Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Modest Proposal for fixing the School Board budget crisis: outsourcing.

Hi everyone,

I cannot imagine why this wasn't obvious from the beginning.

Solve school budget woes by outsourcing

Parents’ disposable income will soar with tax savings

I made a mathematical error a couple of weeks ago about how much the tax levy would cost the average district tax payer. I’d misheard the number through the jeering crowd at the September School Board meeting. Some friends with better hearing pointed me to the printed documents and, rather than $15 a month for a $200,000 house, the actual number comes closer to $9 a month. For a median priced house in the district, the cost would be even lower.

Still, for the loudest complainers who heard the correct figure, even the lower rate was too much. I realized these people must be in rough shape financially or that, maybe, they’re just frugal. I looked at the 2007 American Communities Survey census-update to find out.

Admittedly, unemployment here is up from 5 percent in 2007 to 12.2 percent in September. If people are unemployed and paying a big mortgage, then $9 a month can be a lot of money, but what about the 87.8 percent who aren't unemployed? How are they doing? It turns out they’re doing pretty well.

About 72 percent of the housing in the district is owner-occupied. The average household of an owner-occupied unit is 2.6 people so, assuming 2 parents, that’s actually less than one child per household. Moreover 45 percent of these people have two cars and 20 percent have three. The median household value in 2007 was about $192,000 which means the average tax paying citizen in the district has a monthly mortgage of around $1,100, assuming a 30-year fixed mortgage at 5.6 percent with 20 percent down and about $2,600 a year in property taxes.

Those booing the rate increase, then, pay on average $1,100 a month in mortgage costs. Since about 65 percent of them have two or more cars and can afford $1,100 a month on their mortgages, an extra $9 looks pretty affordable.

So maybe they aren’t broke, maybe they’re just frugal and let’s face it, kids are expensive. In fact, the cost of raising a child in the U.S. rolls in – like a tsunami – at around $230,000 over 18 years.

But there’s good news. I’ve figured out how to save them even more money on the costs of raising their kids: outsourcing. Why not outsource raising our children to China? Why shouldn’t we apply the principles of free trade to child rearing? Let the market prevail! Ship them off for 12 years to be raised and educated in China.

I wasn’t able to get absolute figures from China or India but as a percentage of GDP, China spends 2.2 percent to the United State’s 4.8 percent (in 2003 data) so let’s be conservative and assume it’d cost about half as much to raise a child in China. That will leave parents not only with $115,000 in personal savings, but saves them money in lowered tax rates at both the state and national levels. Plus that extra $9 a month to spend on whatever they want. Think of the cost savings and the economies of scale – and think of what they can do with all that extra money.

Other advantages aren’t immediately obvious. Parents won't be bothered with the financial or psychological burden of raising their children, which will significantly lower stress levels and, with the introduction of these new child-rearing efficiencies, buoy the economy. People could finally afford all the toys they’ve been putting off buying for themselves, like that 52-inch TV, a fourth car, or maybe another snowmobile, and all the Starbuck’s mochas they want. They’ll be free to divert any of their income to satisfying personal wants instead of covering the cost of being responsible for their children.

Sure, the kids will be missed, but there’s Skype and Facebook – parents will still be able to see their kids, over the Internet, anytime they like. The kids will also learn Chinese and be better at math than other American kids, like Chinese kids are now.

Best of all, these outsourced kids won’t have to endure the psychological trauma of being raised by parents who think that $9 a month is more important than they are.

While we were are it, maybe China would cut us a deal for outsourcing Jackson’s police department, too.

Ah, Swift.

More seriously, there are alternatives. I see in the Daily News today that St. Joe's Hospital said their physicians are moving over to Slinger because West Bend's school facilities are hampering their recruitment -- something predicted last year when the Bleed the Schools cadres managed to disable part of the referendum. Nice going guys.

So, what to do? Support West Bend Schools, that's what. There's a new website with the details. Happily enough, it's called Support West Bend Schools.



Anonymous said...

Here is something I commented on the other day at WISSUP-Uncensored. I initially thought it was CMS insurance, a different commenter corrected me on that.

