An Open Letter to Sally Kohn

Dear Sally,

I read your article titled, “Why We Need Taxes.”  I just wanted you to know that it is way up there in the on my personal list of, “Clueless Crap Written by Seemingly Educated People.”

Your opinion piece strikes me as something that a high school kid desiring a useless PoliSci degree would spew out at some mindless liberal gathering of young “intellectuals.”  But please, let me further illustrate.

Let’s look at just one slice of just one life: mine. I do pretty well financially and that could be attributed to lots of things, but my education is certainly a big part. I learned to write and think critically attending great public schools in my childhood, paid for by my community’s property taxes.

First, your claim that you learned to “think critically” it an obvious sign that your “critical thinking skills” are about as keen edged as soccer ball.  People think critically by default.  It is a part of human nature to “think critically,” otherwise we’d be worker drones controlled by a queen bee (which sounds suspiciously like the Democrat party these days).

Second, given the complete drivel I read in your opinion piece, it is further evidence that you learned next to nothing in school.

Third, given that your byline states, “Sally Kohn is the Founder and Chief Education Officer of the Movement Vision Lab, a grassroots popular education organization,” it is clear that your highly prized educational experience was so lacking that you could not get a job doing anything productive.

Consequently, you attended a “great public school” because your parents PAID those property taxes, not the community.  That is unless your parents were renters (and, using a little “critical thinking” here, that rent would include their portion of the property tax assessed on the apartment complex and/or homestead), or you lived in public housing.  Your parents paid them because we have little things called child labor laws so you couldn’t work to earn your keep.  Furthermore, any responsible parent realizes their responsibility – further backed up by criminal penalties – to send their children to school.  So, in essence, they had no choice in the matter.

Even those people who don’t have kids, but paid property taxes to support the public school did so with the benefit that a good school provides as it relates to property values (pre-Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac of course).  So, it’s not like they’re paying for school funding out of the goodness of their heart.  People who buy houses look for a home in a good school district as it will have a better resale value.

Finally, you were a kid when you went to elementary school.  How in God’s name would you know whether you went to a good public school or not?  They handed out oranges instead of apples at the cafeteria?  Please…

By contrast, I live in a good neighborhood but my property taxes are funneled into a bad school district.  I have no choice as to where my tax dollars are spent.  And, because I don’t make enough money (because we as parents decided that having mommy stay home and raise the kids is better than shipping them off to daycare where they could be influenced by some liberal, commie psycho), I cannot afford to send them to private school.  Gosh, it would have been awfully nice to get my tax money back so that I could decide where my kids are educated.  Luckily we live in an area where we have Schools of Choice, meaning that I don’t have to send my children off to the crummy school district that I am forced to pay into.  Too bad that isn’t the case everywhere.

Furthermore, educational institutions existed in this country long before there was a public school system.  So please, spare us the lecture that there would be no schools without tax revenue, because that’s complete pap.

When I got to a high school that, because of conservative efforts to starve public schools in the early 1990s, was overcrowded and underfunded, my parents were well off enough to send me to private school.

Ummm…no.

I went through our public school system in the 1970s.  You have no frickin’ clue what “overcrowded” actually is.  Secondly, anyone with a brain and an Internet connection can see for themselves that public school funding has done nothing but go up over the years.  I looked it up for my state, and through the 1990s, well into the next decade, per-pupil funding nearly doubled.  So, where you get this idea that Conservatives were “starving” the system, when the reality is that school funding increased at an annual rate of about 3%-4% per year (which, in most cases, was higher than the rate of inflation during those periods) is a little beyond me.  Maybe, in addition to those marvelous “critical thinking skills” you learned in the public school system, you’ve also learned a new a new form of math?

But I’m awfully glad your parents were well off enough to send you to a private school.  Obviously, they thought that the school system that was funded by their tax dollars was terrible.  Something that basically undermines the point you’re trying to make.  Sucks to be you, I guess.

Given all of that, I would be crazy to think that I am where I am in life solely because of my own effort. It wasn’t even my parents’ encouragement that made the difference. They started me on a higher educational and economic footing than many other kids who come from a poorer background, and I was blessed by the helping hand of government at important points along the way. “My success” is actually a blend of individual effort plus social and economic context.

With the exception of your “critical thinking skills,” your success was purely an individual effort.  Thousands of kids each year – of which many of them are probably far more gifted intellectually than you – do terrible in school regardless of how well their classes are funded.  Thousands of kids each year drop out of school even though public education is free.  Regardless of cost, success in anything is an individual effort.  Period.  Obviously, that keen “critical thinking” brain of yours has never heard the expression, “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink.”

