Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Rick Scott plan: pay for jobs, charge the children

(Fair warning: I am going to ask you to do something at the end of this post.)

It's a shell game.

Tax is negative money. But it can be moved around like its positive counterpart. Watch the cards as they move. Nothing up my sleeve, gang. Who's a player?

Bean counters are good like that. They would never come out and say something so hideous as "Hey boys and girls, let's give massive tax breaks to weapons companies and make the children and the teachers of this state pay for it!"

No. They will give you a big spread sheet, and they will claim "no cuts are coming from the general fund to education." Meanwhile they are trying to change the game to reduce the property tax rate charged for schools at the local level to pay for those breaks.

To hear some people talk, and these would be the Rickologists, the Aynrandians who despise taxes and little children, corporations should never be taxed, for anything, ever. To these folks, corporations are really religious institutions, and how they love to worship.

Leave off education for just a minute. You don't suppose these corporations happen in a vacuum do you? Am I missing something? Do they not also benefit from police, fire, waste removal, electricity, city water and roads? Are not these services helpful to them as they achieve a profit? Shouldn't they pay for something?

Here's the shell game at work. An example of tax breaks, really not achieving anything of permanence, save some road realignment in one city.

The city of Melbourne Florida gave an initial tax break to a weapon's corp of $85,000 for it to move a division from a neighboring town, Palm Bay, about five mile to the south. The move was supposed to bring in 10 high paying new jobs, said Mayor Harry Goode, Jr. And the city council fell into line. And so did the large newspaper.  The city also received a grant of $565,000 in state funds to make it happen with necessary road changes. Yay!

But it was embarrassingly revealed that another 17 high paying jobs were actually eliminated in the move. 

Yes, they didn't want to say anything about that, until one of the people who had been fired, a woman who lost a job of $90,000 a year named  Heike Albert, came before the Melbourne city council and said through her tears, " I can't understand why you are giving (the company) this money!" 

Net result? Minus seven, high paying jobs. Egg on faces, priceless.

Hush little children. Don't think about that.

On the upside, many contracts for construction were opened. But this was 2009 and that money, the permitting fees and so on, has long since worked its way through the system. Well, apart from the loan interest which is still buzzing along, but banks still remain tight fisted with us so it hasn't seeped back out into circulation.

The high paying jobs, that were supposed to continue to sustain the economy? Minus seven. One city benefited slightly while the adjacent town, now has a nearly empty building, which had, originally, also been constructed, and its nearby traffic modified, with tax breaks, and state road grants.

The story is true. The company is DRS/Finmeccanica. This was one of the last news stories this writer ever worked on as a newspaper reporter. Coincidence? Who knows.

The point is, the people who got rich here remain nameless, and the extent to which they were enriched, so too. The most obvious beneficiary of taxpayer largess was the corporation that had no trouble canning another 17 employees while it was receiving a warm handshake for bringing in jobs.


Who can argue with that? What are you, a communist? You want to argue with a move that will "bring jobs" to the city? What's wrong with you?

Shell game.

More to the DRS story. DRS also receives more than $500,000 in additional tax breaks over the next five years. They sold out to an Italian firm, Finmeccanica in 2009 when all this atta-boy money lending, happened. 

So the company that was raised up on the mother's milk of U.S. taxpayer money, and state taxpayer money for improvements, for bringing in jobs now is wholly-owned by an even bigger weapons company in Italy. And all the wonderful technological know-how, developed here in the USA, is now shared openly within NATO. The nations therein, may, or may not remain friendly to the United States of America. Who knows. Ain't it sweet? Make-work? You gotta love make-work.

I feel comfortable in saying that precisely this sort of shell game is  being planned for my state on a massive scale. The Master of Ceremonies is of course, our new governor. The Deal-Cutter in chief. These deals will be cut in the comfortable confines of his private jet, at 30,000 feet, away from the prying eyes of the media. He will say the media isn't welcome on his private jet. Na-nee-na-nee-boo-boo.

And We the Sheeple, will be fed swill by the media, to placate us, and accustom us to this distasteful state of affairs; as corporate media never really pushes for Sunshine Laws. Very seldom, and only in the most glaringly obvious cases, is it ever enforced.

Back to taxes, and our education system.

When you decrease the amount of taxes going to pay for education, and then offer such massive tax breaks to the corporations you are asking the students to bear the brunt of it in the form of reduced educational opportunities.

