Merry Effing Christmas to Rick Perry and the Tea Party -- From the Kids

Categories: Get Off My Lawn

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I'm having particular trouble this year with Toys for Tots. Put it on me for being a grinch.

But, look. I see this big smarmy hoopla on the TV news every night with the weatherman and a bunch of shiny-eyed volunteers in North Face parkas handing out useless plastic Big Box crap for the poor children and, in my view of it, they look awfully damned pleased with themselves. So this is my question:

Is anybody involved with Toys for Tots a Rick Perry Tea Party Republican? I hope not, but if so, here is my holiday thought for you. Keep your damn toys.

If you fit my description, then you are personally responsible for this year's state budget, the one Governor Rick Perry keeps bragging about because it doesn't involve a tax hike or money from the state's reserve funds to stanch the bleeding in safety-net agencies.

As a result of your budget, Texas Child Protective Services will eliminate 800 positions this year and slash rates paid to service providers by 12 percent.

Cuts in their phone-answering staff are expected to produce 85,000 instances in which people try to report abuse of a child but no one takes their call.

How bitter is the picture for children in our community?

thegrinch.jpg
Did you not get Rick Perry's Christmas card this year?
Ten years ago, a report by the U.S. General Accounting Office (now the Government Accountability Office) found that 200 children a year in Dallas County were being abandoned by their parents to CPS solely because the children were mentally ill and giving them up was the only way their parents could get mental health services for them.

That's a national phenomenon -- your kid is crazy, you're broke, giving him up is the only way to help him -- but it has an especially nasty flavor in Texas, one of six states in which it's illegal to give up your kid solely to get mental health services.

In order to get rid of the kid here, you have to show a pattern of abuse. Don't even ask me how that is accomplished.

That was 10 years ago. Do we think this situation has gotten sweeter or more bitter since then? I know what I think.

Little kids are not the only victims of Dickensian Tea Party cruelty. So are adults who are mental children. Kim Horner at The Dallas Morning News did a story October 10 on a program called The Arc that provides adult guardians to look after the well-being of mentally disabled adults. She gave an example of a guy whose landlord was cashing his disability check for him, which more than paid the rent, but the landlord was pocketing the rest. A guardian assigned by The Arc put a stop to that.

Half of The Arc's budget came from the state. Thanks to Perry and the Tea Party, all of that funding was cut.

We could go on. But here's the bottom line. The Perry Tea Partiers comprise the worst plague to afflict poor children in Texas since the Comanches. At least the Comanches scalped and disemboweled children as a legitimate expression of their culture and morals. I don't know what to say about the Tea Party.

It's a free country. Do as you may. But I hope you guys aren't also popping up on TV in the expensive parkas doing the Toys for Tots thing for the cameras. Because if you are, somebody ought to punch you in the mouth.

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Texan
Texan

Liberals like you kill me.  Your economic policies and all around hatred of successful business people lead to a drop in taxes, which just so happens to fund all of these well being services, and then you sit around and bitch when there is not enough money to fund all of it.  Did you see any budget cuts like this when GWB had the economy roaring?  No, you did not.  You liberals need a strong economy to fund all of your social programs, but you spend all of your time sabotaging it.  I don't get it.

Travis Rex
Travis Rex

Rick Perry's "Rule of Ruin" started long before the teabaggers did..and let's not fool ourselves..teabaggers are just really angry republicans...nothing more...nothing less.

ralph
ralph

Since when is it the gov'ts responsibility to care for anyone's child?  Shame on me for introducing personal responsibility here. Guess it is too much to ask to handle up on your own business, eh?  Figure it out!  Almost every state is broke because of the massive entitlement programs.  Fact:  This just in - Obamacares unfunded mandates are a fiscal time bomb set to explode state balance sheets across the country starting in 2014. States can prepare for the worst by slashing discretionary spending where possible and lowering existing health care costs by repealing their own burdensome health benefit mandates. But the only real solution is full repeal of Obamacare.  Currently, 20% of the state budget is spent on Medicaid, and growing!!  What are you uninformed posters expecting?  Oh I know, it's the gov'ts responsibility.  You are clueless.  Reading the generalized asinine comments here is absolutely ludicrous.  And I suppose you all vote, too. 

