Sunday, August 09, 2009

Digital Politics: What Has God Wrought?

It was longer ago than I care to remember when a young and perceptive aide in the office of a U.S. Senator from Tennessee pointed to the newly-purchased piece of equipment in his Washington office, and said: “In the end, it will be our undoing.”

It was an optical scanning fax machine, and even then, pre-digital revolution, he could see the potential that has become a reality. It would lead to a time when we were no longer Tennesseans, but a collection of special interest groups.

Looking back, it seems like such a simple time, long before the digital tsunami would sweep away all vestiges of e pluribus unum and usher in the “it’s all about me” political constituencies. More to the point, it ushered in the era of politicians who willingly and often gleefully put their own political ambitions ahead of the public good.

It seems that today everything – and I mean everything – is about political advantage and talking points. There’s no issue that’s so crucial to the future of the country that it is spared from the partisan grand-standing that passes for policy debate these days.

Losing Our Way

Whether it’s the anti-tax Tea Party-goers, the birthers, or the town meeting health care hecklers on the right or the glib sloganeering and the social media self-organizing of the left, it’s just too little about creating consensus on important public issues and too much about shouting each other down.

Yesterday, it was Congressman Steve Cohen’s time in the bull ring, and predictably, a crowd of people showed up spouting Fox News’ talking points and the slogans from the well-heeled anti-health care reform lobby. Lost in the screaming yesterday was the chance to have a serious discussion about the health insurance plan moving through Congress with an expected vote in the fall.

Most of all, what was lost was the chance to make the reasonable point that the Congressional plan for health insurance coverage is flawed and inflationary. There’s plenty to criticize, but instead, it became a time for people to shout at each other rather than talk with each other.

It was also the latest evidence of the Fox News impact on the lack of civility in the public square. It is a disingenuous ploy (refined with the anti-tax Tea Parties and now sometimes duplicated by MSNBC) in which the news anchor asks a question, like, “If this health care plan is so good, why don’t Congressmen use it?”

Echo Chambers

Then, the commentators – some of whom are paid by the special interests they are commenting on - take up the theme for the day, and by the following day, there is inevitably an interview with a Congressman who feeds back the same question and belittles his colleagues for their alleged hypocrisy.

At that point, the question is also integrated into a viral campaign and people at town hall meetings parrot the message which in turn allows the channel to close the self-reenforcing loop by reporting that people are outraged at town hall meetings and asking why Congressmen aren’t covered by the health plan. There’s no mention of course that it was Fox News that stocked the fire and wrote the talking point in the first place.

It’s not that demagoguery and the politics of fear are sole province of the Far Right (although we do find it there to be an especially shrill and coarse version of it). It seems today that there are always people willing to play the fear card, and in a country with so many people unnerved by an African-American in the White House, with a transition under way that will make white males a minority and with the bombardment of self-serving sound bites, it’s a volatile situation waiting to explode.

Yesterday, it exploded on Congressman Cohen, who did as well as he could under the circumstances to create an environment where people could actually talk (the idea that some of the screamers were actually armed with pistols is too unnerving for words). It so clear these days that too many people – mainly testosterone-driven – are angry at a world they no longer understand and health care reform gives them the chance to vent.

A World Turned Inside Out

It is a frightening time for these people. Everything they thought was certain about their world feels like it’s been turned upside down. A black man is president, gays are getting married, a wise Latina woman is on the Supreme Court, health care insurance will change, white men will become the new minority and Latinos will transform the country.

But change is gonna come, and in this way, Congressman Cohen is on the right side of history. In some ways, it’s ironic that they feel that things are so out of control, because in more ways than his supporters ever expected, President Barack Obama has kept some abhorred Bush policies from secret prisoners to presidential signing statements.

In a country where disillusionment is the coin of the realm, it’s also a highly combustible currency, and most of all, it shouts down reasoned debate and reasonable discussions about serious issues that are crucial for our future. In other ways, it seems strange because although President Obama ran on the singular theme of change and as being the agent of that change, the cast of characters in the federal government seem depressingly old school, particularly those charged with our financial recovery.

While predictions of the demise of President Obama’s popularity are overblown, he finds himself standing on shifting sand, and he has to prove that he is truly committed to the kind of change that makes the American Dream real for every person in this country. There’s still the feeling that there are special deals for special people, and that even in the midst of a game-changing moment in history, some people such as bankers always seem to figure a way for the rest of us to pay for their mistakes.

