Monday, August 29, 2005

-- 30 --

"Thirty" at the end of a submitted story meant the reporter had concluded.
It was a standard journalistic symbol back in the days of typewriters.
I don't know if much of anybody (other than one free-lancing writer friend) still uses it.
Jack Webb made a movie with the title of "--30--" way back ... and the best source I know of on that subject is Check it out.
Anyway, I'm saying "-- 30 --" because this is my last blog entry on the generally miserable Times Free Press, at least for the foreseeable future.
Last week, the Hamilton County Commission voted 5-4 (those numbers sound familiar?) to raise the local property taxes.
That was bad enough, but both the left-wing Times and the right-wing Free Press editorialists praised the decision as "the right thing to do," and praised the miscreants who passed such a vicious, not to mention ill-timed, proposal. (See for more comments on courage versus wisdom.)
As all people, even editors, know, gasoline prices have soared. Everything hauled by truck has, as a result, increased in price, including groceries.
Individuals and families are rapidly approaching financial crisis.
Businesses are cutting back on payrolls; individuals are cutting back on purchases.
Burdens need to be lessened, not increased.
The Times has probably never met a tax it didn't like, but the Free Press has usually, though certainly not always, called for restraint in government, thus opposing higher taxes.
The new tax won't be paid directly by me, since I'm a renter. I will, of course, pay indirectly.
The new tax will, though, be borne by the working and producing people, and maybe even by some employees of the "news"paper.
The amount of the tax is about the same as the cost of a subscription to the Chattanooga Times Free Press.
I'm urging as many people as I can reach to drop their subscriptions, telling the publisher and editors that they're doing so because of the unconscionable support by the editorialists of the unconscionable tax increase.
The politician and editorialist excuse given for the increase is the usual one: for the schools.
The government schools have already been given the largest percentage of the local property tax gouge, and they still have done a terrible job of educating the local children.
What is wrong is the same problem with every other government entity. The process is botched; the premise is wrong.
Essentially, everything a government touches it fouls. Government can do nothing without first initiating force, including threatening people to force them to hand over as much money as it can coerce.
Anyone who objectively peruses a government budget can see item after item after item that is, at best, non-essential, as usual wasteful and unnecessary, and at worst criminal.
Every time some budget-writing body meets, special interest group after special interest group appears and details why its particular pet project is absolutely the most essential, most vital project the body could possibly fund.
Why, the Acme Boulevard Property Owners Association plan to plant tulips in the median will just absolutely make the city or county, and, why shucks, it will cost only about $12,575, money well spent, obviously.
Immediate past County Commission Chairman Curtis Adams spoke on a local talk show about that process, saying something like, "Everybody who appeared was just the nicest person."
I interpreted that to be a wry comment along the very lines I'm taking: Everybody believes his project is worthy, and worthy of taxpayer support.
Maybe not quite worthy, though, of the interested people's putting up their own money.
Many a mickle, said my Scottish forebears, makes a muckle.
All those possibly nice but certainly not vital projects make the eventual budget a vote-getter, perhaps, but definitely a burden on the taxpayers.
One supporter of the increase told me the teachers need more money.
Of course, I said. It is pretty hard to overpay teachers, considering not only what they do but what they have to put up with.
The local superintendent, though, is grossly overpaid. There are, as with probably every government agency and body and bureau, way, way too many administrators, way, way, way too many bureaucrats.
They are the eaters of substance, the destroyers of efficiency, the chief cause of waste. They are the misusers of money that could, indeed, be used to pay teachers more nearly what they deserve.
Still, it's not just the fouled-up school system that is burdening the county budget.
It is waste, such as all the taxpayer-funded trips one commissioner has made, many with racial overtones.
That commissioner, William Cotton, Jr., also is notoriously slow at paying his own tax bills.
Yes, that story was in the Chattanooga Times Free Press news pages.
So, Cotton wastes more taxpayer funds than any other commissioner; he creates more controversy than any other commissioner; he is slower to pay his own taxes than any other commissioner; and he pushes harder than any other commissioner for a tax increase on the producing and working members of the community.
Despite his hypocrisy and his evident corruption, his pro-tax position prevails.
The current commission chairman, Fred Skillern, was one of the "no" voters, one of the opponents of a tax increase.
The Times editorialist is proposing one of the tax increasers be named the new chairman.
Generally, across America newspapers endorse every kind of government growth. Sometimes they oppose seeming violations of part of the First Amendment, but generally they accept or even endorse every other Amendment's violation -- including the rest of the First beyond the "freedom of the press" clause.
Newspapers often, if not usually, endorse tax increases, except those on newspapers, of course.
Why, a sales tax on single-copy papers is ... why, it's unconstitutional!
So we've denounced papers generally and the Times Free Press specifically as hypocrites, as enemies of freedom, as obstacles to prosperity.
It's time to quit buying the thing.
Oh, I will still see one occasionally. I do like the funnies, especially the current love fest with the "Blondie" strip approaching its 75th anniversary. (All the crossover references alone would make a great book.)
But, interestingly, all those funnies and many more are available on the Internet. For free.
I won't willingly and knowingly give my money to an enemy.
And the Chattanooga Times Free Press has announced itself the enemy of not only me, but of all the working and producing people, of all the people who prefer liberty to serfdom.
There will be no more copies of the Chattanooga Times Free Press in my home.


  1. ``I fail your piyne`` as Bill Clinton would say! I stopped buying the St. Louis Post-Dispatch years ago, for many of the same reasons you site (and numerous others.)

    Whatever you do, don`t quit writing this blog; the blogging world needs your good sense and wit!

  2. I agree with Timothy Birdnow - you can't abandon this blogsite. It's great reading.

    I DO disagree with one thing, though. Teachers are NOT underpaid. They always whine that they are, but consider this: They work only 9 months out of the year. They get 2 weeks off at Christmas (which they now call "Winter Holiday), one week for spring break, and the other holidays such as Thanksgiving, MLK Day, etc. They have a great retirement system (or so I've heard) and they get most of the summers off - so what the hell are they whining about? Yes, they DO have a lot to put up, thanks to the fact that Mom is not at home to discipline them anymore, but there's also THIS fact: When a college freshman decides to major in Education, he/she knows going in what the salary is, yet he/she goes ahead with the 4 year program in preparation and then joins the profession only to begin whining about the pay. Also consider this: most teachers today are doing an abominable job, just parroting the politically correct agenda of the education system, so if anything, they are OVERpaid. I'm with Neal BOortz - SHUT DOWN THE GOVERNMENT SCHOOL SYSTEM.

  3. Make that "...since Mom is not at home to discipline THE KIDS anymore.." although many of the teachers also need disciplining....