RTGolden
RTGolden

Yet I notice, in your generalized and asinine comment, you don't offer up any viable solution.Yes, personal responsibility is an admirable trait.  So is social consciousness.  Taken at face value, your comment is saying we should expect a 6 yr old, born into poor conditions to take personal responsibility for his situation and handle up on his own business. 

How?

ralph
ralph

The solution is not for a 6 year old to handle up on his own business - that is a ridiculous statement.  It is far too easy for terrible parents to just throw their kids away - this is our fast food society that has been created.  Too many things are disposable, like divorce and kids.  You can't legislate parenting.  We are a reactive society, not proactive.  The gov't (us tax payers) is there to bail out those irresponsible parents (continually, too) that give up far too easily.  The leaders of this country are enablers for the continuance of this behavior - incentivizing bad behavior.  Tax and spend, more social programs to bail out the increasing irresponsible people with no repercussions, etc.  This might be your answer to social consciousness, but not mine.  Can you tell me what is being done in the black community that has 70% of its kids born out of wedlock?  I know - let's keep throwing money at them because they are broke.  More kids = more monthly $$$.  The irresponsible have the rigged game figured out.  Someone like me calls these programs out - and I am the unsympathetic SOB.  Which is far from the truth.  I don't like quitters, and the current system incentivizes quitters.  The best solution I believe is teaching youngsters how to be completely responsible, have good judgment and moral character.  This is a start.  Our job as parents is to do this for our kids, or any other kids we may have an influence, and when they are adults they will turn that into wisdom when they make their own choices and be held responsible for them.  It may take several generations for this to be effective until the current crop of terrible parents are purged - proactivity always beats reactivity in not only cost, but in this situation, moral character too.  Again, it is a starting point.  Gov't money should be spent here in droves.  Throwing droves of money at a problem after the fact is completely ludicrous.  It is also ludicrous reading the droves of emotional bantering from folks on this site, including the author of the article. 

RTGolden
RTGolden

Your ideas and mine aren't that far apart.  I advocate severe welfare reform, not severe welfare reduction.  In today's economy, reduction of social safety nets would be tantamount to genocide.  You would condemn millions of innocent, needy people to destitution and despair.  Sure, there are people gaming the system.  My comments earlier pointed that out.  What we need is reform.  Quarterly review of welfare qualifications, community service in return for welfare or unemployment benefits (get something in return), and a limit to subsistence (the moral injunction is to clothe the poor, not style them).  Obtaining social services shouldn't be impossible, but it should be a brobdignagian task that yields lilliputian returns.For instance, when I got out of the military, I qualified for unemployment.  I would have made more taking unemployment for six months than i earned in the job I did take.  That is why the system sucks.  When it is more lucrative for a person to be on the dole than it is for that person to be at work, the system needs to be revamped.

carbonfriend
carbonfriend

48 out of 50 states and DC cut their education budgets among many other budgets cut across the country.  The blame should be aimed at the Oblamer in chief.  This entire failed economy and record breaking deficit added in the last five years are the main and only reason this country is broken and broke.  Nice try libnut.

Suburbian
Suburbian

I don't see what the big deal is. This is standard operating procedure for evangelicals. They vote the brethren into office so they can kill off funding secularist poor people government programs like healthcare, unemployment, care for the elderly, and so on. Why should kids be spared?

But it is unfair to label the evangelicals completely heartless. Why, when a neighbor should happen to get sick, lose their job, lose their house, etc., the evangelicals are the first to rally up a prayer chain and send around a sign up sheet to deliver a meal or two for those "less fortunate." Toys for some anonymous poor kids is a another great way to demonstrate how much they care; bless their hearts.

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

You watch local TV news. That's the problem right there!

Crap Detector
Crap Detector

Not just kids are affected. Look at what social services for the elderly are being cut and how changes in policies/funding are impacting that growing segment of our population. Collin County and Southlake soccer moms won't realize it until they have to deal with their aging parents - which will rock their orderly little worlds.

