Thursday, May 26, 2011

It's not going to get better...ever.


What do you think? Are they savvy observations or merely the rantings of a cranky, old man?

Sage or cynic?

I think he's spot on.

The great George Carlin owned many talents, the largest of which was his aptitude for jerking down the curtain to expose that man at the controls. His comments, scathing and occasionally offensive as they were, cut to the core of our behaviors and value systems, and he never shied from labeling a quacking, waddling bird as a duck.

Carlin's tirade against "the owners" in the attached clip proved prophetic this week, as Washington's state legislature, facing a five billion dollar budget shortfall, decided that nearly half should bleed from the arteries of our public education system. Teachers, many of whom already personally subsidize their classrooms' pencil, paper and parental needs, were rewarded with a two percent pay cut.

I can't speak for you, but not once have I heard a candidate, Republican or Democrat, pledge to gut education as part of his or her platform. Never has a rolled-up-shirt-sleeve-wearing-town-hall-touring talking head spouted off about how our educational system spoils and pampers our children and needs to be scaled back to accommodate more pressing needs.

So why, once they are elected, do they suddenly change course?

Time to circle right back to Mr. Carlin's thesis. Do the owners, the CEOs, of corporate America really want our children minimally educated, learning only what is necessary to become corporate cogs? And are our elected officials simply their toadies?

I don't think these top dogs really care, one way or another. As long as state budget deficits aren't passed along through higher marginal taxes, the kids can eat caviar or fish heads; doesn't matter. In a land where wealth is coveted and celebrated, no one dares question the morality of a chief executive who pulls down in one year an amount which would rescue a struggling school district.

According to Forbes.com, Lloyd Blankfein, head dude at Goldman Sachs Group, pulled down seventy-three million dollars in 2007. That could purchase a couple of red recess balls and maybe some sidewalk chalk.

Howard Schulz, infamous owner of Starbucks, somehow stuffed $98.6 million into his green apron and decided that, not only couldn't he afford to own the Seattle Supersonics any longer, he also couldn't swing sending a dozen caramel macchiatos down to my wife's high-poverty school ten miles south of Starbucks headquarters.

And Aubrey McClendon, grand poo bah at Chesapeake Energy, somehow found time to purchase the Seattle Suprsonics, massively pollute the environment and campaign against gay rights while still raking in $117 million.

Now that's elite-level multitasking.

As George Carlin so brutally intimated, "It's not going to get better..ever...so appreciate what you have."

I certainly do, because I'm afraid my kids won't have nearly as much.

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