The Structural Deficit

April 13, 2011 at 12:14 am 9 comments

Texas legislature

Image by johnkoetsier via Flickr

What is a structural deficit? Well, it’s why we here in Texas may soon be firing thousands of teachers and school workers. It’s why social services are going to suffer across the board. But since that doesn’t move the hearts of the most far right wing politicians, I’ll put it in a language they can understand.

When you cut taxes without bringing in revenue to make up for the costs and you spend at the same rate, eventually something has got to give. The Republicans get that. It’s not that they don’t. They just want the people who can least afford to suffer the consequences to bear the brunt of the burden.

There’s no talk of increasing corporate taxes or bringing back the old property tax rates that used to fund our spending. Instead, the Republicans want to cut funding to schools. Why not? Their children will be well schooled regardless. The richest of the rich send their children to private schools. Why should they care about how well other children are educated? It won’t affect their children.

But this is so stupid and short sighted that we should wonder about the quality of these lawmakers’ own educations. For a state that supposedly loves big business, this state seems to have forgotten that businesses need workers. Those workers need to have basic educations. Even working in retail requires one to be able to count change.

In 2006 the Texas state legislature and Rick Perry created a structural deficit by causing less money to go in the coffers than we were spending. We can fix this. How?

Well, we can say that it’s unacceptable for our children’s educations to suffer because of some lawmakers’ fiscal irresponsibility. We can remind politicians like Ron Paul that the state constitution says that the state has a duty to fund public education. We can remind the legislators that firing teachers and school workers and social services professionals will raise our unemployment rate to above 10% and cause a further drag on the economy with unemployment benefits and other seemingly unforeseen consequences.

We can tell our legislators that they have a duty to our children and our economy. That duty is clear. Education has to be a priority. It is the only way to prosperity, both individually and collectively. Doing anything less is nothing short of moral bankruptcy.  And Rick Perry should be ashamed of himself. I don’t know how he sleeps at night.

Let’s run our state like a business. When the costs of a business increase, then the prices of its goods and services have to rise accordingly. The state of Texas should be no different. You can tell Rick Perry what you think by clicking on the last link.


Entry filed under: Current Events, Education, Human Rights, Money and Finances, Politics, Social Commentary. Tags: , , , , , , , .

A Woman Under the Influence What Age Parenthood?

9 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Mirco Romanato  |  April 24, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    Where the Constitution of the State of Texas tell there is a duty to fund public schools?
    I didn’t found any. In the text there is no “edu” or “school” or “instr”.

    The unemplyement will only raise after the firing of public teachers, public social workers and public school employees if they are so inept to be unable to find a productive job and are not only parasites.

    If people,families mind you, move in Texas from places like California (where the climate is much better) a reason exist: less taxes, less regulations, more freedom.

    • 2. Author  |  April 25, 2011 at 11:24 pm

      Hi Mirco,

      The Constitution of the State of Texas is bigger than just Article 1, the Bill of Rights, to which you linked. Take a look here, if you’d like to see where our Constitution guarantees public education. Every state in the United States offers a public education.

      The reasons why people live in Texas and not in California are multiple and complex, much as the decision to live in Florence rather than Tuscany could also be multi-faceted and complicated. For one thing, people’s families of origin and their location can make a difference. Also, property rates are much higher in California, for one thing. There are many other reasons that I could name. And actually, in Austin, where I live, the climate is great. A little hot in the summer perhaps. But then again we don’t have problems with earthquakes or mudslides. There are good reasons for living in Texas, just as there are for living in California. Perhaps if you ever came to visit America you could experience that for yourself.

      The point of this piece, Mirco, is not whether or not public school teachers will be willing to look for work. The point is about the welfare of our children. We need teachers in the classroom where they belong. Do I think they’re qualified and even willing (if unemployed) to look for other work, if other work is available? Yes, I do. We’re talking about motivated professionals with college degrees. These are not “welfare mothers.”

      The way the economy runs currently is based on the fact that we have jobs for teachers. If teachers are laid off, then there will have to be a subsequent creation of jobs for which teachers are qualified that will allow them to be employed. That only makes sense, and that creation of jobs is not going to happen overnight. In the meantime, they will qualify for unemployment, which they are entitled to receive, since they have paid into the system during the time that they were employed.

      It’s hard to understand the subtleties of politics and culture when looking at a foreign country through the lenses of your own cultural biases. I hope I’ve done better justice to my treatment of Italy than you’ve shown in your comments today about Texas.

      • 3. painlord2k  |  May 1, 2011 at 8:28 pm

        I hope I’ve done better justice to my treatment of Italy than you’ve shown in your comments today about Texas.

        You showed that you know Italy only from the lens of the MSM.
        Stop taking your information from the MSM.

