Plain & Simple
Plain & Simple

In the Penalty Box

In almost every instance I can think of, a penalty is leveled for an infraction of the rules:  Holding in football will cost you 10 yards.  Hitting out of bounds in golf will cost you an extra stroke. Going 45 mph in a 30 mph zone is met with a pricey ticket.  But there is one place that puts Americans in the penalty box for doing the right thing--It's called "income tax."

Everyone that works a legitimate job in this country gets penalized by the government.   Think about it, how often do drug dealers pay income taxes?  Every year, billions of dollars of personal income go untaxed--because the source of the income is illegal. 

Legitimate businesses suffer as well.  To legally conduct business within the US one must fill out paper work with the IRS.  How much money do you think the drug cartels pay to conduct their business within the US boarders? 

The recent exposure of illegal immigrants claiming dependents who live in Mexico and receiving thousands in tax refunds is one more example of fraud that would be eliminated by a sales tax or the Fair Tax. 

Plain & Simple:  It's time to stop penalizing those who work honest jobs and tax everyone!   Everyone in this country is a consumer, while a decreasing number of folks are paying income taxes.

News from the Left

More allegations for the Presidential hopeful Herman Cain.

The most recent charge is from a woman who says she had an affair with Mr. Cain for 13 years.  Mr Cain denies the allegation.  OK, good enough for me.

What I find most surprising is the gullibility of Republicans. You pay no attention to the left-wing media when they push the global warming agenda but take on faith their charge of his infidelity--without an understanding of motive.  I'm sure the woman who makes the allegation is fully trustworthy.  She claims to have lived (and concealed) a lie for 13 years with no regard for the feelings of Mr. Cain's wife.  However, now she comes forward because of the feelings of the other accusers--who's allegations are being dismissed.  Obviously, she is a caring, Christian woman.

Let me tell you the real motive:  Survival!

Mr. Cain is "public enemy number one" to the Democratic party.  He is the only Republican candidate that can look at the African-American population and say: "In three generations, my family went from share-croppers, to manual laborers, to rocket scientist/Presidential candidate.  Not because of the policies of the Left, but in spite of those policies.  Are we all on track for such achievements?"

Plain and Simple:  Mr. Cain is living proof that the African-American community does not "need" Democratic party policies to succeed.  In fact, they have held back the community for generations.  I don't understand why the Right refuses to listen to the Left media on virtually all issues, except when they are dividing Republicans while "helping" vet a candidate.  

Department of Redundancy Dept.

When I was earning my degree in English composition, I had a professor who taught me the skill of identifying and eliminating repetitious expressions, or what some might call...redundancies.

We see and hear them with such regularity, they've become easy to overlook.  Within the last week I've heard the following:

(armed) gunman
(free) gift
(advance) warning
(foreign) imports
(filled) to capacity
(face) mask

There are hundreds of these redundancies that are wasteful and add little benefit to what has been said.

The Federal Government is a wonderful source of needless repetition as well.  
For example,

(U.S.) Indiana Department of Education
(U.S.) Indiana Department of Labor
(U.S.) Indiana Department of Health
(IRS) Indiana Department of Revenue
(Federal Bureau) Indiana Department of Corrections

We have allowed these costly redundancies to exist for so long, we fail to see the absurdity of such repetition.

Plain & Simple: When you start looking to cut Federal budgets, start with the hundreds of billions of dollars the Federal Government takes annually for services already provided by the states.  The savings would add (up) quickly.

The Elephant in the Room

The male African elephant stands about 10-13 feet tall and weighs around 4.5 tonnes.  No matter how hard you tried, it would be difficult to ignore one if it were standing near you.  Unless, you are involved in the American media.

One week ago today, 840 tonnes of crystal meth making precursors were seized in Mexico.  That's enough tonnage to make 350 million doses of meth with a street value around $28 billion--or a herd of 187 elephants.  The story originated by Reuters, was picked up world wide...but only a handful of American media outlets ran the story.

I suppose they figured it was of little interest to the American people--which is odd since virtually all of this meth would have stampeded over the southern boarder into the United States.

It appears the American media is unwilling to keep us informed about the issues that truly impact the people.  It may be political bias or a fear of back-lash from the truth.  But good journalism is not safe, it's investigative and informative.

