The Nacilbupera Guzzle

Whoever examines with attention the history of the dearths and famines … will find, I believe, that a dearth never has arisen from any combination among the inland dealers in corn, nor from any other cause but a real scarcity, occasioned sometimes perhaps, and in some particular places, by the waste of war, but in by far the greatest number of cases by the fault of the seasons; and that a famine has never arisen from any other cause but the violence of government attempting, by improper means, to remedy the inconveniences of a dearth. (Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations IV.5.44)

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Seven Reasons Why I Oppose the $125M Provo School District Bond

Provo School District proposes to mortgage $125M in future taxpayer revenue via two bonds, $90M and $35M (link) in the name of rebuilding 7 schools. Below I present seven points why I oppose such bonding, any point of which if agreed should at least give pause to the incessant cry-for-money-in-the-name-of-children.

(1) First of all, the whole paradigm of bonding through taxation is immoral. We force (essentially steal) money from our neighbors and then give it to a board which provides education to some of the children of the city. If you choose to homeschool, private school, have no children, or have children in another city your money is being taken from you to be spent however this group called a school board pleases with no compensating service received. Most of us when our money is taxed or stolen from us don’t even get that good feeling like when we do when we give charity or to the student selling candy bars for band on our doorstep.

(2) The individual taxpayer has no real say in public schooling. One letter to the school board will not prompt change. You have to spend a lot more resources collectivizing to counter the power of the Board, not to mention the UEA. You can’t even direct your own portion of your stolen money so don’t be fooled by the argument an individual has a say in PSD. Why would you want to be bonded to an entity when you have no say?

(3) Students don’t learn best when they are coerced or through formal, socialized education. Education standards are increasingly about providing information regurgitated on corporatized, standardized exams. That geniuses fail miserably and billionaires are often public education dropouts speak to this failure. We are not spending money wisely when we think individual learning can be maximized through collectivism. For starters we should remove the compulsory factor and let teen students go who don’t want to be at school. This would reduce the need for physical buildings while providing a happier, more competitive learning environment for secondary students who really are striving to learn.

(4) Now for a quickie on bonds: “bonds” and “bondage” come from the same root for a reason. Many a financial, spiritual, and political advisor will tell you to avoid or to get out of debt and to stay such. One of the major reasons behind Detroit's collapse was $20B in bonds the city had to make payments on. The more bonds a city has, the greater the financial risk of insolvency. A municipal bond rating can be lowered resulting in higher borrowing costs if bonds become too great or if taxpayers revolt and refuse to succumb to the inevitable tax increases.

(5) Furthermore as bonds--particularly school bonds--are paid exclusively by the future taxpayer (as opposed to a power plant bond in which theory the bond of the plant is paid for by electric revenues), it breeds the mentality of "spend now, take 20 years to pay off". Is that what we want to teach our children—to have pride in a mortgaged building? How hypocritical are we--thinking we can teach values in a mortgaged building! Some of us who might grimace about personal religious ceremonies in a mortgaged building actually advocate indebtedness from the institution that governs the lives of our children. Oh my, the cant! If we want an education in principle, how about we teach the children to save and pay for the things we want. NuSkin just completely paid for $100M brand new building without bonding--why can't PSD? Want a frank answer why? We elect School Board officials who spend rather than who plan and save.

(6) A forward-looking reason against bonding for physical buildings is future of education which tells us that home-based internet-based learning is the novel and cost-effective approach to education. As the future progresses, we won’t need the same ratio of buildings-to-pupil in the future. We may need to look at selling school buildings off as they age rather than building new ones. We need to take advantage of the uniqueness of Google Fiber and move us into the 21st century.

(7) Finally, Provo has had enough bonding and taxation, thank you. We just bonded for a $40M 20-year silly recreation center and have done the most creative jumping jacks in figuring out how to get a new tax on the electric bill to pay for the I-provo bond. Then of course, the city is currently already under serious consideration for yet another substitute property tax on the utility bill called a “Utility Transportation Fund” because a large mayoral pay increase took priority in the budget over roads. This on top of already raising electric and garbage rates during Curtis’ mayoral tenure. The bottom line is that we’re taxed too much and need now to look to how we can lower tax rates and reduce indebtedness.