In my last entry, I called for all of us to be a Buddha in the face of this Chinese flu pandemic, part of which means to accept what we cannot change. Implied in that idea is the notion that we should be alert to things that we can change, and to do what we can to change them. I’m finding it impossible to keep up with the news on this subject and to adjust my emotions accordingly and so, I will address just one subject in an attempt to influence my little corner of the blogosphere: Politicians who portray themselves as benefactors of the people by handing out money that was ours to start with should be quarantined from office.
There is no doubt that many, many people need some kind of financial assistance in the current situation, but here’s a good idea, not that it’s original to me: Instead of taking my money in and then handing it back to me, how about you STOP TAKING MY MONEY IN THE FIRST PLACE? Let’s place a moratorium on collecting any taxes at all until 30 days past the date when the current emergency is declared to be over. If ever the local, state, and federal governments had an incentive to find a cure for this pandemic, that policy would surely provide one.
As it is, these elected potentates have no clue, and what’s worse, no plan to pay for the several trillion dollars in aid that they plan on distributing. Which means that the federal government is just going to print more money. Which means that the dollar you get back under the guise of their beneficence isn’t going to be worth the dollar you put in.
Ironically, part of a plan to pay for the recovery has already presented itself: If public schools and universities can carry on in a virtual classroom now, why not all the time? Ask any educrat, “What is the optimal per pupil spending figure that insures a good education?” and the answer in all 50 states is always, “More.” What the citizens have received for their investment of tax dollars are high schools that look like shopping malls, stacks of unnecessary or useless text books, and graduates who can’t make change. Even now, school systems are saving on electric, water, and fuel bills. There is a great deal more tax money to be saved—and directed toward the recovery—by overhauling our entire public educational system.
This pandemic has dramatically altered our way of living, but we should look at it as an opportunity. Let’s pay attention to what we do in this situation and how we do it in an effort, when this is all over, to deliver goods and services (including and especially education) more efficiently, to make our economy more stable and even more robust, and to make our nation more secure and self-sufficient. If we do these things while we are saving lives, then we can truly declare a grand victory. If we return to the way we have always done things we will have wasted a golden opportunity to improve our society.
The Buddha would not like that.