Plain & Simple:   Without the facts, we can't make informed decision about important issues--in this case boarder security and drug enforcement.    To ignore one elephant is difficult at best.  To ignore an entire heard, while it poises itself to stamped America, is unforgivable.  What else are you not telling us?  In my business, such practices would be considered malpractice.

Stop & Go

What would you do if you were driving your car and came to a traffic light that was blinking both red and green?

You'd most likely wonder if you're supposed to stop or go.  Fundamentally, you can't do both at the same time.   It's a rather perplexing situation and one I ran into this last weekend at our own Indianapolis Zoo.

As we walked into the dolphin building we were greeted by a sticker on the sliding glass door that boasted the zoo is using 100% green energy.  Inside, the dolphin trainers asked everyone to take the "carbon pledge" and protect the wild dolphins from carbon emissions. 

After the show, we exited the building and happened upon a kiosk filled with lots of souvenirs--almost all of which were made guessed it: China.

So while the zoo is all "green" on the surface, they are selling trinkets from the most polluting country on the face of the earth.  

Plain & Simple:  Don't get me wrong.  I love our zoo.  But fundamentally, they can't sell it as "green" and sell so much that is red.

Based on Your Ability to Play

A few years ago, I was working in the ER and had a patient brought in by ambulance for an ankle injury sustained while practicing for a big  3-on-3 basketball tournament. 

X-rays showed he had not broken his ankle but the exam revealed he had a very significant sprain.  I really admired this guys tenacity as he pushed me to say he could still play in the tournament.  He figured some tape and a compression bandage and he would be good to go.  I told him that if he could play without putting weight on that ankle, and on crutches, it might be ok--otherwise my answer was "No."

I wanted him to follow up with the orthopedics group the next day so I asked if he might need a work excuse to make the follow up appointment.  To my astonishment he looked at me with a very matter-of-fact expression and said, "Oh, no, I'm on disability."

It took a minute for me to process that concept.  He could play basketball but not work?

To name but a few-- I've also taken care of others on disability who have hurt their back while moving a house full of furniture, cut their hands while doing a brake job on their car, a guy who twisted his ankle when he fell putting on a new roof, and one who fell off a trampoline while playing with the kids.  One of my personal favorites was an 18 year old patient who came in for "back pain" and made it clear she "Just can't function" and was applying for disability.  I could find nothing wrong except for her obesity and smoking habit.

Plain & Simple:  My experiences are shared by every ER provider I've ever talked to about this situation.  Disability is truly one of the most abused social medical programs.   Somehow, granting people disability has an amazing curative property allowing them to function normally again.  This is not to say some people don't need disability.  But the overwhelming majority of those who draw it, don't deserve such a benefit.  It's time to  restructure disability and weed out the abusers.

Time for a New Car

Most people agree when the cost of maintaining your old car is more than a new car payment, it's time to retire the old car.

I argue the same is true of governmental policies as well.

With Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security fraud reaching roughly 40% (give or take a few percent depending on sources), it would seem an obvious solution to redesign these programs.  Further, since Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security and Homeland Security account for about 60% of our national budget, such a move would save U.S. taxpayers about 3.36 trillion dollars a year.

What would the new system look like you ask?

Well,  just a few examples might include:

--smokers would not be given government paid medical benefits--new cars don't even come with cigarette lighters or ashtrays anymore.
--Social Security disability would be extended to only those who really can't work.
--people who are receiving unemployment will be required to work for the government to "earn" their unemployment benefits...During the great depression, people swept streets to get their check.  Such work should be required today.  And don't forget the mandatory, random drug testing.

Plain & Simple:  It's time to retire the plush old Cadillac government programs folks have been cruising in and replace them with  programs more in line with  a "smarter" more economical vehicle.  These programs may be here to stay, but it's time to redesign the programs so they don't cost so much to maintain. 

Rule Number 9

George Carlin used to say: "Dishonesty is the second best policy."

Of course he was only kidding.  But it appears that some might have misinterpreted his sarcasm.

Indiana legislators voted 73-23 in favor of House Bill 1210 which includes a provision requiring women seeking abortions be told that the "procedure carries a risk of breast cancer."

According to local reports Rep. Eric Turner of Cicero "...hopes with this legislation, women will be able to make a more informed decision about their pregnancy..." 

Possibly, but it would be a misinformed decision. 

The US National Cancer Institute (NCI) has concluded that there is no link between abortion and breast cancer.  But why let medical facts get in the way of political agendas? 

