The Stuff Mentality

Where Do We Draw The Line?

I read a commentary the other day that stuck in my mind and made me do some thinking before putting pen to paper. As the story went, there was a young high school senior who was selling some sort of discount coupons as a fund raiser. Pretty common occurrence if my memory serves me well. He approached some parents whose children attended a private school and they turned him down stating that they were paying for their children's schooling and were still required to pay taxes to support the public school system or words to that effect. The youngster was a bit shocked by their reply because he just couldn't wrap his head around the facts. Later he wrote a letter to the editor where he said that "paying taxes is a civic duty, and that those people were arrogant enough to view taxes as a contribution, not a responsibility."

Boy does that youngster have a lot to learn. While paying taxes may be a "civic duty," which may or may not be the case, what they are collected to fund is a horse of a different color. Besides the fact that we are required to pay taxes whether we want to or not. Let me add that if it is a civic duty to pay taxes then why are the 50% of the workers in this nation paying not one skinny penny into the federal income tax scheme? Isn't it their "civic duty" to do so using that rationale?

I didn't mind paying property taxes when my son was being educated in the public school system. But that was a long time ago and I'm still paying a rather large portion of my property taxes to fund government run schools even though I don't have child one in the system. I don't see that as a civic duty. I see it for what it is - a tax. If I don't pay it my property gets a tax lien slapped on it and I am in danger of losing my property if I don't pay up. I'm once again a hostage. Why are renters also not taxed to do the same? Then there is the fact that most public schools are in the busines now of teaching a test rather than educating our children.

Not Well At All IMHO

You may not see where this is going but hang in there. Lets play pretend. Supposing that all of the sudden the majority of the people, in a lot of cases the government, decided that our housing, food, clothing, and even our cars are a necessity of life and just had to be funded by taxation. Boy would that make the 50% who pay no income tax scream bloody murder. What "necessities" are more important then becomes a question. Is the food that you eat and the clothes that you wear more of a necessity than your education? Think about that one for a minute. So lets throw a phone in on the deal because one must have that in order to secure employment. Then you have to have a car to get to work. Right? Now the FCC is proposing to provide free internet service to some folks because that is now a necessity. Really? I pay for mine so I'm supposed to help pay for someone else to have it too?

All of the sudden in this nation what is a "privilege" is crossing the line and becoming a "right?" The really sad state of affairs are there are those who walk among us who think that our taxes should pay for those horses too. In fact, they are being provided "luxuries" that are being labeled as "necessities." Since when? Check out the welfare rolls then check out how long some strap hangers have been on the government dole and why.

The incident that I am speaking of occurred in Georgia. Lets take a look at something that is going on there in the public school system. The public school system in Cobb County is paying out $63 million dollars so that every student and every teacher has a lap top computer. So it's the tax payer's "civic" responsibility to make that happen? If so, why? As a parent, if I want my child to have a lap top shouldn't I be required to run down to Best Buy in a jiffy and get them one? If not, why not? I'm not too fond of having a guilt trip laid on me, or other tax payers, because someone is confusing "wants" and "needs." That's another line that seems to be crossed more and more in our society.

One response to the student in question here had a writer accusing students who attend private schools as “BMW-driving, uniform-wearing, spoiled elitists.” Now I wonder if that letter writer has ever sat outside of a public school and seen the types of cars those students wheel out of the parking lot. When is an elitist not an elitist? I attended private school myself back when and my folks did without many things in order to ensure that I got a quality education and they weren't driving the latest model cars either. It's called sacrifice and I thank them for that now.

I'm fond of saying the following and I say it often, "It's always easier to spend other people's money than it is to spend your own." The federal government right now is a prime case in point. They are spending our money, which we don't really have either, wastefully, wantonly and evidently shamelessly from the appearance of it. So now we're going to label it our "civic duty" to continue to let them squander our tax dollars? It's a civic duty to require property owners to educate other people's children? No, that is socialism and we see it in action concerning the education of our youth.