I know that the “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps” narrative of cowboy individualism sounds nice, but the truth is it’s largely a myth. Everyone needs help learning to tie their shoelaces in the first place —  from a mix of family and government and the community around them. (And that’s if you’re lucky enough to be born with boots.)

Most genuine “critical thinkers” are well aware of the fact that a two-year old kid who is still crapping his or her pants isn’t able to get a job at Goldman Sachs.  Then again, if you’re forty years old, and are still flipping burgers at your local McDonalds you’re basically a loser who has never grown up.  Real adults take responsibility for their lives and are independent.  They take pride in being independent.  Much of this has to do with the fact that they’re a role model for their children; children who might get the impression that it is OK to be a lazy slob.  Hence, being a “cowboy individualist” is pretty en vogue with the grownups.

Plus, it probably doesn’t help your case that I know a few people who were, “born without boots” (figuratively speaking).  They managed to find a pair of bootstraps in which to pull.  Money doesn’t buy persistance.

Then again, I have pretty low expectations of people who pride themselves in being a founder and CEO of a “grassroots” organization.

Sure, a few folks may indeed not be trying their hardest but exceptions don’t make the rule. One in five kids is lazy? One in seven adults like being poor and won’t try harder? Get real.

Excuse me, but have you been living under a rock for the last four or five decades?

When someone pays for all of your living expenses after you got knocked-up and dropped out of high school, yeah being poor is awfully cool.  And it gets even cooler when they don’t require you to work.  That’s why we have third- and fourth-generation welfare recipients.  No one with a brain denies any of this. 

I mean, it doesn’t take much to not get pregnant.  You just have to keep your frickin’ legs crossed.  Maybe they didn’t teach you that at your expensive private school?

What’s really clear to me – given the gross ignorance of your aforementioned statement – is that you’ve never been to an urban area like Detroit or Chicago, where girls actually plan on getting pregnant like it is some sort of sick status symbol.  You really think these people actually want to get a job?  Hell no!  Half the time they’re filling out the HHS paperwork while getting’ their freak on!

And you honestly think that people like this really give a damn about the welfare of their multiple children (from different fathers)?  Seriously, grow the hell up!

It’s not surprising since, while we think of Gates’ son, Bill Gates III as creating Microsoft through his own effort and ingenuity, he had a lot of help. Bill Gates started Microsoft with a $1 million trust fund he inherited and learned programming on computers at the public University of Washington, a government-funded institution with systems connected to the government-created Internet. Without that help, all the hard work in the world would not have added up to as much.

The first computer to run Microsoft software was the Altair 8800, which was a microcomputer kit for hobbyists designed and developed by hobbyists.  Its existence had virtually no ties to ANY public funding whatsoever.  Just like the two other computers that preceded the Altair 8800.

The types of computers Bill Gates would have learned off of would have been mainframes, and the programming skills he developed there would have meant little to nothing when it came to developing code for something as primitive as the Altair 8800.  Furthermore, he learned how to program in high school, and not at the University of Washington.

And how do I know this stuff?  Well, like Bill Gates I’m in the technology arena.  I, like many of my generation, learned programming before the public institutions ever offered computer programming courses.  It is no exaggeration when I say that when I took my first computer programming course, I knew more than my teacher on the subject.  How did that happen?  Because my parents, who owned a private business, purchased my first computer with money they made in the private marketplace.

And then I worked at a place while in high school, I saved up a bit of money, and purchased a few books about programming.  {Shudder}

As for the public school system during my time all I can say is this: it sucked.  Even today, as my children go through the public school system, I’m learning that it still sucks.  The class sizes are smaller than when I went to school, and the school system pays for all of this wiz-bang technology, but it is no substitute for basic hard work and understanding.  Instead, I have to sort through layers and layers of bureaucracies over the course of YEARS to get them to do their job the way it should be done.  Yes, this is what I pay my hard-earned tax dollars for: apathy and sloth.  Were this all privatized, I guarantee you I’d get more bang for my buck, and far more flexibility.

In the end, I have to pay more money out of my own pocket to get the type of education that my children deserve.  I’d probably have less stress and frustration pulling the teeth from King Cobras as a career, as opposed to dealing with my local school district.  So spare me the lectures of how great our taxpayer funded public institutions are, because your parents obviously didn’t think so.  They shipped you off to private school.

I’d like to finish your edu-ma-ca-tion with the following – and perhaps the dumbest – thing that you wrote:

The fact is that while CEOs make 1,000 times more than the people who clean their bathrooms, they’re not working 1,000 times harder. Yet the CEOs’ kids disproportionately benefit and are more likely to be rich when they grow up than the kids of the maids, no matter how hard either works. That’s not a land of opportunity. It’s a land of ossified oligarchy.