The truly nefarious part of the law is it "requires" medical providers to provide information that is not medically sound in order to attain a certain political result--a practice that (in any other circumstance) would constitute a breech of medical ethics. 

Fortunately, some in the House did propose an amendment to strike the breast cancer provision, and require information given to women seeking abortions be "medically and scientifically accurate."  But the ideas were rejected wholesale by majority House vote.

Plain & Simple:  I believe that many who voted in favor of House Bill 1210 are well-meaning good Christian people.  But I must remind you of Rule Number 9: Thou Shall Not Lie.  More importantly, you have not right to compel medical professionals to breech their ethics to advance your political views.  Finally, to those who voted in favor of the bill...Do you really support misinforming the public?

Life or Meth

Despite the fact that pseudoephedrine now requires a signature at the pharmacy, Indiana has seen an increase in the number of 'meth labs" throughout the state.  Legislators are now attempting to halt the production of methamphetamine by making the compound a Category II controlled substance--which would require a prescription to attain the drug.

Those who oppose the law in Indiana must admit Oregon (the first state to enact such a measure) saw a 70% drop in meth-lab busts after passing such a law.  Likewise, those who support the measure must admit the street availability of methamphetamine in Oregon has not changed.

As local "mom and pop" production decreased, the "big box" suppliers have stepped up to the plate.  Using decades old cocaine cartel distribution routes, Mexican super-labs are producing and exporting methamphetamine at an astounding rate. 

Over the last decade, Mexican imports of pseudoephedrine have gone from 66 tons a year to over 224 tons.  Crystal-Meth (the super pure, and highly lethal product produced in Mexico) is so potent, a users first dose can be their last and it accounts for approximately 50% of the drug found around the United States.  The toll is devastating--not only on people, but on pocket books

Is requiring a prescription the answer?  Well, despite the explosion in methamphetamine abuse, more Hoosiers still abuse prescription drugs than methamphetamine--but not for long if the trend continues. Methamphetamine is so addictive that 92% of those that try it one time, will never get clean--a fact producers are counting on.  It accounts for more emergency room visits than all other drugs combined. 

Plain & Simple:  If we do not seal the border, further restrictions on the use of pseudoephedrine will not affect the supply of methamphetamine on U.S. streets.  We failed to seal the border decades ago when Mexican cocaine was rampant in the United States.  Once again, we see an epidemic in our country that is fueled by Mexican cartels.  We hear of the plight of the poor Mexican migrant worker and the hardships they face if we seal the border.  But I ask, when can we start to consider the toll these cartels have on our friends and children?  How about the hardships we face as a nation "in and out" of rehab.  This is about our nation leading a productive life or meth death.

This isn't a Game

Imagine you're out walking the dog down the boardwalk and you notice "suspicious" behavior at a little green house down Pennsylvania Avenue.

As a concerned member of the neighborhood, you call the authorities who respond and expose a large methamphetamine lab.  As the neighbors gather at the scene they are baffled when the police leave the house and  explain they can do nothing because drug enforcement is the responsibility of the U.S. Government--not state and local officials. 

Sounds rather absurd right?

Well once again I open the paper to see there is confusion regarding the roll of the state in "distinctly federal" responsibilities.  In this case it pertains to immigration (not drug) enforcement.

Despite the fact no reasonable individual would rescind local authority to enforce illegal drug activity, some vilify states for attempting to identify and enforce illegal immigration activity.  It would be unreasonable to call the Feds every time police find a joint in someone's pocket.  In reality,  the DEA is in place in an attempt to limit drug trafficking between states, and across U.S. borders.  When they fail to stop such activity, it becomes the responsibility of local authorities.  This should also true for illegal immigration.

Plain & Simple:  People are tired of the "get out of jail free" mentality.  Now legislators are responding with a "go directly to jail, do not pass go, do not collect $200" mentality.  Our Federal Government does not have a monopoly on enforcement of laws pertaining to illegal drug activity--nor should we expect them to handle illegal immigration on their own.  Enforcement  efforts must be collaborative between state and the federal authorities.

Time to Repeal Speed Limits?

Speed limits are in place for many reasons: fuel conservation, public safety, "speed kills," etc.  Like them or not they exist--and they are enforced!  

However, it would seem it's time to repeal speed limits altogether--at least if we use the logic employed by some opponents of strong immigration enforcement.

