Forgive my descent into politics, but I can no longer stand to listen to the hypocrites at the Goldwater Institute hold themselves up as a "public watchdog" group that protects taxpayers by opposing any public subsidies to private businesses. They are despicable Liars!
I know most people who support the relocation of the Phoenix Coyotes to Winnipeg are quick to hoist the Goldwater Institute (GWI) onto their shoulders, sing their praises, and lament if only they had such a group in their city or province. Yet if they simply bothered to use The Google, they'd quickly learn they've been played for fools, and wishing a GWI on any community would be about as welcome as an STD.
You don't need to dig deep to uncover the GWI hypocrisy. In fact, it's right on their website. In their archives of position papers and press releases. The fact that no one in the media has even bothered to try and find out if the GWI is truly what it claims to be, is astounding! It really speaks to what the technological "improvements" in the dissemination of information has meant. No one reads newspapers or news magazines anymore. It's TV, talk radio and the Internet. There is no longer a distinction between "news" and "opinion." It's all about being first. Write/tell what you heard before checking it for accuracy. I don't blame the readers for that. I blame the writers, broadcasters and editors that have allowed it to happen. Shame on them.
When the late Sen. Barry Goldwater lent his name to the Institute it was with the expectation that GWI would develop into one of the finest academic "think-tanks" in the country. It would be non-partisan. It would not inject itself into political debate. It would be an academic center researching public policy not only in Arizona, but the world. Never did he envision today's GWI. In fact 15 years ago, when Goldwater was ailing, GWI began its move into the political debate at the local, state and federal levels. Goldwater called the organization out and sought to get his name removed from the Institute. Unfortunately, he suffered a massive stroke that same year and died in 1998. Yet his widow and some of his children and grandchildren continue the fight to get his name removed from the Institute.
That fact alone should give pause to those who have taken the bait and been reeled in by GWI.
We've heard GWI opposes any public (taxpayers) subsidy to private business, and that the sale of the Coyotes to Matthew Hulsizer is particularly egregious and is a clear violation of the Arizona Gift Clause. Yet in 2005 the GWI endorsed, and continues to push both the state and the federal government to get on board with this "Policy Report":
Here's the Cliff Notes version:
"Arizona policymakers could create the nation's first statewide system of ESAs (Education Savings Accounts) by allowing parents the option to use their child's portion of state equalized base funding, between $4,200 and $4,600 per traditional public-school student, to pay tuition at a school of their choice..."
"...This proposal permits parents to open an ESA in the name of each of their children. Instead of channeling children’s education funding through the public education system, the government would deposit those funds directly into each child’s ESA to be spent by parents, creating a system of universal, government-funded or voucherized ESAs."
Is that a direct taxpayer subsidy to a private business? GD right it is. What GWI does not mention is that those "government-funded" vouchers are only good for tuition payments to private schools, and there is no distinction between for-profit and non-profit schools. IOW, direct taxpayer subsidies at the state and federal levels. Neither does it mention that $4,200 - $4,600 voucher removed from public education funding is not replaced. Or that the average annual cost to send one child to a private school (K-12) is ~$8,500. So, if you're considering $8,500 in tuition for your kid at a private school, how cool is that taxpayers will directly kick you >$4,000 that you in turn flip to a private business? So your out-of-pocket expense is now only ~$4,500.
Think about that! Your tax dollars going to offset the tuition costs to parents in a financial position to send their kids to private schools. I don't know about you, but how many people do you know who could easily pay >$4,000 out-of-pocket to send their kid to private schools? BTW, if they had three kids, they'd be getting >$12,000 from the taxpayers. I won't get too more political than I already have, but you can start to see who a proposal like this benefits. Have four kids? Can you afford $35K a year to send them to private schools? No? Tell you what, here's $18K from the taxpayers, so it will only cost you $17K a year. Can you afford it now? Cool, you're in.
But GWI does not stop with the state. They want to go to national, and they want Arizona to lead the charge:
"...Federal policymakers could likewise use ESAs to give parents ownership of the approximately $57 billion currently spent on K-12 education programs.
"Replacing the way states and the federal government allocate education resources with an ESA system of education finance is a revolutionary proposal."
The GWI not only endorses, but is pushing for this. Not just state education funds, now they want the federal matching funds, too. Opposed to direct taxpayer subsidies? My f'ing ass!
Barry Goldwater was a fierce proponent for public education. He believed the education of our children was one of the most important functions of government. He also supported abortion, gay rights, and the legalization of marijuana. Today, the man hailed by many to have launched the modern-day conservative movement would be considered a liberal. He didn't believe the government had any place in people's personal lives.
On gays in the military he was quoted as saying, "You don't need to be straight to fight and die for your country. You just need to shoot straight."
To Goldwater, a strong public education system was vital. Yet the Institute that bears his name has been fighting for more than 6 years to dismantle the public education system. Dig a bit and you'll see some other issues, including "social" issues, that Goldwater supported that GWI opposes and likes to stick its beak in. Hint: it will be consistent with a current and common political philosophy.
Would Barry Goldwater approve, or might he say diverting taxpayer funds that hurt public education is wrong? We certainly know that when it came to the direct taxpayer subsidies to build Bank One Ballpark and US Airways Center, he endorsed the projects after meeting with business leaders. Why? When asked he said it was because of the benefit to the City, County and State in job creation, further promoting tourism, and growing the state's tax revenues.
I'd bet that if he were still around he'd be speaking out on the Coyotes issue. And I wouldn't be surprised if he recommended that Arizonans do what he suggested needed to be done to the late Rev. Jerry Falwell, when the Moral Majority leader led opposition to the nomination of the first woman to the US Supreme Court, Arizona's Sandra Day O'Connor: "Kick em in the nuts!"
You can take issue with Barry Goldwater on many issues, but on this one specifically, there is no doubt on which side the late Senator would come down on. If only current AZ Sens. John McCain and John Kyl would be speak. Or AZs Congressman for the 2nd District (that includes Glendale), Trent Franks. Franks could carry a lot of....wait, he's affiliated with the GWI? His congressional staff has contributed to GWI policy reports? The staff we as taxpayers pay for? Paying them for time to shill for the GWI? Is it me, or does anyone else want to ask, WTF?
A final thought. GWI is fighting tooth-and-nail to get health-care reform repealed. Why? Many reasons, but among them is the claim the new law is a first step toward universal, government funded health-care for everyone. Why does that sound familiar? Oh yeah, because creating a system of universal, government-funded..." education for the privileged is A-OK.