I suggest to you that we get the federal government out of the business of dictating how our children are educated and return that responsibility to the state's and citizens where it belongs. Of course, I'm a 10th Amendment guy and realize that without the inclusion of that amendment the US Constitution wasn't going to be ratified. That's history and we need to start paying more attention to how and why this country was founded and stop confusing what is a "want" and what is a "need."

If Obama wants to streamline the US government lets see him step up to the plate and abolish the Department of Education. Now that would be a meaningful budget cut.

Seems That Way These Days Doesn't It?

Okay now, I'm done. It's your turn...

As Always,

The Frog Prince

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Comments 30 comments

TheManWithNoPants profile image

TheManWithNoPants 4 years ago from Tucson, Az.

Up, awesome, and interesting. My property taxes in Arizona are about half what they are in Texas, so that's kind of a tender subject. I agree with you. This does seem a bit socialistic. Like you, not only do I not have a kid in the system anymore, but I'm paying for a system that works poorly at best unless your first language is Spanish. Well, that sounds a little bitter. Strike the last part of that statement, it may come back and bite me. Texas has either the highest or second highest property tax in the union with not enough to show for it.

You the man!

Jim


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 4 years ago

Believe me so many of the 50 percent who pay no taxes would be paying if they were truthful about their income. So many of them in private business, fudge the books and doing so makes them eligible for all sorts of benefits, like government loans for education. The salaried guy who gets his taxes taken out before he even sees it gets nothing. As for that district in Georgia, well the taxpayers shouldn't be paying for computers. If the money isn't already in the budget fundraise and ask the parents how they feel about the computer demand ,but don't ask people who don't have children in the school to dig into their pockets. Way too many people have their hands out. Reminds me of Greece. Up and awesome.


Old Poolman profile image

Old Poolman 4 years ago from Rural Arizona

FP - For a student studying Computer Science or Programming, a computer would be an absolute need. To buy computers for those who can barely read or write is a crime.

My property taxes have more than doubled in the last 10 years, and you guessed it, most of this increase is going to the public schools. My children are far past school age, but I still pay to keep these schools open. Is there an answer to this rip off of the tax payers? Not if you want to keep your house.


Naomi's Banner 4 years ago

You know this really hits home with me because over fifty percent of the population where I live is illegal immigrants that can't pay for their education and the school system has had to build new buildings that we voted down mind you while the elderly home owner foots the bill. My house payments are almost double what they were in the beginning when I signed the contract stating what I could pay monthly and the convenience of the taxes added in to the payment and as the tax goes up to foot the bill for new buildings and equipment that finds it way in the dumpster when they want to replace it instead of donating to schools of greater need and buying fancy electronics to teach our children so they can hire teachers with little to no certification. Now I have to take on an extra job just to pay for these lil extras that non citizens are enjoying at my expense! Oh boy you hit s nerve with this one mr Frogger my friend!!


The Frog Prince profile image

The Frog Prince 4 years ago from Arlington, TX Author

OP - You have to pay for those illegals to go to school ya know!

Naomi - I didn't mean to hit a nerve, just to inform.

The Frog


poetvix profile image

poetvix 4 years ago from Gone from Texas but still in the south. Surrounded by God's country.

School districts across the country waste money like no one's business. I know. I work in one. So do students and parents. Everyday I see Hummers, Lexus and other overly expensive cars driven by students, teenagers who have never worked and don‘t even pay for their own gas.

I pay property taxes but I have no say in the curriculum that is taught. I had to pay tuition to go to a local college that my property taxes supported. I now have to pay for insurance to keep my job teaching what I have zero input on. The majority of parents of students in public schools do not pay property taxes. They are renters. Many don't even buy supplies such as paper and pencils. I am required to do that. Education is in just as much trouble as the rest of the systems in our country. As long as the people who don't pay get everything for free more and more won't pay until such time as the entire system crashes. I think most of us know that will be any day now.

Sir Frog, outstanding hub!


