Stagemanager to poor kids: Go play in the streets

I guess when your name is John Hood and your job is to hate government on behalf of Puppetmaster Pope, you shouldn't be surprised to find pure idiocy spilling from your keyboard. But it's still ironic that Hood has this to say in an era where local governments are squeezed under the thumb of anti-tax free-marketeers.

The Charlotte Observer reports that community organizations in Mecklenburg County are seeking to attract public dollars to park improvements by offering to put up some private money as part of the deal. One group wants a lighted soccer field. Another desires a lacrosse complex. A third seeks to make playing-field improvements for its Little League programs. While it’s good to see private money mingled in with the taxpayer dollars, it’s not good to see county officials spending time and resources on these programs. Charlotte-Mecklenburg, like many other fast-growing urban districts, faces major challenges in accommodating traffic growth and surging school enrollment. Schools and roads surely top the list of priorities (along with, in the Queen City, crime-fighting). Scarce taxpayer dollars need to be expended first on these priorities, and only after sufficiency directed (if ever) to recreation.

Hood then goes on to write about his own family's needs, about looking for "camps, classes, and team sports to fill their evenings, weekends, and summers." Poor John, so many choices to make.

The limited-government case for a public-sector role in education concerns the need to ensure a base level of schooling in a self-governing republic. It is not predicated on training young people to gain employment, or improving their physical health, or tapping their creative talents. Recreational and summertime programs do not meet this test. They are not a proper use of money taxed forcibly from the people who earned it.

So there you have it. Well-to-do yuppies get to send their kids to whatever they can afford, and the options are many. But when it comes to public parks and recreation programs that provide opportunities to people who may be working three jobs and still living in poverty? The Stagemanager says screw 'em. Why am I not surprised.

Comments

What an idiot.

This is either someone who has no children, or who lives behind the walls of a gated community with its own pool, tennis courts, and fields. I'm sure his "let them eat cake" response is that kids should just join the local country club.

Community is one of the three factors that decides the health of a person, the other two being physical/mental well-being and spirituality. It is interesting that people from this wing of America believe in spirituality in our schools and courts for all, but shun healthcare for all and now community for all - instead limiting those to only the wealthy.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

Ditto.

Well said.

Bad boys

But the John Locke Fauxndation will tell you that its OK to pay police to round up kids who get into trouble (because there are no community activities) and incarcerate them at the highest rates in the western world because law enforcement is a true function of government.

That says it all, Greg.

For people who occasionally purport to take the long view about culture and society, the lock-em-up mentality is insanely counter-productive. You would think that just the cost-benefit analysis alone would lead them to support progressive policies . . . but they are blinded by an ideology (free market capitalism) that's every bit as extreme in its application as its polar opposite (communism).

Gotta agree

with the tone of this thread. What does it cost to keep someone impisoned for a year? $100,000? More? You could build a lot of parks at that rate.

I worked in the recreation

/non profit industry for over a decade. While families in the suburbs have literally dozens of options (from organized activities to their own back yards) for their children, those that live in more urban areas fight over a patch of grass to hold a t-ball game.

When I saw this article in yesterday's Observer, I immediately recognized many of the organizations offering to pitch-in on the project and knew the lack of available green space on which to run programs was the driving force behind all the interest. Having available space is THE determining factor in whether or not a program is offered.

With that said, the need for these programs far surpasses the physical/recreational value. For many children, especially those living in urban neighborhoods, lower socio-economic areas and single parent households, access to activities such as youth sports and after school programs is often the way to insure the child is safe, fed (these programs often provide snacks) and supervised. These simple elements can prevent gang involvement, improve academic performance, reduce early sexual activity and teen pregnancy rates, as well as combat childhood obesity.

Too bad these things aren't a good use of public tax dollars.