Getting It Right

Meanwhile, we are forced to endure some Republican opportunists, notably John Boehner and Mitch McConnell, who find nothing coming out of the Obama Administration – from rules about health care to ground squirrels – as socialism. Listening to their screed, it’s hard to condemn citizens who take the same kind of absurdism to the streets. For them and so many others, everything is measured in their political power and rarely about finding a consensus solution.

In the midst of the chaos on the national scene, it was a pleasure Friday to have lunch with the Washington and Memphis staff of Congressman Cohen at the FedEx Institute of Technology on the University of Memphis campus. It was reassuring that in the midst of the political wards, the congressman and his staff were focused on what matters most – the problems of Memphians.

Congressman Cohen has assembled a bright, well-informed team of legislative aides, and it was reassuring to hear their ideas for Memphis. It was a wide-ranging conversation – about Memphis’ challenges, trends and opportunities, about transportation, neighborhood redevelopment, road priorities, economic development, race, education and more.

They were inquisitive and committed to making the most of the opportunity to bring federal money to Memphis and to work with the new Memphis mayor to develop a shared city-federal agenda. That alone is reason enough to be optimistic.

For years, there have been serious missed opportunities because of the disconnect between City Hall and our Congressman’s office that long precedes Congressman Cohen. With the exit of Memphis Mayor Willie W. Herenton, we finally have the opportunity to see what the impact of a coordinated approach could be.


Anonymous said...

I'm sorry. I normally like this blog but how can you expect anyone to take you seriously when you put out a 100% partisan post like that? You could have made a decent point that I and many others would have agreed with. Instead, you have showed yourself to be nothing but a manifestation of the very phenomenon you pretend to despise. FAIL

packrat said...

anon, you're just pissed b/c he's right. you wingnuts can dish it out but you can't take it.

Anonymous said...

This post wasn't partisan at all but instead spoke to the challenges of having a real converstation. How is that partisan? The author is absolutely correct that we must be able to talk about issues; screaming instead of listening is the antithesis of that. There is no denying that we have a serious problem with health care availability and delivery in this country. Yes, many who have health care fear that they might lose something but we need to reconize that we are all already being affected. Healthcare costs for the uninsured are coming from somewhere right now. The cost of many Americans not having access to preventive care is coming from all our pocketbooks now. And that's just the money side of healthcare. People are suffering and dying. Have we hardened our hearts so much that we can't see this and be outraged, not at the idea of a healthcare plan, but that people are dying? That Memphis has the highest rate of infant mortality in the country? We must find our compassion again. But to get to solutions and better policy, the shouting must stop and the conversation must begin.

Zippy the giver said...

I'm for health care reform, it's not a necessity, it's way past that now.
In service to you I post this:

" It seems today that there are always people willing to play the fear card, with so many people unnerved by an African-American in the White House, with white males a minority and the bombardment of self-serving sound bites,.........
(the idea that some of the screamers were actually armed with pistols is too unnerving for words). It so clear these days that too many people – mainly testosterone-driven – are angry at a world they no longer understand and health care reform gives them the chance to vent."

I thought you weren't into fear mongering.

“If this health care plan is so good, why don’t Congressmen use it?”

Sadly, that is a valid question that does not deserve football status.

" bankers always seem to figure a way for the rest of us to pay for their mistakes."

Especially when there are no laws against it to enforce and when there are the feds do not enforce them.

Your last three paragraphs say it all.

Here's the thing:
If they could have someone who has read the 1000 pages before the deadline that would be one thing.
If they had a regular person who took notes after reading and comprehending the whole thing and was prepared to ask about certain questionable sections, that would be VALUABLE.
If there was an attorney representing the people, not paid be the gov., who was an expert in this type of law who also prepared talking points there that would be EVEN MORE VALUABLE.
If they had a person who has been on the wrong side of medicine's policies, as in, they had a family member who suffered from the system because of the system, that would be VALUABLE.
If they had a doctor and a nurse, not working together or paid by a lobby, to answer and ask questions, THAT would be VERY VALUABLE.
If they could put this on un-interruptible TV till the job was done and all of us understood exactly what repercussions were coming, THAT would be VERY VALUABLE.

Right now what is being discussed and the way it is being discussed is creating

Zippy the giver said...

