Are we in this together, or what?

So yesterday, you might have heard, thousands of kids in New Jersey schools staged a walk-out, as a protest against impending budget cuts. Now, okay, you know that among those thousands were probably two or three kids who just wanted to smoke dope in the park, but still, that’s a lot of kids getting together to make a statement.

The budget cuts proposed by Governor Christie call for millions of dollars to be trimmed from school budgets–all those “extras,” you know, like art and music and sports and librarians–not to mention after-school programs (aka the salvation of the working parent) and, of course, teacher jobs.

Apparently 58% of New Jerseyians decided that a tax increase for education was too much to ask in these belt-tightening times, so they voted down school budgets, in part because of anger at the teachers’ union, which refused a salary freeze. A salary freeze…maybe for the teacher in Bergen County with two years experience and a B.A. who makes a whopping $44,000 a year, before taxes. Yeah. I can see how she’s really sucking the life from the district budget–or perhaps it’s the person who makes barely $90,000 a year before taxes–with forty years of experience. Forty years teaching 8th grade math. What would they have to pay you to get you to spend ten months a year, five days a week, eight hours a day, with literally hundreds of 12 year olds? Have you met a twelve-year old lately? Monsters. Hormone-crazed monsters, even the “good” ones.

So here’s my question: does the New Jersey vote mean that the next time there’s a tax referendum on the ballot about, say, highway and road improvements, I can vote against it because I don’t have a car? For that matter, my apartment hasn’t ever burned down, so why should I pay taxes that are going to go to fire departments? And I’ve never been mugged or had to go to an emergency room, either, so I don’t want to pay taxes for those things…and I’m pretty much a pacifist, so I’d rather not pay taxes that go to the military.

Social contract, people, social contract. A well-educated population is as important as fire engines that work and armies with adequate body armor.

I’m just saying.