Monday, May 26, 2014

Tim Scott's Road to Success

Our own Tim Scott was on a panel at the American Enterprise Institute.  It was fun to listen to Tim parrot the words of his right-wing heroes.  It was also obvious that he was better rehearsed than, say, George W. Bush.  It's also obvious that he believes what he's preaching.  And why shouldn't he?  It's worked pretty well for him.  It's worked well, not in the sense that the nonsense he is spouting works, but the fact that he is a believer has brought him lots of goodies.

But hold your nose and listen more closely to the words (Tim's words of wisdom are about 27 minutes in):

Introduced as a "guy who thinks for himself," Tim proceeds to preach from the right-wing prayer-book.  He and his fellow panelists agree that they are there because they care about the poor.  The moderator and president of the AEI, Arthur C. Brooks, jumped into W's murky pool of "compassionate conservatism," and it is obvious that he is proud to show Tim off, just as he is sure to bring up Marco Rubio, both of whom are proud right wing-nuts with lower class minority roots.

Scott talked pretty up there on that panel.  You can tell he has been well groomed.  He is even coming up with his own nifty sound bites.  My favorite is that the poor are "assets, not liabilities."  He pretends to be offended that kids growing up in poverty are called "high risk kids," and adds that that is an "awful label for a kid."  He prefers that they be called "high potential children."

Because the government doesn't need to help "high potential children."  In fact the solution to the problem we have with these "high potential children" is -- drum roll -- local control and giving parents more choice.

And what he means by local control and giving parents more choice is:  privatizing schools, with the help of groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council.  Right wing groups have over the past decade come to realize that the important fight is not so much in the US Congress, which they already own, but in the local elections.  And who better to speak to that than Tim Scott, who came up through local elected positions, earned his Tea Party wings and was gifted with the Senate seat by right wing-nut Nikki Haley.

He proudly talks about failing in public schools, and then blames the government for his failure.  And he believes that the private sector is the way to success for failing schools.  Of course, just as with prison privatization, the money comes from the federal government.  But those private companies can do it cheaper -- because when they do it cheaper there is more profit for them.  And when big business is happy, they are happy with Tim Scott, and that makes Tim Scott happy.

Choice is going to mean whatever private enterprise is able to sell to local governments.  Local governments won't be able to afford high teacher salaries and schools a child can be proud to attend.  We are likely to see more kids sitting in front of computers, at home or at school.  Vouchers will of course come from the government, which will have no say in determining where that money goes.  Parents will no longer turn to education experts to decide how best to educate their kids; they will look to advertising, and cost.  Those with greater income to add to their vouchers will send their kids to better schools.  Religious schools will pick up a lot of the slack.  And poor schools will take in the rest.  If that sounds familiar, look around.

It doesn't matter how pretty and inspiring are Tim Scott's words.  The fact is, with educated leaders and enough money funding public schools, it is the absolute best way to educate our children.  Scott's own struggle with getting educated happened because people like him refused to pay for good education for minority children in low income neighborhoods.

Compassionate conservative Arthur Brooks, after Tim Scott's heartfelt words added,

"The reason for free enterprise is not the rich.  The reason for free enterprise is the poor."

Look around you.  Look at the people in this "right-to-work-cheap" state who would be forced to choose mediocre private schools because their vouchers don't pay what it takes to attend a good private school.  Ask yourself why people like Tim Scott are happy to have the government pay a private company to do what he won't let the government do.  Could it be that supporting private corporations over the government is Tim Scott's real road to success?

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