Stu 4 years ago

This is really a complex issue. I totally agree with getting the feds out of eduction. But how to fund education is not a simple slam-dunk question. I think the issue of property taxes is a little off point, because the education portion of your property tax could be eliminated, and it would just cause an increae in your state income tax so the money could be sent to the various municipalities. And renters do pay property tax (it's built into your rent to cover what the property owner has to pay his own property taxes).

The real issue is whether K-12 education should be considered a right or not. At present of course it's more than a right, it's a mandate, and everyone who owns or rents living space pays for it. Were it to be considered merely an option, then the education portion of property taxes could be eliminated, and if you couldn't afford to pay for your childrens' education, then you're out of luck (unless some kind of voucher system were created, but now we're back to property or some other tax to fund them).

There are two big questions here. First, from a moral standpoint, should education be a right or simply an optional "consumer purchase?" I guess the answer depends on who you ask. Second, does compulsory eduction pay for itself? I.e., does making K-12 education available to everyone, even those who pay minimal or no property tax due to having very small homes, or living with others who pay the property tax, pay for itself over time by increasing the likelihood of employment and decreasing the likelihood of long term welfare payments? I don't know the answer, but still the question is important.


Mordecai Jones 4 years ago

Well - why don't you do like I did? Texas property tax law has several loopholes that can be exploited. I live here in Texas and I don't pay any of the school tax bite - zero!

School taxes in this county are 65% of the property tax bite and of zero benefit to me so I found a way to just not pay any school tax at all - so now I feel the school tax is just fine for me.


The Frog Prince profile image

The Frog Prince 4 years ago from Arlington, TX Author

poetvix - I thought of you several times as I wrote this wondering what you would say. Yeppers! Now and I know and as usual you don't hold back.

Stu - In most states property taxes support the public schools. Some states use property taxes and income tax revenue. Since renters and illegal aliens don't pay property taxes how can you purport that they are paying into the public school systems?

Mordeci - Good to see you. Since I've known you for a while and know somewhat what you do, I am sure you know the angles. I live up here In Arlington, TX now so I'll get in touch with you off forum and you can tell me the ins and outs.

The Frog


LibsRlosers 4 years ago

I wish there was a way for everyone without children to campaign to end these taxes we are forced to pay. I never had kids and I'm tired of my hard earned dollars going to schools, not to mention welfare programs that reward those who can't keep hatching them out knowing the taxpayer has to fund them. If you want kids, then pay for them and that includes schools.


justateacher profile image

justateacher 4 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

While funding for education is and always will be a sore subject with no real answers to please everyone, I still believe that school should be provided for every child and that it should be a quality education for all. I believe that every district should have the same amount of funding and every school in the district get the same funding. In my district, we get around $4,000 per student. Some schools get more than this because they are in a low income "district." They receive nearly twice the amount as the school I work in because of some formula that says their are more low income children in those other areas. Since we have many families living with family members in our district, it appears as if our district is more affluent. Actually the opposite is true. We have more children on reduced and free lunches than the other district and do not get any extra money. This means that one school gets all new technology and equipment while others are getting by with technology that is way past its prime.

And to all of you that have said "My kids are no longer in school" or "I don't have kids" as your reason not to fund education, just remember that when you were a child someone else helped to fund your education. It is a civic duty for you, just as it was someone else's civic duty when you were a child.

Also remember, I am speaking from the viewpoint as a teacher, as well as mother and grandmother. I might feel different if i were none of these.


Ghost32 4 years ago

With our current Fire Board (elected 2010) having cut the budget effectively by 16% this past year, very few citizens even noticed the drop in taxes--because the school taxes went UP by more than enough to cover that efficient, embarrassing reduction.

As for "civic duty", well, that's pretty much like the rest of the rules we live by: Arbitrarily invented by a few to impose upon the many. I pay my property taxes (and on time, too) for one reason and one reason only: Government has a bigger stick on that issue than I do and would thoroughly beat me about the head and shoulders were I to balk.


