Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Promising the Impossible

The projected state budget deficit has grown to $21 billion according to a report in Monday's Chronicle. The additional deficit is being attributed to tax receipts that are lower than anticipated and increased expenditures for public schools, Medicaid, and increased health care costs for government employees and retirees.

Not surprisingly, state officials are still trying to have our cake and eat it too. They are making noises about the need to throw more money into the public education cesspool while simultaneously expressing hesitancy to raise taxes. The fact that a reasonably intelligent fourth-grader would know that this is impossible doesn't deter politicians from trying to make such promises to Texans.

If state officials were serious about balancing the budget and cutting taxes, they could do so quickly and easily by cutting spending on public education and granting more freedom to educators and parents. Simply removing state controls on education and allowing taxpayers to keep more of their money, rather than sending it to Austin to feed a bloated bureaucracy, could balance the budget and create a surplus.

Of course, this won't happen because the educational bureaucrats, along with politicians, think that they know better than parents and taxpayers. Even though those same state officials continue to demonstrate their ability to waste money, make unfulfilled promises, and turn out functional illiterates, they retain the audacity to claim that they know best.

Only the severely delusional and blatantly irrational would claim that the government could do a better job than private businesses in producing food, manufacturing computers, or virtually anything else. Yet public education remains a sacred cow, despite its repeated failings. And so, Texans had better hold on to their wallets because the children are going to need more money.

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