That said, THE MED is shutting down due to the current government rules on healthcare in TN and Mississippi and uninsured patients.
Does THAT hit home. You are already losing resources to aquire healthcare in the most dire of circumatances. Is that just fine with you?

Anonymous said...

Outside of the Defense Department, show me one, just ONE department that isn't riddled with incompetent bureaucrats. Bureaucrats that make things worse instead of better.

Would you want that federal government, that already can't balance their budget and is spending billions of our grandchildrens money every day, decing who got health care? You are really saying with a straight face that nationalizing 15% of our economy is not a massive step into Socialism?

Anonymous said...

" . . .show me one, just ONE department that isn't riddled with incompetent bureaucrats. Bureaucrats that make things worse instead of better. . . ."

The Social Security Administration and the Medicare program. Do they have incompetent bureaucarats? Of course? Are they "riddled" with them? No. Considering the size of the programs and the rules they are under, their success rate is pretty good.

Now can you give me a private insurance program that doesn't make you jump through a multitude of hoops, deny obviously legitimate claims on a regular basis, and make you go through layers of people before reaching someone to answer a routine question? I have handled health benefits for family members as well as my own and am in a position to be familiar with several health insurance companies and TPA's.

I have had little problem getting social security checks and medicare claims completed and for that matter, Medicaid has been relatively easy. However, it took over a year to get the Medicare supplement to pay.

We need Health Care reform . . . NOW!!!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 9:14:

So, you are standing on the side of shout them down democracy. Very enlighted. And Jeez, you need to read this blog without your ideology showing. It's exactly right.

Did you read the part about Obama and the left? Apparently, you graduated from a city school if that gets you to 100%.

Anonymous said...

"Apparently, you graduated from a city school if that gets you to 100%."

Ouch. You are low class and offensive to this board.

Zippy the giver said...

Get a grip on yourselves.
Unemployment money has ended for 16% of Americans, there's 9% still getting checks, that will end, then there will be more of both when no one can buy stuff.
Bureaucrats? Hey, anyone can get on SSI, now, try getting off! THAT is where the graft lies.
Try getting OFF welfare!
Through a lack of training, we make people UN valuable everyday.

cdmemphis said...

Something does need to change with our health insurance, but we do not need what is being proposed. We need Tort reform to limit lawsuit payouts and to cut our insurance from being tied to our jobs. We should buy it individually like we do auto and home insurance. I respect many of the things you propose about our city, but with this you are being fooled into the Liberal's bait and switch lie. Its the oldest trick in the book to accuse your 'enemy' (as liberals see political opponents instead of fellow Americans exercising our constitutional right to air grievances) of something you are actually doing. None of these people are paid operatives, they just don't want the government involved in more than they should be and they are obviously very scared about it. The result is always an inefficient program due to the huge bureaucracy that results. Britain's health bureaucracy has become the 3rd largest employer in the World, only behind the Soviet Red Army and China's Military. Something like that would fundamentally and irrevocably push our country in the wrong direction.
Just remember, Pelosi said "it is un-American to try to silence the opposing viewpoints" while trying to silence the opposing viewpoint.

Zippy the giver said...

Tort Reform? Bush just got done doing that making statute of limitations so short you couldn't get a lawyer in time.
That's nuts and woefully uninformed about what MANY hospitals in THIS COUNTRY do to people and then cover it up.
They haven't done it yet.
Lawsuits don't make the insurance rates go higher, Northern Insurance is OWNED BY THE DOCTORS WHO USE IT.


If doctors did police their own, the people's insurance rates would go down! You could lower your own malpractice insurance rates, less people would be maimed, hospitals would not get sued so often and their insurance rates would go down too, a LOT!
But you know that and so do they, isn't that right? And yet none of the docs or hospitals or drug companies or even insurance companies have done a damn thing about it, have they?
No they havn't.
Maybe you could open up the
"National Physicians Database"
that was created with the intent to let patients look at a doctor's malpractice record TO THE PUBLIC AS IT WAS INTENDED, so they could choose not to go to docs that are awful!
Doctor's lobbies paid to keep that all a secret and keep the public from ever finding out about a bad doc's record, didn't they?
Yes, they did.
See, that could have done it all for you, but doctors never got in board, so, now, they have to have their ass torn off to get the message and here it comes.
Well, they asked for it, they got it, toyota.