The Frog Prince profile image

The Frog Prince 4 years ago from Arlington, TX Author

justateacher - It's good to hear from another teacher on this issue. A formula is it? I have to believe that because I'm sure the DOE has a formula for everything. That's the nature of any federal bureaucracy. They pay people to invent those meaningless formulas that don't take the real people into consideration. What is laughable is that they then think they solved the problem rather than creating a larger one. We need to get the feds out of educating our children or trying to influence anything dealing with it. Now a days the federal government is a bad influence, not a good one.

Fred - Check this out and see if it exists in Arizona. See if the local or state school board has the authority to raise the millage rate up to a certain rate/point without having a referendum to do so.

The Frog


Old Poolman profile image

Old Poolman 4 years ago from Rural Arizona

I have no problem at all in helping to fund education, if indeed education is being provided. I'm told the main thrust in education today is teaching students how to pass the test that gives the school their scorecard. The No Child Left Behind program did us no favors. When I am in hiring mode I get many recent high school graduates applying who can barely fill out the simple application. One recent graduate had to bring his mother with him to fill out the paperwork. So I would have to ask if I am getting anywhere near what I am paying for?


Angela Blair profile image

Angela Blair 4 years ago from Central Texas

Hey Frog -- great Hub and right on target. I lived in Louisiana for a period of time and was amazed THEN that the powers that be in that state were arguing whether or not a student had to read at an eighth grade level in order to graduate from high school! In Texas we're struggling to keep up with educating the illegal aliens among us and consequently our property taxes are going up, up and away. Best, Sis


drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida

I think you hit more nerves with this hub, Froggy, than a blind dentist with a drill in his hand who suffers from Parkinson's.

The Dept. of Education needs to be educated ... no, strike that. Needs to be eradicated. Thanks for this meaningful hub.


Elani-Lee profile image

Elani-Lee 4 years ago from Los Angeles

I don't have kids, and don't intend to. I dislike children, and dislike people who have a million kids that they can't take care of.

That being said, I do own a home, and I don't mind paying property taxes for education, if it actually is a good education (and I agree with many of the previous posters that I am not even close to getting my moneys worth). I understand that the only way to prevent uneducated entitled children from becoming ignorant uneducated adults that just pop out more entitled kids is to educate them. I would, however, like to see education reformed so that kids in the US actually learn again.


The Frog Prince profile image

The Frog Prince 4 years ago from Arlington, TX Author

Elani - Public schools sure aren't giving us any bang for our buck. Interesting the way you put it but I think you may be onto something.

The Frog


Old Poolman profile image

Old Poolman 4 years ago from Rural Arizona

The really frightening part is today's children are tomorrows leaders. With the quality of public school education we are seeing today, this may not be something to look forward to.


LibsRLosers 4 years ago

justateacher. Sorry but I will never agree with your statement ''It is a civic duty for you, just as it was someone else's civic duty when you were a child.'' My civic duty? Really? That's a true liberal entitlement statement if I ever heard one. It was MY parents job to ensure that I received an education. No one else. Just as it was their job to make sure that I was fed and had a roof over my head. They didn't pop out babies that they could not afford. I see the waste in the school systems yet schools keep sticking their hands out for more and more. Those who have kids should pay for them. Do you think it's fair for senior citizens, of which I am not, to have to scrape to purchase their meds after paying their high property taxes? Education needs reform. If schools were turned over to the private sector, you would see a huge change.

Frog-My area, as you are well aware, can raise the school taxes on their own without a referendum due to some loop hole. Taxes doubled during the recession...doubled. They spend money like it's growing on trees. Well, I'm tired of my tree being picked.


The Frog Prince profile image

The Frog Prince 4 years ago from Arlington, TX Author

OP - This is the first time that the nation we have loved will turn over to the next generation the ashes that we leave in our wake. Sad commentary to say the least...

