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March 4, 2015     The Florala News
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March 4, 2015

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PAGE 4 THE FLORALA NEWS- WEDNESDAY, MARCH 4, 2015 I by Katherine Robertson and Caleb Crosby Alabama Policey Institute Lately, Alabamians have struggled to discern any difference between what they thought they voted against in November and what they might be getting in the coming months. A commitment to oppose tax increases is now being replaced with a "bold" move to increase taxes, without any ref- erence as to how this could impact bringing new jobs to the state. Along those same lines, getting Alabamians back to work and keeping able-bodied individuals out of a dependency program is now being abandoned for attempts to increase the num- ber of Alabamians on Medicaid through expansion, despite the fact that 75% of those made eligible through expansion would indeed be able-bodied individuals with no disabilities and no dependent children. Facing a budget shortfall and variety of pro- posed solutions, .it appears thatthe first session of the new quadrennium will be a true test of forti- tude within the legislature. It would be na 've to ig- nore the pressure on our legislators to give in and renege on their promises to voters. In fact, some legislators have already been threatened with de- creased funding for their districts if they don't. Nonetheless, this is nearly the same group of individuals who offered their handshake with Alabama in 2010-to create jobs and economic op- portunities, to control wasteful spending, and to block the power grab coming from Washington, D.C. With this agenda as the foundation, signifi- cant progress was made over the last four years that must be built upon. To bacl slide in the face of mounting budget pressures andmixed signals from the executive branch would be a massive de- feat. Voters reelected this majority, and even ex- panded it, because they share the principles upon which this majority campaigned and believe that Alabama is headed in a good direction. Had they wanted the failed policies of Washington, vot: ers would have selected candidates more closely aligned with the President. The new legislature must now decide what its legacy will be. It should view the crises of the mo- ment as an opportunity to pursue real reforms, to make the tough choices that have, in the past, been viewed as politically impossible. Rather than opt for the least difficult or disagreeable ways to fill the budget gap, the slow leaks of Medicaid, cor- rections, and pensions must be plugged and auto- mated spending through earmarks should be reex- amined. "Free money" from a federal government that glorifies government dependency should be reject- ed; and instead, cost-saving reforms to our existing Medicaid program should be pursued. The false choice of new taxes or a reduction in government services should be dismissed, given that Alabama's ratio public to private sector jobs is the 10th highest in the country with costs of employee ben- efits that continue to rise. Opportunities to expand competitive contracting or privatize non-essential government functions should be given new consid- eration. State-owned real property should be more effectively utilized, as other states have generated millions of dollars in new revenue as a result of imp'roved property management, In his list of"Te.n Conservative Principles,'' Rus- sell Kirk noted, "[a]ny public measure ought to be judged by its probable long-run consequences, not merely by temporary advantage or popularity." Some of the proposals being floated may bring about a temporary advantage and others may even be popular, the negative effects of which would not. be seen during the careers of many of our current legislators. Nonetheless, principled leaders should not turn a blind eye to the impact that short-sight- ed plans will have on the generations of Alabam- ians who will follow them. As voters, we must be on guard against actions , that are out of sync with what we were promised in November, We must also support those legislators seeking to do the right thing and encourage them to stay. the course, even in the face of changing po- litical headwinds. - Caleb Crosby is president and CEO and Kath- erine Robertson is vice president for the Alabama Policy Institute. API is an independent non-parti- san, non-profit research and education organiza- tion dedicated to the preservation of free markets, limited government and strong families. If you would like to speak with the authors; please email or call (205) 870-9900. i ............ .... m by Gary L. Welton The basic problem with America's educational system is not that college is too expensive. Nor is the basic problem that public school teachers are underpaid or that educators are poorly trained. The basic problem with America's educational sys- tem today is that far too many children are given the implicit message at home that education is not a prim'ity. "Perhaps the nerds and the geeks need these educational skills, but in our home, they just are not that important." Our schools face a huge challenge today, be- cause the educational message that teachers are trying to inculcate into their students is far too of- ten dismissed at home. If you live in a subculture where education is not valued, it is unlikely you will come to value your own educational opportu- nities. We cannot expect our schools to inculcate values of learning when there is little to no rein- forcement at home. The reality of life is that education and learn- ing is not always fun. I was, and still am, an eager learner; nevertheless, some topics were uninter- esting and seemed pointless when I first learned them. Some things are not intuitive; being sick and missing math class the day we were introduced to right angles, I was totally confused the day I re- turned to school. I could not figure out whether a right angle was the opposite of a left angle or the opposite of a wrong angle. That, of course, was an easy fix with a few questions that evening around the dinner table---an easy fix because my parents and my older siblings cared about education. The college opportunity was not available to my father-in-law, but one of his primary goals in life was to enable his children to be college graduates. In order to fund this educational goal, he worked a factory job in addition to farming his own prop- erty. He only liked one 0f these jobs, but he worked them both, because he wanted to make sure his children had every educational opportunity. In "Look Homeward, Angel," Thomas Wolfe says, "He loved a farm better than anything in the world except a school." My father-in-law communicated that value to his children. My father-in-law saw both of his children suc- ceed in college, and recently celebrated the diplo- mas of all four of his grandchildren. He fostered an educational culture in which education was impor- tant. His children and grandchildren were moti- vated by his own continuing love of learning. President Obama has sought to increase the number of college graduates in America, and is currently proposing that the federal and state gov- ernments pay the tuition for community college students. As Michael Horn recently stated in a CNN column, however, community colleges have not been particularly successful (only 22 percent of students complete their two-year degree with- in three years and 28 percent within four years), in spite of the fact that tuition is already heavily subsidized. He concludes that 60 percent of tuition is already covered by federal, state, and local pro- grams; and, for needy students, the remaining 40 percent is entirely covered by Pell Grants. Horn argues that providing free tuition will not fix the educational system. Indeed, the prob- lem begins in American h0mes. When parents and caregivers communicate that education provides access to jobs and opportunities, and when parents demonstrate that college tuition is high on their list of priorities, students will come to value their educational opportunities. President Obama's cur- rent proposal will not fix the problem unless the core issue of educational value becomes the focus. If we want to improve our educational system, creating an educational culture is the essential and right angle. - Dr. Gary L. Welton is assistant dean for in- stitutional assessment, professor of psychology at Grove City College. 5 7 14 17 ------iiB 24 29 46 II 54 -II 56 57 70 73 d'sh Make the Switch to Dish Today and Save Up To 50% Call Now and Ask How! 1-800-318-5121 Call 7 days a week 8am- 11pm EST Promo Code: MB0113 32 52 II 62 For 3 months HBO ~ slxm'z A d'sh *Offer subje(f Io ~ange based on prernium chart nel avail,31~lity (g~ StatePoint Media THEME: SWEET TOOTH ACROSS 1. Face fringe 6. Like a wallflower 9. Something that hap- pened too fast? 13. One hipbone 14. Romanian money 15. Sheep's clothing, e.g. 16. Bassos, alternative spelling 17. Middle-earth creature 18. Balance sheet.item 19. *Peanut 21. *Popular-pastry center 23. Exclamation of surprise 24. Duds 7. Part of H.M.S. 8. New Mexico's state flow- er 9. Portrait sculpture 10. Mona 11. One who uses some- thing 12. Short for "retired" 15. Pompous windbag 20. Strongly opposed 22. Funerary vase 24. Shiny from moisture 25. *Sour Patch 26. 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