Today was Election Day in Cincinnati, when local residents voted on the city council, judges, the school board, and various referenda. I feel that it is always election time in Cincinnati, since I see people holding up signs on the streets throughout the year.
As far as the city council was concerned, I voted for the Republicans, but I had to do some research to find out who they actually were. The school board election was not much of a choice, since three of the four candidates were endorsed by the Democratic Party. Lest people accuse me of being unthinkingly partisan, I want to point out that I voted against the Republican-backed referenda.
On virtually every Cincinnati ballot that I have seen, there are proposals for a new tax levy. Today, we voted on levies for public schools, jails, mental health facilities, and nursing homes. I’m all for these things, but I always wonder if there is fat and bureaucracy that can be cut out before we talk about imposing new taxes. I particularly get agitated about the education issue. When I was growing up, teachers were practically the elite. They lived in nice homes and drove nice cars, so I’ve always had problems with the argument that teachers are underpaid. Moreover, many superintendents make six-figure salaries. Taxpayers are continually told to show community spirit by supporting increased funding for education. Is it too much to ask that public school professionals do the same by tightening their own financial belts?
When I was riding in a cab today, my cab driver resonated with me on these sorts of issues. “We’re already overtaxed!” he exclaimed. At the same time, he didn’t like the fact that the city council voted to shut down cheap medical clinics, which helped the poor buy medicine at a reduced price. I’m not sure if the government finances these clinics or voted to close them down for another reason. I do know that something needs to be done about health care, but I’m against a gigantic federal bureaucracy. I prefer for solutions to come from those closest to the people, preferably at the local level. So maybe I agree with having those sorts of clinics, though I hope that everything is done in a cost-effective manner (but not necessarily as HMOs do things).
Another issue on the ballot concerned sexually-oriented businesses. The proposal would have significantly cracked down on dance clubs and adult stores. I voted “yes,” and I’m sure that there are people who will call me a hypocrite or an inconsistent libertarian. I just think that communities should be able to set certain moral standards and define the kind of community that they will be.
I almost wasn’t going to vote today, but the whole election fervor got to me. Cincinnati can do that to you.
Another interesting post. I appreciate your candor in this blog.
As for the teachers, I believe that the Atlantic/Economist had articles that correlated teacher’s with salaries. Increased salaries in several countries didn’t correlate to better teaching success–c’est a dire–people that went into the teaching profession were still near the bottom of the barrel of their respective college classes. S. Korea, on the other hand, wanted teachers that went to more competitive colleges, say something like a top 50 or 75 school in America, something with higher than a 1250 SAT average, and lo and behold they ended up with brighter, hard-working teachers who performed better.
When graduate EdD programs regularly allow students with GRE scores hoving around a 1000 you know that the school administrators aren’t going to be the best readers, writers, and mathematicians themselves. They certainly won’t be smarter than the gifted students, nor will the teachers.
I’m glad to see sympathy for the poor running through your veins. My personal vote would be universal health care funded by the state/county with federal subsidies. At the more local level things seem to be a little more lean. Requiring small business to pony up all the money would sink them, and the federal government might only be marginally better than health-care profiteers, who deny “risks” and let them die or go bankrupt.
Thanks for your comments, anonymous.
I definitely agree with you on salaries. I support merit pay, which, of course, the teachers’ unions oppose. I’m glad to see that some Democrats (like Joe Biden) are open to that idea. Not that I’m a Democrat, but I like when the other side (from my perspective) thinks outside the box.
I’m not exactly a fan of universal health care myself, but I think that you have correctly identified some problems in various proposals. Requiring businesses to provide health care can sink them, yet, unfortunately, this is the proposal of many Democratic plans, and, if I’m not mistaken, Romney had the same idea as well. I also agree that the federal government would not necessarily be more compassionate. As Mike Huckabee said on Charlie Rose’s show, when you have government health care, you end up with rationing, since the government only gives out so much money. I guess what I like about cheap clinics is that they are good places for the poor to go. I wouldn’t eliminate private health care, since having the government as the sole provider eliminates competition, but it may be nice to have cheap health care as a competitor. This may contradict my criticism of SCHIP, but I’m thinking out loud.
Thanks for your comments. 🙂