I guess it probably hasn’t penetrated that keen, “critical thinking” brain of yours that any idiot can clean a toilet.  Not any idiot can be the CEO of a multi-national corporation.  Furthermore, there aren’t a lot of job postings out there for open CEO positions at multi-national corporations. So, that maybe, kinda explains the pay difference, you think?

Here’s another shocker: pro football players make nearly 1000 time more than the people who clean their bathrooms too.  Generally, they only “work” part of the year and only for about a decade if they’re lucky, and the produce nothing – kinda like you.  When compared to someone like me who has held a full-time career for well over 20 years, I think they get paid WAY too much money.

They get paid what they get paid because not everyone can do what they do.  Just like I get paid what I get paid because not everyone can do what I do either.

Putting that all aside, you want to talk about what constitutes and “oligarchy?”  How about the top 30% of wage earners paying the majority of the income tax in this country, while the bottom 50% pays less than 5%?  Doesn’t that sound more like an oligarchy to you?  After all, the government relies heavily on that tax revenue to fund all of its little social programs, and without people like me, they (the government and those poor, virtuious toilet cleaners) are completely and totally screwed.  Ergo, we have the power because we pay the bills.  So, in order to appease the wealth producers, and keep them from moving out of the country, the government is likely to bend over backwards for that select group to keep them around.

Tell me, how does that register with those keen “critical thinking” spidey senses?

Anyone who has ever bothered to look at the end result of all of these “progressive,” socialist wealth-redistribution schemes realizes that all they do is keep the wealthy and powerful…wealthy and powerful.  Which is why all of these obscenely rich billionaires like Bill Gates are all for confiscatory tax rates for people deemed to be “wealthy”: it thins the herd.  It eliminates competition.  It creates an artificial barrier to prevent people from moving from one category of wealth to another, thereby locking in power and privilege.

While we’re on the subject of work and productivity: what specifically do you do as founder and CEO of a “grassroots” organization?  From my experience, such individuals produce nothing, and make an awful lot of money for all of their “effort.”  Is that how my tax dollars and my parents’ tax dollars were spent: educating some do-nothing idiot who generates nothing for the betterment of Mankind?  And please, don’t tell me that “grassroots organizing” is difficult, because the lady who cleans your toilet could do that just as effectively.

You produce nothing.  I pay for it.  You tell me I need to pay more.  Screw you.

I didn’t get a great education.  You see, I was treated like dirt when I went to those fine public educational institutions.  In fact, I basically graduated by the skin of my teeth.  There weren’t many of those fine taxpayer-funded educational professionals around to either understand why I wasn’t doing well, or go even give me guidance.  In fact, had I actually listened to some of them, the highlight of my career would have been being senior headlamp installer on some auto assembly line somewhere.  And no, I am not exaggerating.

I’m one of those “cowboy individualist” people who literally pulled themselves up by their bootstraps…actually, it was more like clawing my way out of a crater.  Twenty-some-years later I’m a highly-paid, highly regarded expert in my field.  In fact, it is not uncommon to hear the word “genius” bantered about when I am described.  I don’t say that often because to do so is immodest.  However, there is a greater point to be made here.

The government and all that tax money you claim is so important didn’t do jack-diddly-squat for me.  One might say it took away ten precious years of my life, and dimmed what might have been a shining career.  Lord knows what I could have accomplished had your lovely taxpayer-funded public school system not beaten me into a near worthless pulp.  Even now, as I work in the automotive sector, there are taxpayer-funded bureaucrats working diligently to destroy the domestic auto market with overly-aggressive CAFE standards.  I’ll make a good chunk of change before that ship sinks, but I’m not entirely sure that it is good for the nation overall.  But please, don’t let that little fact get in the way of a perfectly good fantasy.

I guess the most insulting thing about your little article is the fact that you tout how much of a “critical thinker” you are, and how great of an educational experience you’ve had, and yet you’re basically a do-nothing slob.  You don’t really produce anything.  You can’t really point to anything concrete that you’ve done as “founder and CEO” of a “grassroots” organization.  Hell, you can’t even get your facts straight in a lousy Op-Ed piece.  I, or any general toilet cleaner, could do your job tomorrow just by renting out office space, and used FAX machine. 

I, on the other hand, with my crappy education and on-the-fringe support from non-public entities work with and develop technologies that you could scarcely get your brain around.

Given all of this I, and my parents want our wasted tax dollars back.  Thanks.

Regards,

The Unknown Conservative Blogger.
(P.S. – If you didn’t get the hints, I was implying that your “critical thinking” skills suck.)

 

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One Response to An Open Letter to Sally Kohn

  1. Ithink every one sould be taxed equally on the same level.This post is on the money.I agree and see things from the same point of wiew

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