In today's Indianapolis Star, John Livengood, co-chair of the Alliance for Immigration Reform in Indiana, was quoted as saying that the unintended consequence of strong illegal immigration legislation would "...put a sign on the state saying we don't want immigrants."     This same logic would dictate that posting speed limit signs would send the message:  "We don't want people driving on our roads."  In truth we don't want people driving 70 mph in a 50 mph zone.  That's not acceptable, and it won't be tolerated.  It should make it clear we don't want ILLEGALLY driving.

Others feel illegal immigration laws are discriminatory because they fall unevenly on certain groups.  By that logic, so do speed limits.  I'm confident that Indiana law enforcement officers write a greater number of tickets to visitors from Illinois, Ohio and Kentucky than folks to visitors from California, Florida, and Delaware.  This is clearly discriminatory to Illini, Buckeyes and Wild Cats--or is it because people in states closer to us are more likely to travel through our state?

Plain & Simple:  It's impossible to have a logical discussion on immigration when people refuse to acknowledge the difference between legal and illegal activity.  Also, the law of averages can't discriminate because it's a function of probability--not selectivity.

Americans + Canadians = Better Health Care?

A + B = C.

This seems to be the justification for American health care reform where:

A. Health insurance for all is good.

B. The Canadians love it eh!

C. The Americans will get better health care.

Unfortunately, the real equation is a little more complex and looks a little more like this...

A + B + (x + y + z) + 45.7 million votes + 1.5 trillion dollars = C


x = health and hospital corporations
y = insurance companies
z = political self interest

Placed in a word problem it would look like this:

Health care for all is a good thing...the Canadians love it.  The hospital corporations, insurance companies and politicians will all work very hard to spend 1.5 trillion dollars to make it happen for the 45.7 million people who are forced to go without insurance.  How many Americans will notice an improvement in care?

Answer:  0  (To see my work on this problem click here).

Plain & Simple: A + B does not lead to C in this case.  I've said it before and I guess I have to say it again: "Insurance coverage does not equal health care."  The interests of of the corporations will be met, but the needs of the people to see providers will be further strained.   In the end, the proposed reforms won't t add up to better health care.

The Silver Lining to the Dark Clouds of Taxation

Some say every cloud has a silver lining.

According to a recent op-ed piece in the IndyStar, raising taxes on alcohol is a good thing because it will positively affect the amount of underage drinking in Indiana.  The authors further point out that a portion of the tax should be put toward treating those with alcohol/drug addiction.  Such a move would save society about $7.46 per dollar invested in such programs.  It sounds good, except for one little problem...

It's called reality:  Each year the states collect roughly $22 billion in revenue from tobacco taxes and the 1998 state tobacco settlement—a mere 7% of which would fully fund smoking prevention and cessation programs in all 50 states.  Only 3 states fully fund such programs (Indiana isn't one of them). The other 47 divert the funds for "other needs."

Plain & Simple:  Addicts live lives of lies and deception which destroy the well-being of themselves and those around them.  If you ask an addict where the rent money went, they'll tell you "Something really important came up."   Intervention is the term used when the addict is cut off the from his high, confronted about the long standing deception and forced to take responsibility for their actions.  It is a difficult, but proven road to recovery.   I really hate to rain on this parade, but the last thing we need is another tax for politicians to abuse.  To many of these folks, it's their drug of choice.  A little taxpayer intervention at the polls would be the real silver lining.

Smoke and Mirrors

In an attempt to end the battle over work-place smoking, (i.e. in bars) the Indy Star and the anti-smoking lobby unsheathed the broad sword of science and assumed a position of triumph.

This weapon was honed by a report titled: "Estimating the Economic impact of Secondhand Smoke on Indiana in 2007." Today's star headlines conjecture that secondhand smoke is a problem costing Hoosiers $390 million a year.  The only problem is that there is no hard data to support the conclusions of the study. 

The data used for the analysis was based on hospital discharge reports, death rates and census data.  Using such data would go something like this...

A 52 year-old, non-smoking male, 5'8" tall, weighing 350 lbs dies in the ER from a massive heart attack.  Stricken with grief, his widow lights up a cigarette in the consultation room.  The physician appropriately notes under social history that his spouse smokes.  Researches conducting this study see his name pop up on the screen during their search and attribute this death to secondhand smoke--not his morbid obesity.

