Another Atlanta private school issues statement on tax credit

Another private school makes it clear that it is not scamming the private school tax credit. This is from Fred Assaf, the head of school at Pace Academy, to parents at the Atlanta private school:

You may have seen the article in Tuesday’s New York Times that explores problems with the implementation of private school tax credit programs in Georgia and other states. The report focuses specifically on Georgia schools manipulating the program. Pace, as you know, has participated in the tax credit program since its inception in an ethical manner, which is consistent with both the letter and the spirit of the law.

I want to assure you that the misconduct described in this article is not happening at Pace. We have and will continue to administer tax credit funds through our rigorous financial aid process. All financial aid dollars, including tax credit funds, are given to families with demonstrated financial need. I feel good about what Pace is doing. We are ethical in our treatment of all of these funds and, as a result, provide extraordinary opportunities for deserving students.

If you ever have any questions about this or other Pace programs, please feel free to ask. We hope that you will continue to participate in this wonderful program. Please feel free to call me directly if you would like to discuss.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

43 comments Add your comment

crankee-yankee

May 24th, 2012
9:29 pm

crankee-yankee

May 24th, 2012
9:39 pm

So, watchdogs outside of Georgia are taking notice of the hanky-panky in education funding here. How long do you think it will take for industry to notice and begin to steer clear? Too bad the ones who follow the rules get tainted by the cheats.

WOODWARDGRAD

May 24th, 2012
9:40 pm

I think that is great as long as we don’t abandon the public schools.

REMEMBER: EDUCATION IS THE BEST SOLUTION TO CRIME!

Why all the angst?

May 24th, 2012
10:22 pm

“Scam” is your word, Maureen. You and maybe other liberals at the NY Times.

AJC readers could as easily brand your newspaper’s unfailing pro-Democrat bias a scam—given your publisher’s repeated attempts to re-brand the AJC as a “balanced” paper.

The money involved here is the taxpayer’s OWN money. None of it is yours. And it’s being used to partially cover the costs of educating children elsewhere, thus saving public school systems money.

Your teachers’ union friends are united in their fear of wider parental choice or anything else that sounds like change. They’ve long since lost the confidence of parents, and can rightly fear a program which gives parents a way to finally do what’s right for their kids.

The public schools will continue to be the choice of parents who prefer them.

Maureen Downey

May 24th, 2012
10:36 pm

@Why, I have no idea how you think this is the taxpayer’s “OWN” money. If I owe the state of Georgia $5,000 in taxes, how is that my money? Since when are taxes owed my money? I can’t call the state or the county and tell them, “I am keeping the taxes I owe because I prefer to use them to pay for child’s private school or her private tennis lessons.”
Try that once or twice and see where you end up. (If you recall, Al Capone tried that and went to jail for income tax evasion.)
What is so bizarre about this is that I was just explaining this controversy to high school students and they could not get over that people on this blog were describing taxes owed as “their money.” One teenager asked me, “But people don’t have an option to pay their taxes. They are obligated under the law to pay taxes. I can’t tell the restaurant where I work that I want my taxes returned to me.”
Funny that 17-year-olds get this basic tenet of American civic life and you don’t.
Maureen

Realist

May 24th, 2012
10:54 pm

@Maureen, touche!

CFB Fan

May 24th, 2012
10:55 pm

Maureen,

What is wrong with people keeping more of their money and doing with what they want? How was the obligation for people to pay taxes established? The way in which the bulk of school funds are acquired from taxpayers (property taxes) makes it so that a person cannot truly own their own home because if they do not pay their property taxes the government will take their home from them. How much money should be forcibly taken away from the person who earned it and given to the government schools (how much should be spent per pupil)? Until a person can withhold the very money that feeds the government, how can there be any real accountability? If a private school does not produce a good product, the parents will taken their money elsewhere.

crankee-yankee

May 24th, 2012
10:56 pm

Scam is more than the word of the select few you brand. I for one, do not mind the “loss of confidence” by those who would dictate what & how I teach. That is where we were over a hundred years ago when to get any education, you had to pay for it via the business model. No money? No education. Some wise people saw the positive result of educating the entire populace in order to raise all boats which led to public education which resulted in “the American Century.”

Teacher tenure was instituted to avert the unsavory practice of firing competent people strictly because you didn’t agree with them or their methods. That is what we are coming back to in the current climate, those who would strangle public education because it does not follow some group’s mantra. Sadly, some politicians are currently making hay with groups’ discontents telling them lies they want to hear. Now we have those who believe it is OK to cheat the system in spite of their “christian values.” These people do not fit my definition of Christians.

What goes around, comes around. I just hope the general populace will see what is happening before we have to repeat the mistakes of the past. Want to send your child to a private “christian” school? Fine, just don’t scam public education coffers to do it.

Atlanta Mom

May 24th, 2012
11:17 pm

Again I inquire, how many $$$ were given for scholarships pre tax credit and post tax credit? I believe it was last year when I drove by Pace and on the marquee it was thanking parents for the tax credit funds and they totaled $475,000. It was unclear to me if this was just for that year, or since the inception of the program. Any way you slice it, it’s a lot of money. But then again, 50 million dollars is a chunk of change.

