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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

We can't afford not to do it

The ink is hardly dry on Deval Patrick's words about education -- including a call to make universal pre-school, longer school days and free community colleges -- and the naysayers are already out in full force.

Can we afford it? Is this a move away from testing?

The answers are really simple. We can't afford not to improve our education system from pre-K through college? No. We need to produce well-rounded students who can learn and compete in the 21st Century job market.

And we can pay for it in part by closing tax loopholes on corporations, who will benefit from productive employees who will be working in facilities helped along by other tax benefits. And those new workers will be paying income and sales taxes to Massachusetts instead of some other state.

One of the louder criticisms about the Patrick proposal, other than the whining about it being a "dreamer's wish list," is the fact there is no real meat on its bones. That's because Patrick is opting to put his call for civic participation into play by creating a committee to listen to experts (and academics too) about what is the right way to roll out a decade-long plan.

I know the thought of another committee or task force is the stuff of deep sighs. But so are soaring property tax bills, unaffordable homes, disappearing jobs, the violence that accompanies a lack of jobs and the movement of a talented work force to other states.

A solution that includes fair and reasonable taxes on businesses and individuals in exchange for a better educated, productive workforce is something to strive for. Throw in Patrick's efforts to improve the transportation infrastructure, the biotech initiative and you have the making of a comprehensive vision.

It's also worth noting the purveyors of the "dreamer" put down are the same folks who have peddled the anti-tax "something for nothing" philosophy that is bringing this state and nation to its knees.

This "there is a free lunch" crowd represents the ultimate in special interests. And they have a ready audience in a media that can't or won't take an in-depth look at the problems -- and potential solutions -- because it is too busy chasing Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton. Or cutting its own workforce past bone into muscle in search of double-digit margins.

Time will be the ultimate test of whether Patrick has a real vision or is just peddling smoke. But after the cynicism of 16 years of GOP "leadership" in the Corner Office, I'm willing to dream just a little.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Me, too!

June 03, 2007 7:32 AM  

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