Sunday, April 26

Stimulate this!

"Where Should Stimulus Dollars Go."

So the government is handing out money huh? The question is not where the moneyshould go but how it will be spent. Badly, if history is any indication. Instead of saving what’s left of schools, dealing with the high unemployment and lack of public safety, the State of Oregon is wasting time/money on harebrained issues and distractions. Currently our clueless leaders are working on defining an honest pint of beer, whether bicyclists should be allowed to roll through stop signs- which they do already - and should a retiree be allowed to have a miniature train line on his property. Like, who gives a shit.

Giving states, banks and failing auto companies more money and expecting a culture raised on excessive spending to use it wisely is like giving alcohol to a drunk then being surprised they go on a bender. We can not afford to go on as we have in the past trying every get rich scheme that comes along to prop up our economy and feed our addiction to kitsch.

We sold off our industry, out sourced labor and educate others to be smarter than us. Where do the world’s elite send their kids to college? Right here. Saudi Arabia pays for it’s citizens who come here for college while it is increasingly out of reach to many Americans. And not just at the college level.

Our primary schools are dying of budget cancer. Here in Oregon the coastal school districts has made catastrophic cuts. A recent Register Guard article listed the horrors . . . “Siuslaw has already lost wood shop, the school nurse, a reading specialist, two janitors, a vice principal, middle school art, industrial arts, driver education, study hall, junior varsity basketball and six days from the school year.” There’s nothing left. They are trying to save the ship by tossing the children overboard.

The most important place to spend the money is on education. The best thing the US produces are smart people and that is why educational funding is so important. It is our greatest resource. After W.W.II the US invested in education and raised the standard of living with astounding results. In the last thirty years that investment has dwindled to the point of college graduates today carrying $20,000 -$30,000 in debt with fewer opportunities in the job market. We must create a new model that will make the US education system the envy of the rest of the world and be affordable to everyone.

For starters end specialization. Broaden the curriculum beyond the basics, the sooner the better. Encourage Renaissance thinkers. DaVinci, Isaac Newton, Benjamin Franklin have one very important element in common. They benefited from an education that exposed them to many subjects. Studies have shown the overwhelming positive effect art, music, and theater has on the young in the areas of math, science and language, as well as socialization and problem solving skills. All grade levels should expose the student to as many different ideas as possible. The engineer learns from art as the scientist learns from poetry.

What we excel at more than any other country is innovation and new ideas. After years decreasing productivity, it’s time to turn to the reliable, cost effective and valuable commodity -knowledge to make our society proud again.

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