"Did anyone notice that CMS (actually should have been RESTAT) Insurance chose to not consolidate their operations in West Bend (where they are headquartered),and will be relocated in Milwaukee, 140 employes? 60% of their employes live in West Bend will have to commute now. CMS (RESTAT) claims that the reason they did that is because there was no suitable space available in West Bend at a reasonable cost and they don't want to do new construction. Furthermore, they didn't entertain any overtures from the City to induce them to stay(sometimes things can be facilitated by the City as an economic development/job retention initiative or TIF funds).

I call BS on that! I think it is because West Bend is starting to come off as a bunch of backwoods hicks, what with the library "porn" controversy and the yahoos who yell about the West Bend school taxes being too high despite the fact that they are the f---ingest lowest in the area. Save $240 a year on taxes ($200,000 home), but spend more money driving to work.

Thriving businesses are usually built by intelligent people - lately it doesn't seem like intelligent people are welcome in West Bend. Expect more of the same."

I think our "conservatives" over at WISSUp, Boots & Sabers, and Common Sense Citerzens" need to petition the city to revamp their zoning codes so that manufactured housing (i.e, trailer homes)is allowed. That demographic would have have lower expectations of the school system (hell, by the time they get to high school age, they probably wouldn't be attending anyway, so that would alleviate any potential space issues down the road),and would provide a ready pool of low-wage workers for the fast food places & stores (we would all benefit from lower prices - it doesn't do any good to make big bucks commuting to a high paying job in Waukesha if you can't get a cheap cheeseburger to slam down your throat on the way to your "Common Sense Citerzen" meetings, right?).

Some might say that we would see more crime from the trailer home demographic, but that the conservative "law & order" types wouldn't mind that - our ramp-up of jails & prisons is just a conservative "feel-good" program anyway.

Kevin Scheunemann said...


Isn't China a little too capitalist for a good communist country?

Why not Cuba, Venezuela, or Zimbabwe?

If we want our kids to see and experience the true economic and human destruction caused by actual implementation of leftist economic policies, including high taxation and government taking private resources, and providing a disincentive to work, let's choose "real" communist countries to outsource to. Not half-hearted communists like China flirting with full fledged capitalism.

Where's your true passion for government runnning and owning everything!

Mpeterson said...

Kevin, you know that the more you write, the less I have to say, right?

Kevin Scheunemann said...

So demonstrating absurdity to the proposed absurb propostion of the original post is not good?

Duly noted.

"Outsourcing students" to China is not a reasonable conversation point. It will never happen.

Isn't saying either you favor higher taxes or you favor "outsourcing students to China" a fallacy?

Why don't we focus on the leftist governor cutting funding from the state? Technology improvements to reduce staff?

Why is higher taxes the only solution in your book?

Anonymous said...

I think the point of the Peterson article,Kevin,is absurd.

He rants and raves in homage to Jonathan Swift.

There is a link for Kevin to better understand the irony.

Mark does Kevin justice when they both stick to a point.

But that is what every law-abiding citizen would call "free-trade"

Oh,and you forgot to impos4 book burning-a standard you must regret like the cream cheese you put on you apple sauce that you now regret cause it is on new,black,shiny,cowboy,boots.

Kevin Scheunemann said...


So its OK for Mark to be ironic in "Swift" fashion.

But its not OK for me to be ironic in "Swift" fashion about the natural, and disasterous consequences of higher and higher taxes and more and more government control being advocated with the irony?

I thought it was fairly clever to use the absurd irony of outsourcing to real socialist countries to teach kids about the ultimate economic destruction and consequences of ever gaining government control of resources---the ultimate position Mark is advocating through higher taxes.

Anonymous, I use my name because I am not ashamed of my political positions...why don't you demonstrate similar pride on your positions?

Anonymous said...

try as you might, you will never be clever, Kevin.

kevin scheunemann said...

I don't need to be clever.

Its a proven fact, when the "gates are down" people flee countries with leftist economic oppression policies toward capitalist countries.