The solution to this problem is not to do nothing to the system or minimize existing corrective measures, nor is it to fall for propaganda or a bait and switch. It's to read the doc, all 1000 pages, and make up your mind, not read propaganda.
I don't buy your stats on England's healthcare employment, they don't have enough people to beat china's army for that.
This would be easier if you wouldn't lie about stuff. When you have no integrity, no one believes you, except in Memphis.
The medical industrial complex is much worse than the military these days but they seem to be competing for bragging rights.

vast_conspirator said...

I see SCM has hired Michael Moore to write columns now. Sheesh, where to begin?

1. Get over Fox News. Now you know what conservatives felt for 35years before Fox came on the air ... except there was no alternative then. Fox News is here, get used to it. To coin a phrase.

2. Democrats need to decide about socialism. A few weeks ago SCM wrote that socialism was Biblical principles in action. Now it's an outrage to suggest that Obama's plan is socialist. Well which is it: heaven-sent or an abomination?

3. The only people crying out for drastic health reform are Democratic politicians. And that is based on the premise that the population will vote according to its interest, which would be in keeping Democrats in charge of health care.

4. Democratic health care reform failed spectacularly in 1993, and surprise of surprises, it's unpopular today as well. Millions opposed it under Hillary, yet it's racist to oppose it today? Articulate that argument for us, SCM. I mean Michael.

Zippy the giver said...

NO ONE opposes healthcare reform.
They have been powerless to effect change because:
#1 The secrecy of the "national physician database", which would have given the people the power of choice that would have mitigated a LOT of lawsuits and insurance claims. Lame doctors would have seen no patients and not get sued.
#2, Hospital "risk management" covering up mistakes and advising docs to take home and "lose" records that expose BIG mistakes that kill or maim patients.
#3, Drug Companies paying docs to use medicine that doesn't work on patients that can't afford the good stuff.
#4, Doctor's Lobbies that pay politicians to do stupid things like try to rush through legislation like this in an inappropriate amount of time for a 1000 page document.
#5, Political party propaganda for the opposing side that has no basis in reality and takes extreme license with the language in the bill. If actually read the passages they absolutely can not be construed as what the republican side wants.
#6, Insurance companies not insisting on reform.

If we've learned anything ion the past eight years, it's that businesses, and especially big businesses, CAN NOT POLICE THEMSELVES, AND DOCTORS ARE AS GUILTY OF THIS AS ANY BUSINESS OUT THERE.

Anonymous said...

I went to the town hall meeting and it was certainly an educational experience. I was embarrassed that the young people in attendance witnessed so many seemingly mature adults acting rude and generally idiotic. Congressman Cohen and his staff did a fine job under very trying circumstances.

Smart City Consulting said...

vast conspirator:

You are aptly named. Fox News does not adhere to accepted journalistic principles nor does it seem to try to. That's not the same as saying conservatives didn't like coverage on the Nightly News. Fish and fowl.

Also, we have our opinion about socialism, but we're not sure what that has to do with Obama.

Republicans are so good at shooting themselves in the foot. This isn't about a replay of Hillary Clinton's health care, as much as right-wingers try to make it. It's about replying to 50 million uninsured Americans. We have friends who are faced with tough decisions because of lack of health care, so we take this personally.

Our members of Congress should respect us enough to talk intelligently about options and we should respect ourselves enough to actually listen and discuss.

memphisj said...

While I'm not happy with SCM trying to make some type of equivalency in the first paragraph by saying "the left" uses glib sloganeering and social media self-organizing (for heaven's sake, you're kidding right) I don't see the left doing the shouting in this case.

You seem to really be attracting the trolls lately Tom and it would be the smart thing to get them under control, as hard as that is because apparently most of the posters have incredible insurance with no problems whatsoever. Well, great for them.

I am self-employed and am fortunate at 55 to be in good health. My "catastrophic" health insurance has increased about $200 a month in 3 years to almost $400 per month. This with (I think) a $5K deductible. But I'm reading more and more where the so-called catastrophic insurance actually may not pay if am forced into a long hospital stay. Not to mention that my business has taken a hit with the economy and the thought of these increases over the next 10 years before "retirement", well, some of you can do the math.

I've lived in this community for 21 years and have paid off one house and am close to paying off another and yet I wonder if an accident or illness/surgery could put me in debt with no ability to pay it off. In a country as rich as ours it makes no sense.

