Saturday, October 30, 2010

My One Political Rant for the Year


So I received another unwanted political mailing today: This one from Jim Meffert, who is challenging Erik Paulsen for U.S. Representative of my district here in MN. Apparently he wants my vote. I would like to congratulate Mr. Meffert for convincing me to actually vote against him. Let me explain.
I am and always will be a firm believer in responsibility and accountability, especially when it comes to raising children. I believe that if you have a child, whether planned or not, it is solely the responsibility of that child’s parents to provide for that child. Food, clothing, shelter, and yes, even education, are the responsibility of that child’s mother and father. If one parent should exit the picture for whatever reason, then as difficult as it may be, it is now the responsibility of the sole parent to provide for that child.
In an effort to discourage me from voting for the incumbent Erik Paulsen, Mr. Meffert’s mailing stated two things with regards to education: One- That Erik Paulsen voted against expanding early childhood education and Two- that Erik Paulsen voted against expanding Pell grants for college students.
Let’s take a look at item one, which stated Erik Paulsen voted against expanding early childhood education. The vote this mailing references is Roll Call Vote 646, which was a vote in the house on Bill H.R. 3293. This was a vote on an appropriations bill, which allocates funds for various reasons “for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and related agencies for FY2010.” (http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d111:HR03293:@@@L&summ2=m&) In other words, “H.R. 3293 contains a total of $163.4 billion in discretionary spending, an increase of $11.1 billion or 7 percent above the non-emergency discretionary spending level for FY 2009. H.R. 3293 is $1.8 billion above the President's request. Agencies receiving funding from the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education appropriation already received an additional $127 billion in emergency spending from the "stimulus" bill and $7.7 billion from the FY 2009 emergency supplemental appropriations bill. Combined, agencies receiving funding under this bill received $289 billion in discretionary funding in FY 2009.” (http://www.gop.gov/bill/111/1/hr3293)
I find it wonderful that Mr. Meffert was able to sum up the entire bill by stating that Mr. Paulsen voted against expanding early childhood education. It could be that Mr. Paulsen was weary of the enormity of the entire bill altogether; or it could be that Mr. Paulsen feels the same way I do in that preparing your child for kindergarten IS THE PARENT’S RESPONSIBILITY, NOT THE GOVERNMENT!
Let’s look at item two, which stated Paulsen voted against expanding Pell grants for college students. This statement by Mr. Meffert refers to H.R. 3221. “The bill eliminates the Federal Family Education Loan program and shifts all student loans to a government-run and taxpayer financed system under the Direct Loan program, as well as creates nine new programs and increases the federal government takeover of early education, higher education, school construction, and more.” (http://www.gop.gov/bill/111/1/hr3221) Have you ever heard of Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac? Perhaps Mr. Paulsen was concerned about more federal government-run education programs and their cost (we all know what a great job they’ve done with that), or perhaps he feels like I do; that some assistance is warranted in certain situations, but for the most part, a college education is not a right in this country, it’s a privilege. Many a successful individual has never set foot in a college and university, and many a student has received government assistance for post-secondary education and either dropped out or entered into a field that does not require the degree they obtained. As Judge Smails once said, “The world needs ditch diggers, too”. Oh, and internet billionaires.
Obviously this flyer is just another example of politicians from all parties using small bits of information from larger issues to paint an ugly picture of their opponent. Mr. Meffert is just pandering to the lowest common denominator: Those who refuse to educate themselves and check facts when it comes time to vote, and those who think the government exists to help them out financially at every turn. I am neither of those people. I was once the first example, but I’m getting better. I will NEVER be the second example, and will always loath those who are. Politicians who promote ideas that sustain the lifestyles of the ignorant and lazy, for their own personal gain, are doing you and I, and this country, a disservice.

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