TimCov
TimCov

I'll make it simple. How much more out of your pocket are you willing to give to fund these aganecies? And, since you are not having to pay that money in taxes, how large of a check have you made out to the agencies (or charities) that do the things you want done?

mmarks
mmarks

Brilliant commentary. Mazel tov!

Bmarvel
Bmarvel

If you have a problem with Toys for Tots, fine. Write about that. Linking it to the sins of the Tea Party was a gratuitous piece of claptrap.  Schutze the dimwit, the desperate, writing today. Bring back the smart one.

Bill Lumbergh
Bill Lumbergh

Pretty sure his problem is not with the TfT program, but with certain folks (aka TP members) patronizing it.

RTGolden
RTGolden

So, basically, what you and Jim are saying is; "If Christmas can't be conducted by people we approve of, with gifts that we deem to be worthwhile, then fuck it, cancel the whole damn thing.  Let the little scamps eat moldy biscuits and play with rocks and dirt."

How very white of you.

Bmarvel
Bmarvel

 I wish we could be sure. Unfortunately, the writing and reasoning here are so sloppy it's impossible to tell just what, or who, Jim means. Does he manage to link the Toys sponsors or donators to the vicious anti-family policies that cut programs that benefit children? No, nowhere, no way. It's all done by smoke and mirrors, by pretending to knowledge he does not have, has not bothered to gather, that rich folks somehow salve their conscience by dropping off toys at Channel 8. How can anyone possibly know this?This is the Bad Jim writing at his worst, slinging out whatever pops to the surface of his mind in the hopes it will connect with the more thoughtless of his readers. Which it has, evidently.Let's all hope that the Good Jim returns from whatever wilderness canoe trip he's on and writes another one of those funny, brilliant, eyebrow-raising columns that hits a real target and does real damage.       

Slobberknocker
Slobberknocker

the toys for tots is a USMC program and has absolutely nothing to do with this... yeah i'd like to see you punch a marine in the mouth that will go over really good

LogiRush
LogiRush

The reason education and social services have sustained budget reductions is because that's where most of the state budget is being spent. Other state government functions have had their funding decimated years or decades ago - that why nearly all new highway construction around here is a toll road and college tuition has skyrocketed over the last decade.See for yourself at http://www.lbb.state.tx.us/Bil...

2012 BudgetARTICLE I - General Government  $2.5 billionARTICLE II - Health and Human Services   $32.2 billionARTICLE III - Agencies of Education   $38.4 billionARTICLE IV - The Judiciary   $.32 billionARTICLE V - Public Safety and Criminal Justice  $5.8 billionARTICLE VI - Natural Resources   $2.1 billionARTICLE VII - Business and Economic Development   $12.4 billionARTICLE VIII - Regulatory   $.34 billionARTICLE IX - General ProvisionsARTICLE X - The Legislature  $.162 billionGRAND TOTAL, All Funds   $94.3 billion

So Health and Human Services + Agencies of Education get $70.6 billion out of the $94.3 billion. I would say social programs are doing quite well in Texas.

RTGolden
RTGolden

The problem with these numbers is there is no breakdown of how much of that budgetary allowance actually makes it onto the ground and does some good.  How much of that Agencies of Education $38.4bill actually went towards improving academic opportunities for the students?  How much of it was spent on football stadiums, administrative 'retreats', staff travel, construction contracts for schools to be remodeled and then torn down, etc.?

How much of that $32bill in HHS spending is spent on desultory response to legitimate needs?  How much of it goes to pay the salaries of CPS investigators who perform only the most cursory of investigations into complaints?

How much of that $12bill in 'business and economic development' actually makes it into the economy?  How much of it simply goes in the coffers of big corporations or the pockets of out-of-state or out-of-country executives?

Categorical spending categories are a very very poor indicator of where the money is going.

Perry Moore
Perry Moore

We don't know "where the money is going," but we do know who gets the first look at it. I see no at-risk or poor children in that group. By the way, good luck honing your logic on this ideology-bound bunch of porcupines. We don't read Mr. Schutze for his mastery of the facts, nor the clarity of his arguments. 