The Rick Scotts and their parrots, all love it when the little guy, the loafer, the freeloader, gets slammed. And they really dig it when all the new jobs come in weapons fabrication. Not precisely sure what that is. Nearly a fetish for them, though, isn't it? It's damned near orgasmic to some so-called conservatives.

Rick Scott's budget is reprehensible. It is something so hideously evil, masked in some sort of self-righteous anger that makes mockery of alleged American values.

Little children, and terrorized teachers, and cheated parents, will pay for weapons manufacturing. That's how it will work out in the wash. I am fairly certain of it. They will ask you to sing the praise of God while they do it.

Who can argue the need for jobs? No one. But at the same time, who can argue the need and the right of every child to a decent, competitive public education? Rick and Co. can. And do! And apparently are doing so very successfully!

The level of outrage at this point is so mild. It crawls to call ourselves American at this point. We drag our own name through the mud, to suggest we are openly angry.

Notice our corporate invaders went right for education, first.

Would you move to a state that decided to screw up its own education system?

If you can afford private schools you would, sure. Maybe.

There's your answer. The continued division between the halves and the have-nots. The gap isn't wide enough to suit this crowd.

Where is your outrage these days? Where are you hiding it? If you are a teacher, do you love this Michelle Rhee character? What's up with her? Some failed administrator who was disgraced from two school districts is going to come in here and tell you how to do your job?

You school system has raised itself from down near bottom to within the top five in the country in very short order. It had everything to do with YOU doing your job and doing it well!

The level of documentation you must endure daily in the upkeep of our job is immense. Everything in triplicate. Your grades require instant updating on Ed-Line or whatever service it is you use.

Michelle Rhee stood up before your state legislators and urged them to make rules "empowering the parents" essentially pitting the parents against you. Who the hell is she? Does she know how empowered the parents are already? Has she stood toe-to-toe with a helicopter parent in a Florida classroom? Has she sat with an administrator in Florida while being coached on "not humiliating" Ginny or Johnny with this phrase "be quiet!" in lieu of something more palatable, like "we're all doing this now, honey. Would you like to join us?" No.

Rhee wants to pit the parents against the teacher, strip tenure out of the picture and turn students, parents and fellow teachers into intelligence gatherers for operation "removing bad teachers".

Doesn't this happen already? Are you not working your fingers to the bone as it is? Do you eat, walk, and breathe this stuff? Don't you dream and sweat about your kids and their grades in your sleep?

Under Rhee's and Scott's plan, who the hell would sign up for this teaching stuff? What fool would subject themselves to this torture masked as a profession?

Oh, but, that's the point then, isn't it. Privitize schools, charters, vouchers and so on. And of course, destroying a university system that is, at the moment, rising to world wide prominence.

Outsiders can't stand this. Can they? No.  It goes against the narrative of "stupid Floriduh!" They can't abide anyone changing this stereotype.

If you mean to enslave a population, or make them leave, drive them from their education. Separate the young from their rightful opportunities to learn. Then bring in "more sensible" people from "the outside" and plant them in their place.

Disrupt a sense of state consciousness, state love or appreciation; state citizenry. Drones should not love where they come from. It makes it harder to move them about, doesn't it.

Colonization. Corporate colonization of course. The serfs are sent packing or asked to "bring me the grilled mahi, and a coke."

Teachers, professors, students, where are you balls? Are you going to sit there and take this shit?

Rick Scott, our governor, is slated to give the keynote speech at the Lincoln Day Dinner in Martin County on March 5. He will be appearing there as a guest of the Martin County GOP. The dinner starts at 5:30 and he is expected to speak at 7 p.m. Marriott Hutchinson Island is where this event is being held.

From  U.S.1 in Stuart find 1-A Ocean Boulevard, headed east, continue east crossing St. Lucie River, to Sewell's Point, then continuing east over the Indian River. The large hotel complex on your right as you come over the second bridge is where the event is being held.

There is parking at Stuart Beach, located another half mile or so on to the east, past Elliot Museum and the Fire Station, both on your right.

The great part about this location is the abundant sidewalk in front of the resort, the footbridge for fishing, and the foot path along the bridge itself. This entire area couldn't be more perfect for holding up signs, from perfectly legal right of way, to welcome the governor and his entourage.

Unless he approaches the event via water, he will have to read your signs. All you have to do is plan to be there and hold them up.

Now how about it?

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