A child gets an ear infection.  One of the parents admits to smoking-but never around the children.  As above, the ear infection is attributed to second hand smoke.

You get the picture.  It's not possible to prove secondhand smoke is the causative agent.  I will concede that it is a contributor.  However, attempting to attribute full culpability upon secondhand smoke is folly.

Plain & Simple:  The danger here is that once again statistics are being put forth as hard evidence.  This information will be used to outlaw the legal practice of smoking in privately owned and operated businesses.  I don't fear the sword in this argument--It's big, but the edge is dull.  What I fear is the still concealed dagger of junk science and false pretense which has been far more damaging in recent years. It's just one more example of political smoke and mirrors.

Did you hear the one about...

Did you hear the one about the state legislator who wanted to increase access to medical care?

To do so, she wrote a bill that required more doors at health clinics.

No, really!

Specifically, we're talking about the clinics located in pharmacies and big-box stores which typically treat the "routine" stuff.  The proposed legislation would require such clinics to construct separate entrances, mandate the patient's primary care provider receive a detailed report of the clinic visit and that prices be displayed outside the exam room.

The author of said bill stated:  "We're just trying to make sure that they meet standards like other physicians have to do."

Really?  Well after 7 years in the ER, I've never sent detailed reports to a primary provider, nor have I seen a price-list in the waiting room.  However, I do have a revolving door at the entrance-which never stops moving.

Currently the State Department of Health does not license these "walk-up" facilities, but regulates them through the license of the doctor in charge.  Translation: A problem with the care rendered at such facilities holds the doctor in charge accountable-period. 

Plain & Simple:  Health care legislation must be in the best interest of the patient.  The requirements of this bill will stifle competition, inflate the cost of routine medical services provided by these clinics and add more expense to the state.  It's bad for patients and taxpayers, which are one in the same.  And that's no joke.

What have you been smoking?

I still remember the old anti-smoking campaign that simply stated "Smoking Stinks."

I totally agree, but I have to tell you, statewide smoking bans stink for a different reason: attitude is one.

Instead of saying, "Let's help people quit smoking,"  the attitude is "Quit smoking you terrible people!"

I say we quit attacking the people and attack the problem!

The best way to deal with second hand smoke is to eliminate it's primary source:  smoking.

"The states already collect nearly $22 billion a year in tobacco-generated revenue from tobacco taxes and the 1998 state tobacco settlement. Just seven percent of this tobacco money would be enough to fund tobacco prevention and cessation programs in every state at levels recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).   Unfortunately, only three states - Maine, Delaware and Colorado - currently fund prevention programs at CDC-recommended levels."

Where does this money go?  Up in smoke of course-which also stinks because it's increasing our taxes.

"Smoking prevalence among Medicaid recipients is approximately 50% greater than that of the overall U.S. adult population...persons receiving Medicaid are affected disproportionately by tobacco-related disease and disability..." which leads to greater health care costs paid for by taxpayers.  

But that's not all:

Years ago, James P Siepmann, M.D. wrote an article titled: Smoking does Not Cause Lung Cancer using WHO and CDC data to make his case.  In the end he showed that it certainly contributes to one's propensity to get lung cancer, but there are so many other risk factors that contribute to lung cancer that smoking can hardly be linked as THE cause.  Remember, exercise leads to better health even if you smoke! 

The studies that attribute thousands of deaths to second hand smoke are far from conclusive because of numerous confounding factors: poor diet, obesity, lack of exercise.  Such bans are another example of a society wanting to take a pill, not responsibility, to achieve good health. 

Plain & Simple:  If you think this ban is part of the "solution", you have been smokin' something.  Hoosiers should concern themselves with addressing healthy lifestyles and smoking cessation, not smoking locations.  We've got bigger fish to fry--I mean bake.  It's more healthful.

You Get What You Need

"But Dad, I need that train!"

"I know it's very cool, son, but we can't afford it right now.  Our property taxes went up, we're paying more sales tax than ever, and there's a $700 billion dollar bailout looming to cover a monster governmental screw-up for which I'll have to kick in more money."

"But Dad..."

"But dad nothing, I bought you a new stadium last year, which I'll be paying off for the rest of my life.  I'm tapped out!  I know you want a train but what you need is a fleet of buses and an appropriate infrastructure, like sidewalks and bike trails, so people can get to those buses. You can use the millions of dollars that would be spent maintaining a train to bolster Indygo.  I want you to have regional mass transit, but we have to do so sensibly.  I just can't afford a train right now!"