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

I'm glad you brought this point up.

Even with all the budget slashing, my school has not been affected.  The kids could not name anything that has changed.  Why?  Because so much of the excess spending was not at the campus level; it was at the bureaucracy level.  Many of them are whining about having to do with less, but when the secretaries have secretaries, something is wrong.

For me as a teacher, things are actually better.  Many of the worst "idea people" that made up extra things for teachers to do are finally gone.  Not all of them, but every teacher I know feels some relief.

I'd bet the Tea Partiers would go for increased educational funding IF the funding was made to adhere to certain standards--like only X% could be spent on non-teachers with a class load of less than X (otherwise they will recategorize everyone as a teacher).  Limit travel expenses to X%, etc.

It doesn't have to be mindless spending vs. no spending.

Anon
Anon

Doing well relative to what? Spouting a number of absolute dollar numbers means absolutely nothing. What services are we providing and to whom are they being provided? The answer is usually not enough to too few.

Slobberknocker
Slobberknocker

you're absolutely right ... i know for a fact that when my handicapped daughter turned 18 her benefits were stopped ...oh yeah we could have put her in a home to continue those benefits ... in a home? a home? f*ck you rick perry

Mike
Mike

Is this the same weak minded logic that had you scooping up poor children at Halloween, putting them on buses, and air dropping them into the Park Cities? Where in your rant do you show any connection between Toys for Tots and Tea Party activists? Are you always in John Belushi mode ranting about Germans attacking Pearl Harbor? Would you prefer these kids do not get toys? I suppose you are angry about the Angel Tree at Northpark too. What a putz!

scottindallas
scottindallas

He doesn't connect them.  He points out the irony that we have toys for tots while the services to these very same kids is cut.  Jim says that he hopes there are no Perry/Tea-party supporters working there.  He never makes a connection, his point doesn't need it.

RTGolden
RTGolden

He also bitched just last week that an event sponsored and held to provide charitable funds to children's health was inconvenient for his weekend.  The over-riding theme in Jim's latest articles seem to be a vague desire to rid the world of disadvantaged children.

Montemalone
Montemalone

Maybe snow monkeys (holiday theme) will fly out of my big gay butt?

Jess
Jess

Spot on, Jim.  You don't get to support the most far right, austerity-preaching, Ayn-Rand-loving candidates and legislators out there and then deny that your radicalism has been shaping the dialogue that has brought us to this point. 

For those of you who say that he merely hates Toys for Tots...save your breath.  Children, even poor ones, don't need to be given some cheap crap that was purchased solely to relieve the consciences of the people who sold parents' jobs overseas...and then cut off the safety net programs which existed to catch people just like them, who ran into unexpectedly hard times.

You don't get to make yourselves feel better by buying a few toys for some of the kids whose parents would have been able to buy them toys, just fine, until your legislators and their policies got to work.

Fig B
Fig B

I buy my kids cheap crap for Christmas.  They break the expensive crap.

Edgar
Edgar

Enough is enough.  The people standing behind Pete Delkus or next to the guy in the Chik-Fil-A costume are not hardened ideologues.  They're not 1-percenters or people paid to do the 1-percenters' bidding.  They're just people.  Whether they voted for McCain or Obama, and whether they wear North Face or a $30 ironic t-shirt, they aren't people with any control over the safety net.  If control over the safety net were a prerequisite to charity, the world would be a much crappier place.

Jim, you might be mistaking smugness for the stupid excitement that ordinary people of all political stripes get when they have a live TV camera on them. Regardless, your pathetic cynicism is far more insufferable than any smugness they could muster.

These are just people who have donated their resources in an attempt to collect toys for children who could use a few more toys (even cheap ones made in China).  What the hell is wrong with you?

RTGolden
RTGolden

Actually, I think you're mistaking Jim's real grouse here.  Jim's pissed off because people who make more money than him (with liberals it's always the 'rich', which happens to begin at the income bracket right above the one they're in) are finding some measure of happiness in helping others, instead of moping around bitching about the piss poor condition of the world.  Jim, bless his heart, can't imagine how anyone who may have made an honest living and enjoyed some measure of success can be happy and not carry the huge burden of liberal white guilt he himself is struggling under (probably a result of his failure to scoop up his dog's droppings for so many years, thus blighting his otherwise stellar neighborhood).

