Ready, Fire, Aim!
Hits and misses from around Missouri newspapers, blogs, and elsewhere today:
- Education Week has a story on how the increased enrollment in charter schools across the country has hurt enrollment at Catholic schools. We have certainly seen this in St. Louis, with the controversial decision to close several city parishes and schools in recent years. I think this is one of the things that just happens. As parents get a less expensive (free), quality option for their children’s educations, many low-income people are going to take that. Change is often good, but nobody said it was always easy.
- The Arch City Chronicle is reporting about a bill that would take away the driver’s licenses of teenagers not in school. While I certainly understand the use of incentives to keep kids in school, and none is more powerful than a driver’s license, I would recommend to you Eric Dixon’s post the other day on unintended consequences. A fairly obvious unintended consequence of this bill would be to limit the employment opportunities for teenagers who have left school. It would be limited to jobs along public transit routes, which don’t require a car. Now, that may be a decent number of jobs, but further limiting opportunities for people who are already limiting their own opportunities might not be such a good thing.
- Missourinet has a story on the Missouri House of Representatives moving to restore the deductibility of property taxes for outstate taxpayers who work in Missouri. This is an excellent, and unanimous, move by the House, and if it passes overall it will head off retaliatory moves by other states. This is very important to me, because I commute here to work from Singapore.
- Finally, in a contender for stupidest idea of the year, the Post-Dispatch is reporting that Illinois is considering lowering its voting age to 17. However, an even worse idea is contained within the article:
Alex Koroknay-Palicz, executive director of the D.C.-based National Youth Rights Association, said his group is pushing for the voting age to be 16 across the country.
"(They’re) informed, active and intelligent, and they deserve a voice in our democracy just as much as everyone else," he said.
Koroknay-Palicz said 16- and 17-year-olds are typically more stable than an 18-year-old. Eighteen-year-olds have more on their plate — starting college, getting a job or moving away from home, he said.
"The trouble is, though, that when you give people the right to vote at 18, it’s actually a bad time to start voting because you’re going off to college or getting on with your life," Koroknay-Palicz said.
Seriously, is this a joke? Is there really a National Youth Rights Association? How are they funded? Do they get an allowance from other lobbying groups? As for being informed, active, and intelligent, when I was 16 I was none of the three, and I now work at a think tank!
If you don’t have a voice in how your own house is run, you don’t need a voice in how the country is run. This guy’s statements remind me of the end of Wild In The Streets, after the 20-year-old dictator insults a kid, and the 10-year old looks in the camera and says, "We’re gonna kill everyone over 12." (And yes, I deserve enormous praise for not only being able to reference this camp classic, but to paraphrase it from memory despite only seeing it once about 15 years ago.)
Alex’s statements just get more absurd. His arguments that 18 is a bad time to start voting could just as easily serve as a reason to take voting rights away from senior citizens. Switch "…starting college, getting a job, or moving away from home," to "retiring, collecting social security, and moving into an assisted care facility," and wham!, it now makes the point that there is too much change in your 70s for you to vote. Just unbelievable.