Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Rendell should not hike taxes to gain control of our pre-kindergarten children

Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania
3915 Union Deposit Road #223
Harrisburg, PA 17109

For Immediate Release:
Date: 03/13/2006

For more information contact:
Doug Leard (Media Relations) or Chuck Moulton (Chair) at 1-800-R-RIGHTS

Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania (LPPA) supports parent choice for pre-school

Rendell should not hike taxes to gain control of our pre-kindergarten children

Governor Rendell entered office promising to make early-childhood education his signature issue. Since then, he and the legislature have dramatically increased pre-school spending - $230 million last year.

Although promoting universal pre-school creates a wonderful photo opportunity for Rendell and Pennsylvania legislators, it is bad for Pennsylvania.

First, parents are doing a good job. According to David Salisury, director of the Center for Educational Freedom at the Cato Institute, “throughout the 20th century, the scores of preschool age children on IQ and kindergarten readiness tests have climbed steadily upward.”

Second, most parents want responsibility. According to a report from the nonpartisan polling firm Public Agenda, more than 7 out of 10 parents with children aged five or under say they should be responsible for paying the costs of caring for their own children. Even a majority of parents earning less than $25,000 a year believe that they, not taxpayers, should be responsible for the costs of raising their children.

Third, the child-care market is healthy and heterogeneous with diverse choices for the parents and children it serves. Costs have remained steady in real terms since the late 1970s.

Fourth, giving control to government will cause drastic cost increases. Just look at primary education. According to the PA Department of Education, Rendell has increased spending by over $1.1 billion during his tenure. According to the Commonwealth Foundation, Pennsylvania ranks 3rd in the nation in per-pupil spending, when adjusted for the cost of living, with an average expenditure of nearly $11,000 per student. Also adjusting for the cost of living, our teachers have the highest average salaries in the country, exceeding $51,000 per educator. Yet, 25% of Pennsylvania teachers failed 2003 certification tests.

Finally, while costs spiral upwards, the government continues to struggle to provide quality results as an education provider. Of public 5th graders, just 57% score as proficient in math and 64% in reading on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) exams. Interestingly, scores decline the longer the children remain in government schools.

By extending control of education to pre-school, Rendell will increase our taxes placing additional burden on families, restricting their choices and damaging the effective pre-school system we have today. Instead, the LPPA recommends that government reduce the tax burden on families, providing parents with more funds and options for determining the best early education for their children.

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Friday, March 03, 2006

Harry Browne: 1933 - 2006

It is with deep sadness that I note the passing of Harry Browne. Harry was a 2x Libertarian candidate for president of the United States, author, radio talk show host and financial planner.

Until I saw Harry on C-SPAN, I had no idea that there was a political party that I agreed with. Now I'm running for office and I can only dream of matching his elegance when explaining the benefits of liberty. He will certainly be missed and never forgotten. He was an inspiration for me and countless others. He always said that life should be enjoyed, not endured. That rings true for me.

Rest in peace friend. We will continue the fight and we will endeavor to enjoy our short time on earth.

Below is one of my favorite Harry Browne compositions: "A Gift for My Daughter" from 1966. I hope I can teach this lesson to my daughters.


A Gift for My Daughter
by Harry Browne
December 25, 1966

(This article was originally published as a syndicated newspaper column, dedicated to my 9-year-old daughter.)

It’s Christmas and I have the usual problem of deciding what to give you. I know you might enjoy many things — books, games, clothes.

But I’m very selfish. I want to give you something that will stay with you for more than a few months or years. I want to give you a gift that might remind you of me every Christmas.

If I could give you just one thing, I’d want it to be a simple truth that took me many years to learn. If you learn it now, it may enrich your life in hundreds of ways. And it may prevent you from facing many problems that have hurt people who have never learned it.

The truth is simply this:

No one owes you anything.


How could such a simple statement be important? It may not seem so, but understanding it can bless your entire life.

No one owes you anything.

It means that no one else is living for you, my child. Because no one is you. Each person is living for himself; his own happiness is all he can ever personally feel.

When you realize that no one owes you happiness or anything else, you’ll be freed from expecting what isn’t likely to be.

It means no one has to love you. If someone loves you, it’s because there’s something special about you that gives him happiness. Find out what that something special is and try to make it stronger in you, so that you’ll be loved even more.

When people do things for you, it’s because they want to — because you, in some way, give them something meaningful that makes them want to please you, not because anyone owes you anything.

No one has to like you. If your friends want to be with you, it’s not out of duty. Find out what makes others happy so they’ll want to be near you.

No one has to respect you. Some people may even be unkind to you. But once you realize that people don’t have to be good to you, and may not be good to you, you’ll learn to avoid those who would harm you. For you don’t owe them anything either.

Living your Life

No one owes you anything.

You owe it to yourself to be the best person possible. Because if you are, others will want to be with you, want to provide you with the things you want in exchange for what you’re giving to them.

Some people will choose not to be with you for reasons that have nothing to do with you. When that happens, look elsewhere for the relationships you want. Don’t make someone else’s problem your problem.

Once you learn that you must earn the love and respect of others, you’ll never expect the impossible and you won’t be disappointed. Others don’t have to share their property with you, nor their feelings or thoughts.

If they do, it’s because you’ve earned these things. And you have every reason to be proud of the love you receive, your friends’ respect, the property you’ve earned. But don’t ever take them for granted. If you do, you could lose them. They’re not yours by right; you must always earn them.

My Experience

A great burden was lifted from my shoulders the day I realized that no one owes me anything. For so long as I’d thought there were things I was entitled to, I’d been wearing myself out — physically and emotionally — trying to collect them.

No one owes me moral conduct, respect, friendship, love, courtesy, or intelligence. And once I recognized that, all my relationships became far more satisfying. I’ve focused on being with people who want to do the things I want them to do.

That understanding has served me well with friends, business associates, lovers, sales prospects, and strangers. It constantly reminds me that I can get what I want only if I can enter the other person’s world. I must try to understand how he thinks, what he believes to be important, what he wants. Only then can I appeal to someone in ways that will bring me what I want.

And only then can I tell whether I really want to be involved with someone. And I can save the important relationships for those with whom I have the most in common.

It’s not easy to sum up in a few words what has taken me years to learn. But maybe if you re-read this gift each Christmas, the meaning will become a little clearer every year.

I hope so, for I want more than anything else for you to understand this simple truth that can set you free: no one owes you anything.