The reality is that 50 million American have no health insurance. We all pay for that whether you realize it or not. Employers are dropping coverage. Since 1999 health insurance premiums have increased 120 percent, inflation grew 44 percent and wages grew 29 percent during the same period.

A recent Harvard study found the average out-of-pocket medical for for those who filed bankruptcy was $12,000. 68 percent of those who filed had health insurance. 50 percent of all bankruptcy filings were partly the result of medical expenses.

I know facts are tricky things, but we do have a health care crisis in this country and we need reform badly. Contrary to what many might think our health outcomes are not as good as many countries with single payer systems.

My only hope with the ignorance and hate being displayed at these town hall meetings is that the majority of us can see just how unhinged and uneducated this radical right fringe is.

vast_conspirator said...

1. Fox News is objective. Fox News Channel commentary shows (O'Reilly, Hannity) are not objective, nor do they claim to be.

2. >>>from rules about health care to ground squirrels – as socialism. Listening to their screed, it’s hard to condemn citizens who take the same kind of absurdism to the streets.

That's the comment on Obama and socialism.

3. There are innumerable ways to improve health care costs without a single-payer, i.e., government-run, insurance. Tort reform would be a good start, but Democrats quash it every time because trial lawyers are one of their biggest groups of contributors.

4. Memphisj, does the "radical right fringe" include everyone who opposes government-run health care? Using Al Gore style descriptives of one's opponent doesn't advance the conversation.

Jupiter said...

I totally support tort reform, but am not going to oppose the present reform just because tort reform is not (yet) included.
I figure Obama is just trying to get the public plan option through for now. He'll anger his lawyer buddies with tort reform later.
Patience, people. One step at a time.
I'm going to make a bold claim, that unfortunately I can't back up, that most liberals will support some form of tort reform once the problem of "defensive medicine" is explained.
It is a huge part of our inflated healthcare spending and I will stand with other liberals demanding with my vote that it be addressed.
Just...not right now.

memphisj said...

To the conspirator:

"4. Memphisj, does the "radical right fringe" include everyone who opposes government-run health care? Using Al Gore style descriptives of one's opponent doesn't advance the conversation."

Have no idea what Al Gore has to do with this, last I heard he hasn't been in office for almost 9 years, but I'll answer this way.

I do consider it radical to see the majority of the town hall shouters/disrupters to be clearly retirees who are packing, not a gun, but a medicare card, LOL. On Social Security and Medicare (both government run programs) they don't want anyone else to enjoy the benefits they receive.

I'd love to take my chances with a government administered program over a strictly for-profit medical system that makes life and death decisions every day by denying coverage to those who already hold insurance.

When I see those protestors gathering in a circle and burning their medicare cards and social security checks, I'll put more stock in what they have to say.

Zippy the giver said...

Vast conspirator:

Did you sleep through the last president?

Are you in a coma now?

Tort Reform has already gone through, and what did it accomplish?

It took every form of recourse away from patients who get maimed or killed, suffer catastrophic loss due to malpractice or malicious care.
68% of bankruptcies, the wingnut rights other pet peeve hot button buzzword red herring, are caused by those circumstances.

Tort Reform only benefitted hospitals and insurance companies, also limiting how much you could sue for destroyed the only way to get bad doctors out of business. Licensing boards won't do it. Doctors don't report bad doctors no matter how many they kill. They close ranks and continue to let them kill.
There was a doctor right here in Memphis that was named "doctor nick" by his fellow doctors, because, he would operate on children and "accidentally" nick their liver or aorta and kill the child, if they livd they developed sepsis and died later because he didn't wash his hands, there is a doctor in North Carolina that induces children without any means of resuscitation, there is one in Arkansas that gives children the wrong meds and damages their organs permanently and kills some kids that come in with "a cold", they leave in a pine box. The records get lost.
Then, they wheel them out of the OR so that the death doesn't count on the OR's stats! The recovery room gets them, if they are crashing there, they wheel them quickly into the ICU, so if they die, they're on their stats instead, if they crash there, they wheel them to the floor to die.

Zippy the giver said...

If they have no money or insurance they'll be outside the door in a paper jumpsuit. Go look out the back door of the med if you don't believe it.
Ever have a problem with a doc and ask what's happening and the doctor suddenly transferred out of state without the hospital telling you and you have no idea where they went and your records are missing?
Come on smarty-pants, what does your tort reform do for patients in such "everyday" instances?

You will not see any relief from this economic depression until this problem is solved.