      • 4. Author  |  May 5, 2011 at 10:58 pm

        This is where I receive my news from in America. I get it from CNN, The Huffington Post,, NPR, the BBC, sometimes Al-Jazeera. I regularly read Vanity Fair and The New Yorker. And I check out The New York Times on my iPod. All of these are respected news sources. But I guess you’d prefer that I get my news from Fox.

        Forgive me. But you sound very, very politically conservative. No wonder you feel the need to defend Berlusconi. Are you a Fascist?

        I’m a registered Democrat. We’re unlikely to ever agree on anything.

  • 5. painlord2k  |  May 1, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    I read (not all) the link you give:
    It is interesting it talk about “Public Free School”
    It never state they must be “government public free school”.
    You could have private but open to the “public” free for the students (paid for by the government) schools.
    Just create a voucher system where every child have a voucher of 6.000 $ (around what a child education cost annually to the government now) and parents can choose the school where use it. And allow private schools to be set up freely.
    This would work perfectly for the children but not for the unions.
    The worst schools would lose children and the best would gain them. The children and the parents decide, every one for himself. If a school don’t do its job, another private school will see the opportunity to set up shop near and profit. and

    • 6. Author  |  May 5, 2011 at 10:54 pm

      You can’t pay private school tuition on $6000 in the United States. I don’t know what it costs in Italy. That might buy you a carton of milk here. And then a whole bunch of children grow up uneducated. But who cares, right? That’s someone else’s problem, mainly the poor people’s, and who cares about them? It doesn’t sound like you do.

      • 7. painlord2k  |  May 5, 2011 at 11:54 pm

        Maybe, now I understand: you tell me private schools cost more than 6000 $ years of tuition?

        this is contingent of the place and market request:
        “Private School Tuition

        Private school tuition costs range widely depending on two essential factors: where the school is located and what type of private school it is. All schools listed with clearly list tuition costs. You can sort through listings based on your budget or use our search engine to put a ceiling on the tuition you are able to or want to pay.

        Private school costs may surprise you, in some cases. Quite a number of schools that list with us have tuition starting under $4,000 per year for elementary levels. Independent private schools in provinces that provide some government funding may even have yearly tuition rates below $1000.

        Private school tuition rates: in general
        In general, boarding schools where the tuition covers boarding fees are the most expensive private schools. This will be especially true if the school is located in a city like Vancouver or Toronto where real estate prices are high. Religious schools generally have the lowest tuition rates among private schools; parents will often send their children to these schools while compromising other lifestyle choices.

        As a broad generalization, you might say that a Christian school in a small town on the prairies or in northern Ontario is likely to have a low tuition rate, while a boarding school in the heart of a large metropolis will be among the most expensive private schools. Prestigious boarding schools cost in the range of $40,000 to $50,000 per year (and more). “

  • 8. painlord2k  |  May 5, 2011 at 11:49 pm

    The cost of public schools in US is around 6.500$/year per pupil.
    In Italy is around 7500 €/year
    The US can pay 6000$/year per pupil, it already do it.
    Just allow a bit of competition in the market for education and the costs will be much lower. Homeschoolers have costs around 500$/year per child (if they have more than one) and many of them, currently, are normal blacks people trying to avoid their children to go to a war zone.

    I don’t understand because the money for education can not follow the pupil and must be the child to follow the money. The child and the parents have the greater interest in him to learn well. Let them spend the money as they feel fit. If the teachers fail, let the parents change the teachers.

    Obviously this don’t allow politicians and activists to use the school to indoctrinate the children. I think this is because homeschooling and private schools are wrong and evil.

  • 9. painlord2k  |  May 6, 2011 at 12:12 am

    This is where I receive my news from in America. I get it from CNN, The Huffington Post,, NPR, the BBC, sometimes Al-Jazeera. I regularly read Vanity Fair and The New Yorker. And I check out The New York Times on my iPod. All of these are respected news sources. But I guess you’d prefer that I get my news from Fox.

    This is so “navel gazing”.
    Fox too is fed from the same sources as NYT and others. They could spin the story a bit to the right, but usually between the reality and the reported news the difference is large and often oversimplified.

    Who do you think they take their news from or have things explained? From Italian journalists working for a newspaper or a magazine of one of the many parties. Usually the leftist one.

    Forgive me. But you sound very, very politically conservative. No wonder you feel the need to defend Berlusconi. Are you a Fascist?

    Actually I’m an Anarcho-Capitalist (see Rothbard, Mises). So I’m very odd in Italy. We are few and far. Count nothing at all. I vote Berlusconi (or Lega Nord, sometimes) because they are the best the market offer (the others go from bad to worse), not because I agree with all they do.

    I’m a registered Democrat. We’re unlikely to ever agree on anything

    From what I read here you would agree with the PD (Partito Democratico) that is the left party and was the PCI (Communist Party of Italy). The same people, all their lives doing politics. At least Berlusconi started after he was fifty years old. He have a life outside of the politics and is hated because he is an alien in politics (like was Bossi).


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