"We could float a bond issue and buy it on credit.  We have a AAA rating right now."

"Son, I know they didn't teach you about credit in school, but buying with credit is not a good thing.  Maybe someday we can afford the train.  Just not right now.  Go outside and ride your bike.  Watch out for traffic, there are no bike lanes."

Plain & Simple: I'm glad we could have this little talk--maybe it will get through to supporters of a light rail system.  Spending hundreds of millions of dollars on a train right now is irresponsible.  There are cheaper alternatives that will cost a fraction of the light rail.  We can't afford another bond issue or tax right now.  Because I'm sensible, I'll push not for what we want, but for what we need:  Sensible mass transit.

Attention Bargain Shoppers!

Question 1.
You enter a store to purchase a new MP3 player.  The item lists two prices: $122 or $100.  Which would you prefer to pay?

Question 2.
You need a new dishwasher.  You are told you can pay $610 or $500 for the same unit.  Which would you choose?

These questions seem ridiculous, but they're examples of questions Japanese educators actually pose to young students to help them understand money and the true cost of credit.  The answers for most Americans are easy.  Most will pay $122 for the MP3 player and $610 for the dishwasher because they'll pay with a credit card that charge an average of 22% interest.


Instead of protesting the federal bailout for our current economic crisis, people should be protesting what's passing for education.  Sure kids can pass calculus, but they can't balance a check book

This is no bolt out-of-the-blue!  A 1999 report by Lewis Mandell (Dean, School of Management- University of Buffalo) pointed out,  "Millions of American teenagers graduate from high school every year without a basic understanding of how to manage their money."  As we see now, the result is costly.

Unlike my incumbent opponent who chaired the Senate Education committee, I don't favor No Child Left Behind, and now you see another reason why.  This costly program doesn't address a kid's need to think critically or practically. Such programs force our educators to abandon teaching the practical application of subject matter. 

Plain & Simple: With proper education, many young adults would have passed on sub-prime loans, expensive car loans and buying everything with a credit card.  Greedy people will always prey on the weak and ignorant.  We trusted our Republican and Democrat leaders to protect the honest investor from economic catastrophe.  They failed.  I expect our state leaders to start educating our kids appropriately.  If elected in November, I will work to make education mean something again.  Don't allow our kids to be set up for failure any more.  We can't afford it.


What's a Good Name for a Side-Kick?

Able to stop a speeding bullet...
More powerful than a locomotive...
Able to leap the State House in a single bound...(Probably not this last one)
It's a bird, it's a plane, it's...


I've been meeting more and more citizens of this metropolis, and crime is a big concern.  Well "Have no fear, The Underdog is here!"

If elected, I will sponsor legislation similar to the 10-20-Life legislation in Florida.  The Florida State Department of Corrections says: "10-20-LIFE has helped to drive down Florida's violent-gun crime rates by 30 percent."

Wow! A simple piece of legislation that can have that kind of impact?  Why haven't our legislators done this already? 

Plain & Simple:  One need not be a fabled crime-fighter to help protect the citizens of Indiana.  Legislators refuse to flex a little muscle with the criminal element but have no problem strong-arming taxpayers for more money to fight crime.  It's time someone in the State House showed the pen can be mightier than the gun.  Disguised as your mild-manned Senator, in concert with my trusty taxpaying side-kick (that's you), we'll do just that!

Now, what's a good name for a crime-fighting side-kick?

Looking for a way to pay

Have you ever noticed that every government solution costs money?

Today's IndyStar editorial about funding for after-school programs says: "As with parks and other essentials that are threatened with funding shortfalls in this anti-tax climate..."

Hold the phone.  Are we being accused of not wanting to pay to support after-school programs?

The way I see it, we already fund a solution.

How about this: state university students studying education are already subsidized by our tax dollars.  Why not require education majors to participate in study hall/after-school programs as part of their degree training? They get experience and credit towards their degree, kids get tutoring, and we get the most for our tax dollars.  I think this would be such a mutually beneficial experience, that even the private universities would want to participate.

Plain & Simple: We're willing to help others.  We just want to do it in the most cost-effective manner possible.  Why don't our legislators come up with these types of solutions more often?  Well, elect me and I will.