The Frog


Sunnie Day 4 years ago

Hi Frog,

You know I tend to shy away from commenting, as I sometimes feel inadequate to comment about political discussions but I do read and try to learn all I can. Being a retired school nurse for our low-income district I do not mind paying taxes for the new little school that sits a couple miles from our house. Before it was built, little ones were loaded on a bus at 6:30 in the morning to go to another town to school. They would get home about 4:30. That is a long day for a little one. I also have sat in meetings where the district attempted to find money for programs that they did not have, as the overhead to run a school was so great. The money was stretched as far as they could. Teachers spend endless hours of their own time to help these kids. They are given about 50.00 to buy supplies for their classrooms and use much of their own money. The programs I have seen the money go to was to help children learn English and yes the families had green cards and were in the country legally. Computers were bought and programs to help a special needs child learn to read that may have had trouble with the traditional teaching. I have a deep respect for the schools that do need funding and more money. Where the money needs to come from is a puzzle to me. In our town, the cap was lifted finally so we could build a new school but it did cause taxes to go up but finally the district could buy new buses and give a much needed pay raise to teachers that had done without. I do not know the answers...My children went through the same schools. Since working in the school system, I only see those little faces and know if I did not pay taxes that the school could not continue to be funded. We need to keep good teachers and invest in our children whether they are ours or not. I do not like paying taxes either and each time my house payment goes up I cringe but until someone comes up with a better plan then I am not sure what can be done. I have seen children come to school that do not know their whole name. The parents have to take some responsibility too for their education. That poor teacher is dealing with many obstacles. One teacher to a class of 25 children that are unruly from day one. It is getting worse and worse. Parents who have no respect for the teachers and have no thought to cuss them out in the hall because little Johnny's cell phone was taken away. He was in first grade but they complain because they have no money for a school lunches and he gets reduced lunches. I know where our money went on the medical side. We paid for a couple children’s infected teeth to come out, a couple emergency room visits, AED’s for each school, offered free flu vaccines, bought coats, clothes, and shoes for kids that did not have any. We bought school supplies for kids that did not have any, paid for a couple doctor visits for sick children that their parents could not afford a doctor visit. Every year we are given a budget of about 500.00 to last the whole year. That means, if there is any left, I may get to attend some training. I may not understand all the government and political sides, I only know that this retired school nurse has been on the inside and money is not hanging out of the pockets of our districts. I do agree reform is needed but I think there is much more waste going on in other parts of our government and their priorities are just screwed up. Sorry did not mean to go on..but this is one subject close to my heart.

Sunnie


The Frog Prince profile image

The Frog Prince 4 years ago from Arlington, TX Author

SD - Think outside the box for a few. Money does not grow on trees on the local and state levels. It does in Washington DC. The DOE is funded through who? Abolish the DOE as it is unneeded and no more than a massive bureaucracy which plays "if you don't do this then you don't get that." The "that" they are talking about was ours in the first place. Return the money to the states and let us down here in peon land take care of the business of educating our children without the useless, and usually expensive, mandates of the federal government.

The Frog


Sunnie Day 4 years ago

Thanks Frog...Thank you helping me understand the "money tree" Returning it to the states does make sense. Each program within the state could decide what is needed for their schools. I would think each state would be more familiar with the needs of poorer counties, inner cities, etc.. Am I on the right track?Is there really any chance of the goverment abolishing DOE? Where do we come in and what can we do as citizens to push a state run educational system?? Just throwing some questions out there to get a better handle on this! :) I do see when you say..."if this is not done then..you will not get this..."

Have a great day!

Sunnie


The Frog Prince profile image

The Frog Prince 4 years ago from Arlington, TX Author

SD - First thing we need to do is rid this nation of Obama and the career politicians that have been sitting up there for literally decades robbing this nation blind. This nation being "We, the People..." rather than "They, Themselves..."

A return to the US Constitution has to be done in order for this Republic to survive. That takes putting people into office who will adhere to it, not find any and every opportunity they can to find a way around what it specifically says.

The next is to clean up activist judges who want to make law from the bench. The role of the judiciary is not to make law. That is what we have the legislative branch for.

