Monday, March 30, 2009
Robert Ford: the new face of the Sanford crowd
State Senator Robert Ford is one of the true characters of Southern politics. He always knows how to go out and get some money. Back in the 1990s, video poker was handing out money in various ways to anyone who supported it. Robert Ford was there. Now, that the Sanford/Howard Rich/SCRG crowd is handing out money to whomever supports funding private schools with public tax dollars, Robert Ford is on board. At least Ford does not claim to be a true conservative or true Republican.
Robert Ford is embracing the pseudo conservative concept of spending tax money on private schools by saying that it will help poor children. It is the same mantra that big government liberals use to get tax money every time. They are eager to spend that tax money, without even knowing if the program will work to solve the problem that they claim to want to solve.
Robert Ford and the RINOs who support his spending of taxpayer money on private education do not even pause to consider how their program really will not work. A $4000 tax credit for private school tuition will not empower poor children to go to private schools. In most private schools $4000 will not even cover a semester of tuition. Further, a family would have to have the money to spend in the first place during a year to file for the tax credit at the end of the year.
Also, a growing number of private schools are not too keen on the idea. Their student bodies are limited and many don’t have the capacity to accept new students. Further, there is concern that with government money eventually comes government regulation. That is what happened to private colleges and universities that accepted federal and state tuition assistance programs.
Also, public schools are obligated to provide educational opportunities for the most difficult of students. The physically and mentally challenged, the unruly, the mentally ill, all are to provided some sort of public education. So, if the parents of such a child could scrape up the money with the tax credit assistance, chances are most private schools would deny them admittance. Thus, their child would be left in the same public school with less money.
Then, there is the argument that the money should follow the child. Fair enough. If people have no children in public or private schools, can they be exempt from paying any taxes towards public schools or taxes for private school tuition tax credits? That is where the money should follow the child logic eventually flows to. (For those who think that notion is silly, remember that the TERI program was meant just for teachers but the courts ruled it had to apply to all participants in the state retirement system, and that nearly broke the state.)
Further, do those who support Ford’s bill really believe that it will lead in smaller government spending? Politicians and lobbyists will find a way to replace the money lost from the public education money spent on private school tax credits. Thus, we will have the status quo in public education plus a new government spending plan to assist private schools. It is baffling how so many who see the Earned Income Tax Credit as a government spending plan do not see a private school tuition tax credit as the same.
Even worse, it is a government spending plan that will not help those it claims it will and will do nothing to bring about the needed reforms to public education. It is fitting a liberal Democrat who seems to always be under the influence of the big money spenders of the day is heading the effort this year. It is telling that the Sanford crowd embraces him so eagerly. It seems a lot less about children and a lot more about getting campaign money.