Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Very Definition of Insanity

A classic one-liner, that doing the same thing over and over again expecting to see a different outcome is the very definition of insanity, can be improved on now.

The news that the recently passed federal budget bill had in it an amendment that repealed the so-called Doggett Amendment inspires a corollary to the definition of insanity. The Doggett Amendment was an amendment putting a special condition on Texas that its leaders must guarantee that the $830 million in federal aid to education that it receives will be used for education and  that educational spending levels will not be less than the previous two years. A guarantee that lawmakers could not keep to, and one that Rick Perry would not make.

Rick Perry very ingenuously said he could not make that guarantee because the constitution prohibited him from doing that. Then lawmakers shorted Texas school districts by $9 billion in the state house, and $6 billion in the state senate. But now its all moot because the Doggett Amendment was repealed. Texas Senator Cornyn was ecstatic.

From the Austin American-Statesman:

“Said Republican U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, ‘It is welcome news for Texas students and teachers that this critical funding has been recovered after an untimely political stunt jeopardized these much-needed resources. Petty politics have no place in what should be an otherwise simple equation that fairly distributes federal education dollars to each state. Texas schools were unfairly penalized and left in the dark during one of their most challenging budgeting years to date.’”

Indeed, this would be good news for Texas teachers. This is enough money to buy needed textbooks that will be adopted in the next two years, and save the jobs of 10,000 teachers to boot. But you see, John Cornyn is delusional if he thinks that this deal means that there will be  $830 million more dollars for public education in Texas. Other Republicans I have talked to today are of similar opinion.

That’s just insane.

An additional definition for insanity is this: seeing someone do the same thing over and over again, but expecting him to do it differently the next time.

Rick Perry is a classic huckster. He puts a pile of cash under one walnut shell, moves three of them about and you can never guess where the cash has gone off to. He does it all the time. Here is what is going to happen: Rick Perry will willingly take all $830 million off the feds’ hands, put it in the Education Budget, and then subtract $830 million from the Education Budget, shifting it off to his favorite causes. If he can do this with the $3 billion federal stimulus dollars marked for education in Texas, he can surely do it with $0.83 billion.

This action is specifically why the Doggett Amendment was crafted.

So Governor Rick Perry and the GOP majority have $830 million in additional federal grants to play with and schoolchildren in Texas get the shaft one more time.

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