It was a cold day in December, approximately 1 month after the vote that defeated the Lakota School Levy when I went on the Doc Thompson show at The Big One. Two weeks earlier, the school board voted to cut the busing to over 9,000 students. Once that was announced, I received a fair amount of email proclaiming that it was my fault that busing was being cut.
This infuriated me. It’s one thing to have an intelligent discussion about budget issues. It’s quite another to have open extortion that is endorsed by organized political entities and leaving the blame on my doorstep. That is something that I will not put up with.
Doc Thompson shares with me a hope that we can cut through the extremist talk and arrive at a place where we can all have an intelligent conversation about education reform. Anybody with a brain can see that comments about cutting busing and not dealing with the excessive wage amounts is foolish. Wages and benefits comprise over 75%. Busing is less than 2% of the total budget. An intelligent group of budget analysts would obviously attack the 75% first. Not the 2%.
This led to a lively discussion on with Doc during his morning show. Click to listen to the segment.
Literally every education oriented law implemented; every mandate issued from the state has the imprint of the teacher’s unions in it, including the law that says the state must have step increases for teachers. What idiot legislature voted for that and made it a law?
That’s what we’re dealing with here folks. It’s a Ponzi scheme, except this one is created and enforced by government officials under the lobby power of the teachers union and their money. I understand that districts in Columbus pay out around $900 per teacher to the union, and that money then gets turned into political lobby power, typically toward the Democratic Party. In order for this to work, teachers need to make enough in salary to support their contributions to the union, so the union can continue to support the lobby power against the taxpayer by buying the votes of legislators. And as the wages continue to escalate in accordance with the step increases, at a rate in many cases of 9% a year, it doesn’t take long for a district to find itself in financial trouble once their tenured teachers arrive at their step increases at the same time.
That’s where Lakota finds itself. The public isn’t asking the school system to cut their budget of $160 million. We’re asking them not to let it grow any larger than that. But according to the school district, they are powerless to stop the increases to meet the step schedule, because the step increases are a state law.
What? You think calling this whole issue a Ponzi Scheme is unfair, or overly dramatic? Read below the definition of a Ponzi Scheme.
A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment operation that pays returns to separate investors from their own money or money paid by subsequent investors, rather than from any actual profit earned. The Ponzi scheme usually entices new investors by offering returns other investments cannot guarantee, in the form of short-term returns that are either abnormally high or unusually consistent. The perpetuation of the returns that a Ponzi scheme advertises and pays requires an ever-increasing flow of money from investors to keep the scheme going.Still think it’s too radical? The bail out comes in the form of property tax increases. And if you don’t pay, they’ll make sure the tax payer feels the pain. The game is intentionally made complicated so nobody can ever fix it, and the average tax payer doesn’t want to take the time to figure things out.
The system is destined to collapse because the earnings, if any, are less than the payments to investors. Usually, the scheme is interrupted by legal authorities before it collapses because a Ponzi scheme is suspected or because the promoter is selling unregistered securities. As more investors become involved, the likelihood of the scheme coming to the attention of authorities increases. While the system eventually will collapse under its own weight, the example of Bernard Madoff demonstrates the ability of a Ponzi scheme to delude both individual and institutional investors as well as securities authorities for long periods: Madoff’s variant of the Ponzi scheme stands as the largest financial investor fraud committed by a single person in history. Prosecutors estimate losses at Madoff’s hand totaling roughly $21 billion, as estimated by the money invested by his victims. If the promised returns are added the losses amount to $64.8 billion, but a New York court dismissed this estimation method during the Madoff trial.
The scheme is named for Charles Ponzi, who became notorious for using the technique in early 1920. He had emigrated from Italy to the United States in 1903. Ponzi did not invent the scheme (Charles Dickens’ 1857 novel Little Dorrit described such a scheme decades before Ponzi was born, for example), but his operation took in so much money that it was the first to become known throughout the United States. His original scheme was in theory based on international reply coupons for postage stamps, but soon diverted investors’ money to support payments to earlier investors and Ponzi’s personal wealth.
Knowingly entering a Ponzi scheme, even at the last round of the scheme, can be rational economically if there is a reasonable expectation that government or other deep pockets will bail out those participating in the Ponzi scheme.
But to intentionally mislead the taxpayers, and to force further impositions against the community with such silly cuts like busing, and special needs programs is ridiculous and deserves to be called what it is.
Again, here is the definition of extortion —-Extortion, outwresting, and/or exaction is a criminal offense which occurs when a person unlawfully obtains either money, property or services from a person(s), entity, or institution, through coercion. Refraining from doing harm is sometimes euphemistically called protection. Extortion is commonly practiced by organized crime groups. The actual attainment of money or property is not required to commit the offense. Making a threat of violence which refers to a requirement of a payment of money or property to halt future violence is sufficient to commit the offense. Exaction refers not only to extortion or the unlawful demanding and obtaining of something through force, but additionally, in its formal definition, means the infliction of something such as pain and suffering or making somebody endure something unpleasant.
Does cutting busing fall under “making somebody endure something unpleasant.”
This is a clear issue. Let’s call it what it is. And we have to know what it is before we can figure out how to fix it.