The only reason there is "defensive medicine" as you put it, is because DOCTORS DO NOT POLICE THEIR OWN INDUSTRY!!!!!!
They should, because, THAT is the ONLY thing that will make a huge difference in insurance rates short of Obama's bill and since it isn't going to happen, since it hasn't for decades, this is what we are left to.
Dipsticks like corker and his bought off ilk are shills for special interests, lying to hoodwink the ignorant so they can keep their money.
I have big news for them, it's too late, unless they have been engaging in some illegal stashing of cash offshore, which is no biggy because I have plenty of family offshore too. I understand there is a depression there too. This depression is not over until this issue is done and TORT REFORM IS NOT IT, that's just a BIG RED HERRING.
There is no such thing as Tort reform.
Those laws are there because docs don't police their industry, and without them there is no recourse for families who have suffered catastrophic breadwinner loss due to malpractice or malicious care.

They close ranks and cover up in those instances.

Trust me, I have the inside scoop on that, I'm giving you gospel, not prophecy.

Even their licensing boards cover up for docs, they are just there to collect fees for licenses to operate, they don't take them away or police unless the government holds heir nose to the floor.
YOU are a bunch of "wing-nuts". I don't think a bunch of windbags who have no clue what they are talking about but get money from special interests posting on this board as if they do serves anyone but special interest groups top money makers.
Your companies are about to go broke. You are now public enemy number one. You'd like to spin it like the president who was elected is, but, nope, it's you guys. Depression part two is coming because of you.
I guess you guys are dim. Only a dim person could not see further than the end of their nose.
Your phony cry for Tort reform is hollow and is just more of your whistling and howling in the breeze.

I'll tell you what you can do, and you can do this for no reason at all, because, you're legally entitled to a copy of all your medical records.
Go to the place where you had your last medical procedure and ask for your medical records, all of them.
If they don't "immediately" give them to you, I mean ANY delay what so ever, and if ANY records missing, no matter how reasonable it sounds, RUN for your life, because you just became a "target".
Don't believe it?
Try it, smartypants, see who you're protecting.
If you don't think they are America's biggest threat, you never payed attention.
Go ahead, ask for them, big talkers.

Tom said...

Vast conspirator:

Fox news is objective like Izvestia was.

We're not trying to shut down any debate. We just want to be able to hear every one's voice.

And funny how none of these people have a problem with "socialized medicine" when it comes to Medicare, VA, etc. It's all about the "all about me" state we find outselves in.

Zippy the giver said...

It's already solved:

Look up;
"National physician's Database"
This one thing could solve everything, that's why it was designed, t give patients a way to look up prospective physicians and see if they have been in trouble, how many times, for what, and if they are even licensed to practice anywhere, if they've changed their names, etc, if they are crooks or crap or GOOD. Then they can make an informed choice.
That alone would have cut down on 100% of lawsuits for malpractice against doctors and hospitals.
Conspicuously, the database, which was supposed to be accessible by the general public, can only be accessed by physicians and congress.
That's right. As a side effect, Congressmen have more choice over better doctors than YOU!
YOU have been severely screwed in this one.
Who would have paid to keep that info out of the public's hands?

Hospital risk management lawyers, (so you can't go to trial and say "they knew he was crap!) trial lawyers (cultivating a bounty crop of lawsuits), insurance lobbies(not wanting to pay out more for knowledge of bad doctor's records), and doctor's lobbyists (for bad doctor's who don't want to stop practicing, making money, even though they kill most of their patients).


Look up "Tort Reform"
No matter what you think, this is not going to do crap.

Read Obama's bill:

antisocialist said...

“flight out of Memphis was subsidized by city taxpayers”

Three dollars went to Memphis schools for every one dollar that went to the county. Where, oh where did the City’s money go? Roads were built with gas tax returned through the State.

antisocialist said...

“yes, we know that Memphians pay twice for schools and we don’t, but we’re against fairer taxes because we’d have to pay more.”

County residents subsidize the City schools by millions and millions of dollars every year, and you know it. I have proven this over and over and over again. Just because you make the same error over and over again does not change the error.

"Fairness" is a code word for "gimme your money to waste on my stuff".

antisocialist said...

“In other words, they like it just like it is now. They should. They’ve been making out like bandits for decades.”

Once again, the county collects X dollars for education from county only residents. SCS spends millions and millions less than X. The county then sends those millions and millions to the MCS. You would not make a very good bandit.

antisocialist said...

