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.


Anonymous said...

While you have many valid points that I agree with everyone helping to pay for education is not one. if we as a society don't educate our population there is study after study that we pay it back later in fees for welfare programs, jails etc. That said I'm not apposed to making parents pay for their own kids schooling say after 3 kids. As someone who is desperate to adopt if you can't afford a kid stop having them! Also, while school choice should be an option and technology should replace textbooks in my opinion, you still need someone to teach kids difficult convents and a place for socialization or the communication skills businesses keep begging for will get worse. There are other issues I take with your view that we shouldn't have to pay for education because as the state that pays the least amount per student I disagree strongly with how we spend education money but think there are a lot of places we can and should cut spending first.

Nacilbupera said...

Some excellent thoughts, Anon.

Government creates it own issues with jails and welfare more than it solves through formal education. People get trapped in jail for using or selling a substance; people can't escape welfare because of bureaucracy and also because the charitable dollar is often the first dollar to be lost to taxation.

There are many great ideas we could do if we just stop throwing money after brick-and-mortar education, you've highlighted some. The problem is once we spend the money forget any other alternative solutions. That is, brick-and-mortar is a high-risk, high commitment proposition.

Be careful using the per pupil statistic for Utah: with our large number of children, we rank in the middle per spending per household. Also, remember spending does not correlate to better performance on standardized exams, let alone learning. Utah consistently outperforms averages.

Travis Parry said...

Great post. As a former Financial Planner and now Financial Coach, bonds are just that, bonds. You give your principal amount with the "promise" of income during that period and the promise that you will get your principal amount back. Logan just passed a very similar bond to build a half-dozen new schools that is very similar to Provo's situation. No offense Anon, but, your logical leap doesn't compute with not having kids so that the government can tax you. As a homeschooling family, we pay into the system and receive nothing in return for the tax dollars into the system. We pay all our own curriculum and texts, etc. Regardless of our Socio Economic Status, there needs to vouchers or tax credits to offset the cost of our tax into the system. #10 on the communist manifesto was to create a government run public school system to then indoctrinate the children of the rising generation and it is happening. There is only a need for public education, because our entire system has changed completely around form private and home tutoring to "public" education. More studies show the importance of a secure attachment of parents to children and the continuation throughout the child's development. Sending one's child at age 5 to Kindergarten is weening the child off the parent awfully soon and study after study shows how homeschooling kids do so much better than underperforming public school kids.
I agree with Nacilbupera that government is not the is the problem. And worse everytime there is one, government wants to solve it with more programs. The cycle continues again.

JBT said...

Everyone in society benefits from a well educated citizenry. This is true whether or not you home school your children or have no children.

A free public education for all is one of the cornerstones of our Democracy. To learn more about this important part of our heritage, go to:

Public school teachers in Utah accomplish more with fewer resources than anywhere else in the United States, and yet there are those who belittle their efforts and object to even the smallest sacrifices that would enable districts to keep up with the growing student population.

The days of Utah's students keeping pace with those in similar states who spend far more on education due to the homogenous culture we have here are quickly coming to an end. If one reads the reports by the Utah Foundation, one quickly sees that Utah's test averages are falling fast when compared to places with similar demographics. To catch up and keep up, we must have smaller class sizes, salaries to attract the best and brightest teaches, and yes modern facilities and technology. As I see it tightfisted and narrow minded conservatives will always be part of the problem in our state---not part of the solution.

cg77 said...

Nacilbupera, would you rather pay for schools or prisons?
If you don't pay for an educated public, you will pay for a higher poverty rate, a higher crime rate, increased need for law enforcement, and a higher incarceration rate.

To say that people who do not have kids in the school system should be exempt from the cost is simply ignorant.

So, which will it be? Schools or prisons?

Nacilbupera said...


What you present is called a "false dilemma" or a "false dichotomy" which presupposes choice between only two alternatives, prisons and socialized education.

19th century American history shows us a vibrant population engaging a rugged frontier with limited socialized education. Back then, jails and prisons were not filled with people who did nothing to harm others as they are now. While you might counter "things have changed" this actually supports my premise. The 19th Century experience proves it is not human nature that one who lacks socialized education is a menace to society, but rather that government has interfered with the natural condition of man.

By teaching children the principle of coercion by forcing their parents to pay taxes and the children coercion to attend school, we are teaching our children an immorality. Thus one could argue that public schooling causes more menaces to society by advocating to them this bully principle. Perhaps then, compulsory schools actually bear partial blame for our overflowing prison population.