The First and Last Resort of Liberals: Tax and Spend

The Clark County School District (CCSD) is one of the largest in the nation. Despite defying the Nevada state constitution requiring a two-thirds vote to increase taxes, the legislature continued a sun-setting business tax to provide for raises and more funding. Yet due to a clerical error (and the irony of failing at math while paying for education), the school has a rather severe budget shortfall which required massive lay-offs of school safety deans. This has led to the rather typical cries for more funding because this is the first and last resort of all liberals that fails to address systematic issues that money can’t solve.

This article discusses CCSD but the same calls for taxes and spending happens all over the country. For example, when you read about policy proposals from the 20 smurfs running for president, notice how many of them talk about “investments” or “resources” for problems which is politician-speak for tax and spend.

In the matter of education, the most important factor in a child’s education has nothing to do with money but with the active involvement of the parents. The most important factor the government does control is the quality of teachers, and teachers’ unions often block meaningful measures. In New York, for example, they watered down a key test of teachers’ competency and in Nevada they have avoided meaningful teaching evaluations for the better part of a decade.

There are specific things CCSD can do with their multibillion-dollar budget that will free up hundreds of millions of dollars. The legislature repealed a reform this year that will end up paying union construction workers millions of dollars more per year on school projects. Sacramento, California school districts face bankruptcy even as unions strike for more money.

Outside audits of CCSD unsurprisingly reveal a turgid bureaucracy with department supervisors that often only have one employee. Streamlining the structure will save more money to avoid cuts to personnel. The district has many people that are called double dippers. These are people that retire, but because of personnel shortages they go back to work and thus receive a pension and a paycheck at the same time. This is using a short-term fix to make long-term over-spending problems.

These few things will free up literally millions of dollars per year to keep the deans on staff and provide student safety, higher quality teachers, or any number of worthy efforts with the extra money they have. Unions that protect ineffectual workers, union members that game the system for more money, an overstuffed and over-paid bureaucracy, strike for more pay, protecting useless and over-paid staff positions, and demanding more money for projects are pretty common around the country. And instead of addressing the costs that they are exploding, their first and last response is to get more money from taxpayers who continually pay more for less in education.

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Morgan Deane

Morgan Deane is a former U.S. Marine Corps infantry rifleman. Deane also served in the National Guard as an Intelligence Analyst. He is the author of the forthcoming book Decisive Battles in Chinese history, as well as Bleached Bones and Wicked Serpents: Ancient Warfare in the Book of Mormon.

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