Monday, January 21, 2008

He was piped aboard

Captain Crabby was piped aboard the SS MinnPost today for a piece in the Community Voices section entitled So what happened to Minnesota's progressive attitude? Writing mere editorials at the Pioneer Press must crimp Captain Crabby's style, because he obviously needed to vent. Feel better now, Captain?

The apparent trigger for the Captain's fulmination was Dane Smith's observations about Minnesota's chintzy observation of its 150th birthday in Scrimping on the Sesquicentennial: A sign of the times. Here's the lede paragraphs:

Yet another casualty in our decade-long experiment with downsizing and disinvesting in the public sector — which is a historic deviation for Minnesota — turns out to be the celebration of our own history.

Media reports in recent months have drawn attention to the bare-bones budget for the Minnesota Sesquicentennial, the 150the anniversary of statehood. Kevin Duchschere's recent assessment of the sad situation in the Star Tribune notes that only $750,000 has been appropriated, compared with $8.5 million that Wisconsin spent on its sesquicentennial in 1998 and an inflation-adjusted $8.5 million that Minnesota spent on its centennial in 1958.

Then Dane went on to quote, of all people, Nick Coleman!

Captain Crabby, also known as Captain Fishsticks, also known as Craig Westover, is having none of it. In a spittle-flecked screed that is twice as long as Smith's original piece, the Captain delivers a stinging rebuke of the notions that progressive taxation and universal public education are good things:

Take the income tax, a progressive idea. When did it morph into a weapon of mass desperation? When did the progressive idea of the wealthy helping to provide for the needs of the community become the reactionary idea that wealth is evil? Where did the notion arise that we should tax the rich not just to meet the needs of the community but to supply its wants, desires and whims as well? When did the term "public good" lose all definitional credibility?

Why are the progressives that fought so hard for children of color to receive a good education now standing in the doors of failing government schools telling the children and grandchildren of those children that if their families are poor, they can't have school choice? Call me crazy, but defending a failing system against educational opportunity for kids doesn't sound all that progressive.

O Captain, my Captain! (with apologies to Walt Whitman) Spot has a question for you. Have you been taking your benzodiazepine? Spot didn't think so.

It's almost bedtime for Spot, so no links here, but the income tax is not nearly as progressive now, at the federal level, as it was in the Eisenhower administration. And it is not as progressive as it used to be in Minnesota, either. Everything that the government does is of more benefit to the wealthy than the poor: transportation, banking, securities regulation, the creation of artificial persons (corporations, LLCs, etc.) enforcement of private property rights, even national defense (protecting US investment abroad). It is only the most unctuous, self-absorbed scrubs like Sticks that fail to see that. Progressive taxation is simple fairness, not redistribution of wealth.

And the notion that Sticks is worried about the education of po' folks is beyond laughable. All he really cares about is subsidizing private and parochial school education. Believing that Sticks and his ilk care for any but themselves requires a suspension of disbelief of enormous proportion.

Spot is glad to see you're writing on the 'net again, Captain; he never gets around to the Pioneer Press.

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