So how do we do that? We get involved. You know I am very involved. I will write and talk to anyone who will listen. It's time to shake people out of their apathy. The 10th Amendment was purposely placed into the Bill of Rights. If it had not been included the US Constitution would not have been ratified. That's history, not conjecture.

Lets put "limited" back with "federal government" as the US Constitution specifies. Get involved Missy. This coming election is the pivotal point in whether we want to see this Republic continue. That seems rather important to me SD. People sometimes call me a radical but I'm not. I believe in the US Constitution and the US of A.

The Frog


justateacher profile image

justateacher 4 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

LibsRlosers - Just because I believe that all children deserve to be educated fairly and that tax money should pay for it, does not mean that I am a "true liberal" that believes in entitlement. I happen to believe that people should have to work for what they want. I do not believe that families should be able to live for generations on welfare or other social programs. That being said, I do believe that every American citizen is entitled to a quality education. I also believe that the education of our young is an obligation to help provide that education. As I said before, you (if you are an American that went to public schools) had your education provided to you, not only by your parents, but also all of the great citizens that lived in the city or town you grew up in.

Do I believe that the education system needs to be reformed? Yes - it definitely does. At this time, because of No Child Left Behind, teachers are forced by the people in charge to teach to the test. We are not given the freedom to teach students in the way they need to be taught. It is becoming ridiculous.


Old Poolman profile image

Old Poolman 4 years ago from Rural Arizona

We need to face the fact that not all people, or children, are created equal. Our best and brightest students are not getting the best education possible for a number of reasons. One reason of course being the wonderful "No Child Left Behind" thingy. We also have students who are just occupying a chair in school, and have no burning desire to learn much of anything. I would rather see these less than interested students given a choice of a trade school where they could learn some skills that would help them obtain employment. The brighter students should be given the best education money can buy. To graduate from college owing thousands in student loans is criminal. If they can find a job, it takes them years to pay off these loans that were necessary to provide their education. We waste huge amounts of money trying to educate students who could either care less about education, or just plain don't have the brain power to learn even the basics. Would they not be better off learning some kind of trade? Rising college costs are keeping many truly deserving students from getting higher education, and that is our loss.


charles wade profile image

charles wade 4 years ago from Chicago, Illinois

It will never make sense to me how people who desire to be free could support a government education system. There will always be some people who want everything they can get for free even when they know it is their fellow citizens paying for it. These are selfish people who call other people selfish because they think there is a better way to do things. A way that doesn’t separate and divide a nation the way we see our nation being divided today. I do believe that a competitive private educational system would produce far greater results then we see today. We have a nation of children being left behind, at a ridiculously unsustainable cost burden we cannot afford.


Old Poolman profile image

Old Poolman 4 years ago from Rural Arizona

When it becomes apparent the government run education is failing, they just lower the bar and things look good again. Rather than figuring out what is wrong and fixing it, we just expect less from the system. This is not fair to the children.


The Frog Prince profile image

The Frog Prince 4 years ago from Arlington, TX Author

Okay ladies, lets not have a cat fight here on my Hub. I think there is a bit of miscommunication going on here. justateacher I don't think you're a liberal myself and understood exactly what you said and everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I have also known LibsRLosers for years and can attest to the fact that she isn't too fond of having to put up with what is going on where she lives because the School Board there is enough to piss the Pope off. The point is that "I report. You decide." I welcome all comments but at the same times lets try to keep it real. Fair enough?

OP - Actually we probably are all created equal in this nation, at least according to the US Constitution, but as many have noted - what you do with that right is up to you and those who raise you. I was raised with a strong value system but that seems to not be the case too often as I look at what I see going on today. Part of the problem, as I see it, is that parents have abrogated their responsibilities as parents and expect the teachers to be the surrogate parents. That seems rather dangerous to me and we are seeing the results.

Charles - I'm in your corner. A voucher system might be needed to help straighten some of this mess out.

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