“There’s even the conventional wisdom outside Memphis that they are paying more than their fair share of countywide taxes... although it's Memphians who were paying twice for schools, health services, arenas, and more.”

Not conventional wisdom – fact. The Sherriff is a jailor and process server. How much does it cost to patrol Lakeland and Arlington? What percentage of the Health Department’s and the Med’s budget is exclusively for residents of the County outside of Memphis? What percentage of the Health Department and the Med are even funded by local dollars? Arena construction? – Do you really want to go there?

antisocialist said...

“But yet the taxpayers who live outside the city of Memphis would receive on the education portion of the tax rate an increase that could go from $1.98 to as much as $2.81.”

So instead of the County only residents sending a 40 million dollar subsidy to MCS, they need to send a 140 million dollar subsidy to MCS? Can you really talk about tax “fairness” without giggling at the partisan pretzel you have to twist yourself into to come up with that logic?

antisocialist said...

“Shelby County Commissioner Mike Ritz said the county school system’s support isn’t necessary for an agreement, and he is now doing his best to write it so that we can keep local decisions local and not be forced to go to Nashville for the Tennessee Legislature’s approval.”

Good luck with that. The state will more than likely make SCS a special school district in the next legislative session. They only waited this year to see if the city and the county commission would come to their senses. You will get your fairness then – county residents funding county schools and city residents funding city schools. Oh, I-269 is the greatest thing to ever happen to this area. Wake up to the 21st century. A crowded, crime ridden, and corrupt centralized city is becoming increasingly irrelevant. The railroads don’t run the country anymore.

Smart City Consulting said...


We need to get you into a course on taxes. It's not about numbers and it's not our opinion. Independent research by state government says that Memphians have the most regressive tax structure in the state.

And since Memphians are county residents too, why should they have to pay twice for schools if the rest of the county doesn't. That's the basis of the inequity.

Why do they pay aboutb 70% of the total county taxes for schools and then pay 100% of what the city has been paying. Do you see the disparity?

And three dollars should go to Memphis City Schools from county taxes for every one going to county schools. There are three times more students. The per pupil cost follows the pupils wherever they are.

Smart City Consulting said...

There's only one problem with the grand plan. It's not legal in Tennessee. County government, not city government, has the Constitutional responsibility for public education. It's a countywide service besides. All of the kids are funded from the same pool of money. It's never made sense why Memphians should also pay a pool of money as well. If you live outside Memphis, you don't pay twice. How do you reconcile that one county citizen pays twice while another one doesn't.

This hits at the essence of fairness. Countywide services should be on the countywide tax base. It's sort of government 101.

Smart City Consulting said...

PS: I think you mean to post this on the blog post after this one. But it's o.k. with us. Just thought you might want others interested in the subject to hear your point of view.

Smart City Consulting said...

Oh, one more thing. Even if Shelby County Schools becomes a special school district - a pathetically bad idea - it wouldn't result in city residents paying for city schools and county residents paying for county schools.

Anonymous said...

God, this guy is obtuse. County residents don't subsidize city schools. We're all county residents. There's no subsidy at all.

Zippy the giver said...

Here's a thought, Unemployment is at 25% currently, veiled in fudgy stats,
The gov payments run out,
Consumers quit spending,
More layoffs,
More unemployment,
More gov checks run out,
Along with gov checks running out is your medical insurance payments,
Then you can't afford 1/2 rate COBRA,
People do get sick,
Then many many many people will wait until they are almost septic from head to toe to get medical treatment they can't afford,
medical insurance companies crumble and fold,
there's no one left who can pay the doctor,
The doctors and hospitals go broke,
The end of what you know.

This all equals "no more medicine for profit", the immoral food of our government, the core of the wart-brain in charge, whether you like it or not, whether you admit it or not, it has gone so far too far that it has completely rotted out our society.
The things people will sit idly by and watch is an affront to life itself.
You got no instruction to weather this storm. It's done, it's unstoppable, "we'll blow them to the stone-age" in our face, what did we let politicians do in our name, now the price is everything you know.
Trying to profit too much from every business in America, creating a bubble economy, was a stall tactic to pacify people, the rope-a-dope, while three ex presidents moved funds. But there's no place left to hide the money when it's so devalued that no one wants it.

THAT is where this is all going.
Measured success.

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