Oklahoma’s Capitol Building (taken by a kind construction worker)
It’s been about a year since I began this Blog for my own mental exercise and to engage in the public dialog afforded by our democracy. I intended to do a kind of year in review and decided, after listening to the reading of our Declaration of Independence on National Public Radio as I have on many past Independence Days, to do so in the style of that most sacred document of our collective journey in democracy. So here it is.
Declaration of Intelligence
When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one Thinker to dissolve any respect which may have connected him with others and to assume going forward an expectation that such other thinkers will consistently fail to meet even minimal standards of research and reasoning, losing respect among the populace of Oklahoma, the better and higher station to which the Laws of Economics and of Fact-Based Research entitle him, a decent respect to the opinion of his fellow Okies requires that he should declare the causes which impel him to the separation.
I hold these truths to be self-evident, that all thinkers are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable intellectual abilities, that among these are Empathy, Reasoning and the pursuit of Knowledge. That to develop these abilities, Governmental and other schools are instituted to educate thinkers, deriving their purpose from the consent of the governed.
That whenever any thinkers about Government become destructive of its just ends, it is the Right of the People to ignore or to ridicule them, and to support new thinkers about Government, laying their foundation on such reason and understanding about its function in the economy and state, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Prosperity and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that thinkers about Government long established should not be challenged for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that people are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by ignoring the thinkers to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and willful neglect of reason, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to seduce them under a spell of false Economics and Public Policy, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such limited thinkers about Government, and to support new Guides for their future prosperity. Such has been the patient sufferance of these Okies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to discard their former Limited Thinkers about Government. The history of the present Tanks of Limited Thinkers, the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs and its echo tank The 1889 Institute, is a history of repeated injuries, shoddy research and fallacious reasoning, all having in direct object the establishment of false Economics and Policy over our State. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
They have distorted facts and logic to deprive state and education workers of a dependable retirement income at greater expense to taxpayers (Hello World, A Turkish de Fright, Fouling Our Nest….Egg, What’s Up Doc? or Should Teachers Eat A Carrot? and When Two Wrongs Make A Right);
They disparage our children’s teachers, publish inconsistent and exaggerated per pupil expenditure data and, while advocating accessing the public purse for private school education, do not ascertain the number of pupils to be so financed and their cost, thus demonstrating their inability to do even the most basic research (This is too much fun, In A Flash);
They advocate the abrogation of contracts, fiscal profligacy and violation of state law in order to deceive the public about the financial status of its various school districts, demonstrating their utter void of understanding about the constitutional and statutory framework by which said school districts must abide (Where to begin);
They fail to understand and apply simple concepts of economic logic presented to introductory students for decades such as the avoidance of double counting and the Paradox of Thrift (Paradox, Double, Double, Toil and Trouble);
They use baseless assumptions and misleading calculations to misinform taxpayers about the true cost of public pensions, all in a likely effort to increase the fee and management income of their benefactors while damaging the financial security of state and education employees (Lies, Damn lies);
They have denied the adverse impact on the State’s revenues and services caused by their advocacy of demonstrably false “Supply Side” tax cuts for the wealthy using distorted and uninformed financial data (Waiting for Dave);
They have falsely represented on statewide television inconsequential legislation as a source of “$100 million in savings on employee health insurance” that could be used to finance pay raises for Oklahoma teachers when in fact health insurance costs have increased (Waiting , Something Special, Done Waiting for Mr. Bond);
They advocate the wasteful and nonsensical imposition of sales taxes on purchases by the state and its political subdivisions, demonstrating their maniacal commitment to the reduction of all publicly financed activities and improvements (lighthouses, The 64 Million Dollar Question);
They consistently advocate the use of one-time funding for recurring expenses of our state’s school districts, thus encouraging fiscally irresponsible action (done waiting);
They advocate increasing teacher compensation by laying off other school employees, deceptively labeled as administrators, without making any reasonable inquiry or conducting any meaningful research about the purpose and necessity of the work they perform for the children of our state, demonstrating their disregard for informed public policy (A dirge for a surge; Purging the Surge, The Ugly Step-Thinker);
They have falsely and relentlessly peddled misinformation assuring the public that school districts have sufficient funding to increase their teachers’ compensation (the glib, the bad, and the ugly);
They have advocated the removal of regulations to permit private companies to pollute the air we breathe, spoil our sources of drinking water, damage the health and safety of our children, and monopolize the provision of essential products and services without constraint of price, by selectively citing only the costs of implementing said regulations without citing the offsetting and exceeding benefits to our state and its people (o regulation, Onward to the Past);
They hypocritically extol the virtues of a national electoral system that can anoint the choice of a minority of voters as the winner while bemoaning the results of local school elections because only a minority exercise their right to vote (crybabies);
They employ simplistic and deceptive graphing techniques to obscure the underlying data relationships and to provide false support for their preconceived conclusions, demonstrating either their inability to analyze data or their intent to mislead the public (short and not the point);
They use selective and elective medical procedures market outcomes to generalize the impact their unrealistic, short-sighted and parsimonious policies would have on the provision of and payment for essential health care services needed to maintain the health and productivity of our nation’s workforce (Spoonful, Dennis Not The Menace, Not An Old Geezer Yet, Looking for Mr. James);
They consistently present ill-researched, glib and incomplete analyses of the effectiveness of governmental services at all levels to further their agenda of delivering tax reduction for their benefactors (they made it look, Shooting Fish in a Tank, Who Wants to be a Billionaire?, Freedom From Want, There’s No Such Thing as a Free Lunch);
They present data and policy recommendations concerning Oklahoma teachers’ compensation that are bereft of reason, accuracy and understanding of fundamental school district finance and public pension actuarial analysis (miserable);
When their rantings are challenged based on facts and reason they resort to baseless threats and name-calling (you’re not in);
They claim intelligent thought based on their doctoral credentials but produce clearly erroneous data grossly exaggerating the level of teacher compensation in Oklahoma, inflated calculations to support their fantasy of diseconomies of scale among school districts and an incorrect description of the growth in per pupil expenditures, demonstrating either ignorance of economics and statistics or an intent to deceive (double, A Rise By Any Other Name); and
They copy and present graphic data that is clearly erroneous, in excess of one billion dollars, in support of their conclusions, and show no curiosity, or perhaps ability, to understand a billion dollar deviation (unbelievable, There You Go Again).
In every stage of these Transgressions I have Posted my Correction in the simplest terms: My repeated Posts have been answered only by repeated injury. A Tank, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Limited Thinker, is unfit to be an advisor to a free people.
Nor have I been wanting in attentions to our Policy-Makers. I have warned them from time to time of attempts by these Tanks to extend an unwarrantable influence over them. I have reminded them of the circumstances of our progress and improvement here. I have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and I have conjured them by the ties of common sense to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our progress as a state. They too often have been deaf to the voice of justice and of reason. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity of our improvement as a state, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, accountable for their intentional and glib acts, but still as Friends.
I, therefore, the Oklahoma Councilor for Public Accountability, a Thinker, appealing to the Readers of this Blog for the rectitude of my intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good reason and fact-based research, solemnly publish and declare, That all Oklahomans of Right ought to be Free and Independent of the unreasoned and harmful Tank-based Limited Thinkers of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs and its echo tank The 1889 Institute; and that as Free and Independent Thinkers, we have full Power to ignore their Limited Thinking which Independent Thinkers may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of rational thought and sound research, do pledge to hold them accountable for another year—though maybe not as often.
Oklahoma Councilor for Public Accountability
As always lunch is on me for the first to ID the introductory photo location. ID’d by Peg Gotthold.