemployment?  Maybe you are (a) lucky enough to have a job, and (b) lucky enough that that job puts you in the top 2% of wage earners in the state.  Also (if you're complaining out loud...), do you really want everyone to know what tax bracket you're in?  There are better than 1/10 odds that your neighbor just got downsized.  He/she might harbor a tiny bit of resentment.

Quick, someone! Shut me up! Kick me under the table!  Too late.

OK fellow citizens, comrades, if you will,  IT'S RANT TIME! Here I go:
     Who is not in favor of educating the next generation(s)?
     Who doesn't think it's important to learn to read?
     Who hates libraries?
     Who thinks homeless people don't need help?
     Why pay police?  Teachers? Public health workers? Social workers?
No show of hands.  I thought not.

Here's the deal, comrades--those who's heads are well above water--maybe you're even higher and dryer because you've benefitted from the spend-less save-more sociological mood.  You are smart, sensible, HARDWORKING folk, and you know this:  A FUNCTIONING SOCIETY IS NOT FREE.

ALL kids (hooligans AND regular) need to be educated.  ALL people need access to healthcare--and not just via the ER.  ALL our railroads need to be brought into the modern era (I want a high-speed from LA to Seattle!) ALL of us need incentives to go solar.  NAME A SOCIAL ILL!  Let's solve it.

It's going to take two things:  Ingenuity and MONEY.  If you're out there and have some money, please don't be a whiney pee-pants about paying more taxes--if you must protest, lobby for more allocation of available funds to schools, or whatever part of the public sphere matters to you.

Tomorrow we return to our usual antics and hijincks.
Thank you for your attention.


  1. Man your school does sound like it needs help. I think there are assistants for all the classes at my son's school. The crap thing at his school is that due to a big population surge there are at least 10 or more classes being held in "learning pods" i.e. trailers just south of the main school building.

    My husband leans conservative (but jokes about how he somehow always ends up attracting liberal friends, and wife- though I've always been one of those slacker neutral types) AND he has actual tea party (no lie) relatives down the street (they are really nice as long as you don't bring up politics, which I never do)... so I hear a lot of the bitching and moaning about taxes and the fate of our country. I do think they'd be a lot happier if they had more say about where the money goes.