November 18, 2020 10:06:20 AM
Gov. Tate Reeves used Monday's Coronavirus briefing to unveil his legislative budget plan for 2021.
I don't blame him. Given his handling of the pandemic, I'd want to give folks something else to talk about, too.
There's much to talk about in Reeves' budget plan, I'll admit, starting with his idea of cutting state revenue by a third by eliminating the state income tax. That's nothing short of insane unless you are of the opinion that we're spending way too much money on education, infrastructure, public safety, public health, foster care, wildlife and parks, etc., etc.
And, please, don't come at me with the "but Florida and Texas don't have state income tax!" argument. The size of those economies isn't an apples-and-oranges fallacy. It's more like an apples-and-orangutans argument. Nonsensical.
Reeves calls it a bold move to attract new business and industry to the state because companies are always looking to relocate to places where their employees can have access to bad schools, crumbling infrastructure and pitiful quality of life. So, yeah, that's pretty "bold."
If Reeves' plan goes through, we might as well begin to market our state as "The Somalia of the South" and watch all those Fortune 500 companies come rushing in.
I've probably already given this dimwitted appeal to the greed of the ignorant more attention than it deserves, so I'll move on to another little gem found in the Governor's budget plan.
The plan also calls for $3 million to establish a Patriotic Education Program to combat what he calls "indoctrination in the far-left socialist teachings that emphasize America's shortcomings over the exceptional achievements of this country."
Reeves went on to say revisionist history is an attempt to tear down American institutions and is poisoning a generation:
"Capitalism, democracy, and other uniquely American values have been the victims of a targeted campaign from foreign and domestic influence -- aiming to destroy the pillars of our society."
Somewhere in hell, Joseph McCarthy is blushing.
But let's talk about what we know about Patriotic Education.
History certainly shows us the value of Patriotic Education programs. They were a big hit in Cambodia, where the Khmer Rouge made it a priority. They even had fun-filled "camps" where misguided citizens were set straight about what it means to be a good, patriotic Cambodian. North Korea and Russia, to name a couple of other places, have also put a lot of emphasis on "patriotic education."
The idea of spending $3 million for patriotic education does pique my curiosity, though. I wonder what such a program would teach? Or, of greater interest, what it wouldn't teach.
"On the plus side, Black Americans would still be over in Africa in their grass huts being all free and stuff for the past 400 years or so. It worked out great in the end. Why complain?"
The Civil War?
"An attempt by the northern states tried to wreck the Southern economy."
Trail of tears?
"Oklahoma, New Mexico and Arizona have a rugged beauty all their own!"
The Civil Rights movement?
"A communist-backed effort to change our way of life!"
The goal of patriotic education, Reeves said, is to tell both the good and the bad by minimizing the bad and inflating the good.
It sounds like a guilty conscience to me.
If we have reached the point where we feel compelled to teach patriotism, we are admitting that we weren't always so great a country, after all, and, heck, we've still got some work to do.
It's like feeling the need to teach kids to love their mamas.
I would just as soon go ahead and give that $3 million to Brett Favre and call it a day.
Slim Smith is a columnist and feature writer for The Dispatch. His email address is [email protected]patch.com.
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