Anon
Anon

I agree with your point but I don't really agree with your idea that the folks on camera don't control the safety net. We do. We all do. Right now we live in a society where those who have more often find it acceptable to blame those with less for their own misfortune. That's got to change. It's nice that these kids will have toys on Christmas and all, but a lot of kids will be failed by the system because our collective will was not strong enough to say that budget cuts in agencies that provide these services needed to be of limits, and then we can start to talk about failing these kids by failing to fund a good education.

Anon
Anon

I mean, they'd probably rather just have the services back that were helping keep their family afloat even if it means higher taxes for the people who give them toys at Christmas, but yes, secondarily I'm sure they will enjoy the toys for a little while.

The problem with Jim's rant here is that he chose a poor lead in to a worthy topic (the hypocrisy of charity at Christmas from a very specific subset of the population when you spend the other 364 days minimizing the government's purse strings and thereby neutering the services that poor families rely on). Jim, if you want to write an article about how much you hate the Tea Party and Rick Perry, just do it. Don't drag Toys for Tots into it.

Edgar
Edgar

You speak in terms of "We all" and "society" and "our collective will."  In a larger sense, obviously, yes, we can aggregate our voices and our votes to effect change.  That misses the point.  Pick one person on the broadcast for Toys for Tots and ask, is that person culpable for the weakening of the safety net in America?  Is that person a hypocrite for handing out toys to the less fortunate?  Obviously, the answer is no.

That person you picked out on the television can't individually do much of anything to change the larger forces of macroeconomic and socioeconomic policy.  What he/she can do, though, is hand out toys to poor kids.  I'm guessing the recipients of the gifts would rather have the efforts of the guy in the North Face jacket than the inefficacious rants and false righteousness of a bunch of enlightened Unfair Park bloggers and authors who don't hand out sh*t.

jfpo
jfpo

I don't think he was disparaging the entire Toys For Tots...he was telling teabaggers to stick their cheap toys up their arses.

Phelps
Phelps

Right.  "You don't get a toy this year because you would have to take it from a filthy teabagger, kid.  You'll thank me when you are flunking out of college."

Guest
Guest

The man just wants to get rid of the job-killing regulations against abusing kids.

If kids weren't supposed to be abused, the free market would make sure they weren't.

jfpo
jfpo

We could have 10 year olds working the frack wells...solves all kinds of problems.

RTGolden
RTGolden

Or, instead of coming up with outlandish fabrications that NO ONE is stating or supporting, we could have a rational discussion and try to come up with some answers.

RTGolden
RTGolden

Sadly, Newt was probably dead serious.  I can't believe the miraculous rebirth of that idiot's political career.

jfpo
jfpo

A little sarcasm doesn't hurt anybody. Was Newt being sarcastic when he called child labor laws "stupid"?

sizzler
sizzler

this is all getting a little gingrichian

Anon
Anon

So according to commenters here, the Tea Party is powerless in shaping the debate about spending/tax priorities both nationally and in Texas? How can that be the case when this movement was the driving force behind nominating lunatics in Delaware and Nevada in 2010 in Senate campaigns? Despite warnings that these two people were un-electable in a general election and would cost Republicans their shot at winning the Senate in a year that heavily favored the GOP, the Tea Party put forward O'Donnell and Angle. The message to the GOP was clear: we don't care about whether our candidate is electable, we want someone who is "pure" when it comes to the issues. When you send that message, how else can you reasonably expect the people in your party to act?

RTGolden
RTGolden

So, according to you, by nominating not two, but three epic failures of candidates, in O'Donnell, Angle, and Miller and losing a shot at a Senate majority, the Tea Party is the defining element shaping the national debate?

Seems like the Right isn't the only side of the argument lacking critical thinking skills.

Montemalone
Montemalone

Critical thinking is not their forte.

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