January 10th, 2020
Quote of the Week: “There will be no haggling with the House over Senate procedure. We will not cede our authority to try this impeachment. The House Democrats’ turn is over. The Senate has made its decision.”
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R – KY)
Quote of the Week: “We’ve been spending more and more money and getting the same poor results.”
In This Issue:
REAL PROBLEM, BAD SOLUTION
Two distinguished Minnesotans, former Supreme Court justice Alan Page, and Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank president Neel Kashkari, have been raising awareness of the achievement gap in Minnesota’s education system.
The achievement gap, the gap in test scores and learning between white students and minority students, is a very real and pressing problem.
Unfortunately, their proposed solution is almost as bad as the problem.
Essentially, the two have proposed amending the state’s constitution, which mandates a “uniform” system of public education, to mandate a “quality” education.
Put another way, they want to enshrine in the constitution an extremely vague mandate which in turn will open the floodgates to litigation, which in turn will empower courts, not the legislature, to run the state’s public schools.
Who knows what the outcome would be under that scenario? Courts could order all sorts of spending increases to satisfy their subjective definition of “quality.” Those spending increases, of course, would mean higher and higher taxes.
Moreover, courts have proven they would be no better than the legislature at running education policy.
And while there is no doubt that the teachers’ union, Education Minnesota, owns democrats in the legislature, let’s not forget that our judges are subject to the ballot box, meaning the union could just as easily buy judicial races in the same way they have bought legislative seats.
The bottom line is that the achievement gap hasn’t been caused by inadequate wording in the Minnesota Constitution. Instead, the problem is multi-faceted but primarily caused by a couple of big factors.
First, too many minority students are coming to school not ready to learn.
They come from broken homes wracked by substance abuse, violence and other traumas.
They come from homes that lack supportive parents. We all know that some uncomfortable societal conversations are in order to discuss why so many homes in certain communities are broken, which leads to a vicious cycle of poverty, violence, and a lack of opportunity.
Basic math shows that a child only spends about 12% of his time in any given year inside the walls of a school. While there are certainly problems with our education policy, it’s fair to point out that schools can only do so much to help kids.
Schools and staff are increasingly asked to step into the shoes of parents, family, and other governmental institutions when they should be focused on the core mission of educating students to compete in a hyper-competitive and rapidly evolving global economy.
Sentencing so many children to a life on the sidelines on the economy is an unmitigated tragedy.
Of course, the teachers’ union bears a great deal of blame as well.
Very few taxpayers believe the cynical mantra that the union is for “the children.”
The union regularly opposes school reform and works hard to protect incompetent teachers.
No reasonable citizen believes the union is anything other than a political organization that buys politicians who, in turn, protect the status quo.
Here in Minnesota, the teachers’ union has 24 registered lobbyists in Saint Paul. 24!
In 2017 and 2018, the union spent $1.8 million on lobbying activities.
In 2018, the union spent over $5.2 million on elections.
Yeah, it’s about the kids.
Between a union that owns politicians from the school board on up to Washington, DC and kids coming from broken homes, it’s very difficult for many minority children to get a quality education.
The Watchdog, however, is all for a constitutional amendment.
This amendment would guarantee the right of school choice and give parents the right to have the education dollars follow their child to the school of their choice.
THE POOR, POOR IRS
So, what are your chances of being audited by the IRS?
According to the much-despised agency, 0.45% of tax returns were audited in 2019, down from 0.59% in 2018.
In fact, the number of audits has been declining for 8 straight years.
The IRS blames the fall in audit numbers to a reduction in employee headcount, with a reduction of nearly 30,000 employees from 2010 to 2019.
“These losses directly correlate with a steady decline in the number of individual audits during the last nine years”, whined the agency.
Yes, taxpayers need to be kept honest and that means audits.
While taxes are way too high, the law is the law.
Respect for the rule of law means following the law.
On the other hand, the IRS has suffered budget reductions at the hands of GOP legislators who are in turn holding the IRS accountable.
The IRS is paying the price for allowing itself to be weaponized by the Obama administration.
Does the name Lois Lerner ring a bell?
She was at the center of an IRS program that targeted conservative groups for maltreatment at the hands of the IRS.
In the aftermath, Republicans in Congress lost faith in the impartiality of the IRS and thus scarce taxpayer resources were directed elsewhere.
In other words, the GOP wasn’t going to countenance the IRS targeting of Americans based on their political viewpoint by giving the agency the budget it wanted.
This reminder of reprehensible IRS citizen abuse has a parallel with the current scandal engulfing the FBI, which is being investigated by a special counsel regarding very credible allegations that agents lied, mislead and withheld information from the courts in order to obtain warrants to spy on the Trump campaign.
Already, 17 instances have been identified when the FBI mislead the courts in providing the information required to obtain permission to spy on Americans, in this case those Americans being Trump campaign officials.
The next investigation report will likely further prove that the FBI sullied its reputation through being co-opted by the Obama and Clinton teams to spy on Trump.
Is there any institution the democrats won’t trash to further their partisan goals?
The IRS (Lois Lerner).
The FBI (Spy on Trump).
The Supreme Court (Trash Brett Kavanaugh).
The Office of the President (The impeachment of the day allegation).
How utterly disgusting.
Welcome to my web site!
I created this website in response to governmental waste and abuse in Anoka County.
Many taxpayers don’t know that our local governments spend millions of tax dollars every year on things like public relations teams, lobbyists, and junkets to places like Hawaii.
Since there seemed to be no place to turn for the “other side” of these issues, I created the Anoka County Watchdog. My intent is to create a one-stop-shop where concerned taxpayers can find fact-supported information and other resources to counter the governmental machine. Many people want to confront their elected officials regarding waste and abuse but feel they don’t have the information they need to make an effective argument. This web site offers that information.
Some of our elected officials in Anoka County have become arrogant and unresponsive, forgetting that they work for the very people who put them in office. It’s high time to hold them accountable for their decisions.
Harold E. Hamilton
US Mail: Anoka County Watchdog
C/O K Solutions LLC
3083 Victoria Street
Roseville, MN 55113
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