Chuck Moss, Michigan State Rep for District 40, which of course is my district.
I voted for this yahoo in the last election(2008), even though at the time it seemed like a good idea to chuck every Republican out of office. Of course, as we’ve learned allowing one party to have too much power is a recipe for disaster. Anyway, the dude seemed reasonable enough, I mean for a politician and a lawyer. I know, what was I thinking?
Anyhoo… I might have continued to hold such a view if I hadn’t made the mistake of sending him an email expressing my discontent over the matter of school budget cuts. It wasn’t my idea, but at the request of the PTA. These cuts will come after funds from the state had already been set. And this isn’t the first time that Lansing has done this to our schools.
Anyway the response I got was typical political malarkey. Check it:
Thanks for writing me about the School Aid Fund budget. This budget is a Bi-partisan, Democratic/Republican effort to balance the budget. House Speaker Andy Dillon and Majority Leader Mike Bishop joined hands to get a budget done and avoid a shutdown. I don’t like all the cuts either, especially to education, but with our revenues down 22% and unemployment at 15%, we face hard choices.
Actually, the budget as adopted decreases the per-pupil state aid by $218, but allows local districts the flexibility to absorb the cuts by reducing or eliminating any other funded (categorical) program except a handful like Durant, special education, school lunch. In other words, the schools can use the “categorical” money for their own educational priorities, something that school groups specifically asked for.
Once again, no one wants to make any cuts to schools, but when our income goes down so drastically, we have to do what every family does and tighten our belts and live within our means.
Of course I get the obligatory thanks for writing which is immediately followed by Chuckie touting the Bi-partisian efforts, as if this is some great accomplishment, when it should be the norm. I love the “joined hands” phrase, as if to conjure images of too best buddies frolicking in a meadow. Then of course I get hit with numbers to set me up for the justification for the cuts, which comes with the rhetorical device of beginning with “Actually….” an attempt to strike a pose that suggest this is really not as bad as it sounds, and in fact you should be thankful it is not worse. But I don’t think anyone would be thankful for $218 per pupil cut, especially after the district was already counting on this money. Because these dipshits up in the state capitol cannot get their act together in time we, the citizens, have to suffer. Furthermore, Mr. Moss sees no problem in cutting things like special education and school lunches, because the unfortunate children with disabilities aren’t really worth education anyway and there’s no need to provide a hot lunch option to our children. They should suck it up and brown bag it like he did, it’ll build character.
I found it curious that he does not like all the cuts but he does not explicitly express his dislike for the cuts to schools. This made me wonder, since Mr. Moss lives in Birmingham and has two daughters, do his children attend the public schools. Turns out they do not, although they did. They’re grown now and — wait for it — that’s right living out of state. Lucky for them, eh. They got their education, from the same school that my daughter now attends. And then what? Bolted the state, which I can hardly blame them for. After all, we plan to do the same, although in mine and my wife’s defense we paid for our state-school educations here in Michigan and have worked and paid taxes in the state for more than a reasonable amount of time. But I digress, as I am prone to do. The point is, Mr. Moss really has no vested interest in the schools. But I can’t help but wonder what cuts are not being made. Not to mention will this budget include reasonable tax increases to balance the cuts.
In another email, I called Mr. Moss out on this point and he seemed to feel that his daughters having once attended B’ham school gave him some kind of credibility on the matter. Talk about political gobbledygook, a term that Mr. Moss took offense to. He’d have preferred that I call his position bullshit! Why are so many Republicans potty mouths? Or trying to pick up other men in potties. Oooh! That was just so wrong.
Another bit of political gobbledygook that I called Mr. Moss out on was his attempt to endear himself and deflect constituent ire but referring to us all as a family. He denied this was what he was trying to do, claiming that is the gov’s rhetoric. The gov happens to be a Democrat and so often used by Repubs such as Mr Moss as a scapegoat or someone to pass the buck to. Criticism of the Gov are not wholly undeserved. Of course, that doesn’t make them useful or productive. It is just petty sniping and a waste of time, which is why the solution to the budget crisis here in Michigan has become so dire. Anyway, to further counter Mr. Moss backpedaling, I found this video clips of him using that very same phrase.
Also worth nothing in this video is his mumbling dismissal of cuts that would effect children and seniors at approximately 1:39.
And then at approximately 2:49 he takes a partisan dig at Dems, saying that the stimulus money from Obama is like oil money, and suggesting that the state should not be taking it. Because it is more important to cut school budgets than to accept funds from a President that isn’t of your party.
But is this a good reason to leave the state? No, not alone. But considering it along with other factors, it makes the move easier to justify, not that justication is required.