Maureen Downey

May 24th, 2012
11:20 pm

@CFB, If there is a better way than taxes to fund services that citizens demand — roads, police, education, defense, parks, senior services, child protective services — I am not sure what it is. I have a limited amount of world travel, but I have noticed that countries with higher-than-average tax burdens often are the safest, cleanest and best managed. Trains arrive on time. Airports are safe. Restaurants are inspected. Public parks are immaculate. The arts flourish.
As a reporter, I can tell you that people always complain about taxes and government but then are angry when government fails to provide for them after a tornado or hurricane or flood. Then, we hear that there are too few police or fire or not enough relief efforts. When I used to write about social services and reported on a baby killed by a parent or guardian, the first question asked by readers often was: Where was the state? Why weren’t they monitoring this family more closely? (The answer often was that case workers were carrying triple the recommended case load because of cuts to child welfare agencies.)
When I covered areas destroyed by hurricanes as a reporter in Florida, the first thing I heard from homeowners with damaged homes: Where are the relief workers? Where are the county workers to clear these roads?
Maureen

YALLOweMe

May 24th, 2012
11:46 pm

MD wrote:
“I have no idea how you think this is the taxpayer’s “OWN” money. If I owe the state of Georgia $5,000 in taxes, how is that my money? Since when are taxes owed my money?”

MD just demonstrated the stark difference between government-dependent leftists and self-reliant independent individuals. Tax money is my money to start off with. Government takes it away from me so that less productive people can get help. Please at least be grateful, MD.

Maureen Downey

May 24th, 2012
11:59 pm

@Yall, My mortgage payment is my money to start with as well. So, is the money I owe Georgia Power, Comcast and Visa. But I have a legal obligation to pay those bills, as I have to pay my taxes. And when I pay those bills, the money is no longer mine to spend as I wish. I just read that Liberia has a very, very low personal tax rate. Of course, crime is sky high because there are so few police officers; there are no functioning universities to speak of, there are no environmental standards so chemicals are just dumped in the open.
But with so few pesky government services to support, you get to keep more of “your” money.
Maureen

bessbear

May 25th, 2012
12:07 am

I support the private school tax credit, sending $2500 to my kids school each year, but it in NO WAY goes to pay my child’s tuition. But what I hear going on with some dishonest schools is very upsetting. At my kids school, we are truly bringing in kids from public schools who otherwise could not afford the tuition. The only way this helps the other parents who pay full tuition is that we have more seats filled, and maybe a better school image by having no vacancies.

One issue I wish those who oppose this program would realize is that every child who leaves the public school is saving those public schools anywhere from $7-10,000 each year based on what I hear different counties saying it costs them per child.

Yes, it bothers me to pay so much in property taxes while also paying private tuition, and yes, I wish there was a true voucher program, but there isn’t, and education for all children is important. Even those who are childless need to pay for the greater good of all.

If the program works the way it should – being used for those currently ATTENDING public schools, then it is a huge saving to public schools. This issue of “enrolling” students in public schools who already attend private school needs to be fixed, and then it is a win-win situation for all. Dishonesty never pays off.

allaboutthemoney

May 25th, 2012
12:22 am

The real tragedy here is that every parent who takes responsibility for educating their own children doesn’t receive a tax credit for the full cost of a public school tuition. I’m glad some parents have found a way to cut the government out and look forward to doing it myself. And Maureen — just because someone sends you an invoice doesn’t mean that you owe them money.

Mary Elizabeth

May 25th, 2012
12:31 am

@Yall, 11:46 pm

“Tax money is my money to start off with. Government takes it away from me so that less productive people can get help.”
===============================

This thought has been an anti-government talking point for some time now, and citizens who believe this way are, unfortunately, showing ignorance about the interconnectedness of all people within any society. Below, Elizabeth Warren explains the necessity for being taxed when people are interconnected in society (for a multitude of services, many of which they are unaware). Warren names only one service received, and she speaks of the rich; nevertheless, her point is well taken regarding the necessity for giving back to society through our taxes, unless one lives alone on an island in the South Pacific, of course! Check out the link below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtouAzMhbFE&feature=related

A reader

May 25th, 2012
12:35 am

First let me say that I am in no way disparaging Pace Academy. It’s reputation demonstrates that it is a fine school and an ethical school.

However, this letter contains the line “which is consistent with both the letter and the spirit of the law.”

Well, was not the spirit and letter of the law intended to give parents of private school children a break in tuition? At least that is my read of the AJC articles. Perhaps the administration at Pace could have used better wording.

Just sayin’

A tax attorney

May 25th, 2012
12:39 am

@Maureen, Such amazing stupidity on this blog that you handle with amazing patience. Doesn’t anyone understand what a tax credit is? And to the idiot who says there’s no law compelling us to pay taxes: Title 26 of the US Code, also known as the Internal Revenue Code, is the implementing law on income taxes. Title 26 resulted from the 16th amendment, which allowed the government to levy income taxes without apportionment.
As Holmes said, “Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society.” But not a very smart one, based on these responses.

Still@theKool-aidBAR

May 25th, 2012
12:56 am

INCOME TAX was not collected Before you were paid until WWII.
Property taxes are my issue. How many times tdo I have to Buy my House and land? I don’t have kids and I sure as hell shouldn’t have to pay more than people that 3 or 4 kids to educate them. I shouldn’t have to pay taxes on inheritance because my parents paid for that stuff and the taxes on it. The Government will never get better until we put the Fat Pigs on a Diet.

Those Higher that average taxed countries are also Socialists.

Phil

May 25th, 2012
2:42 am

Parents should be billed directly for every kid they have in the system. I don’t have kids and fail to see why I should be saddled with educating other peoples spawn.

Dick

May 25th, 2012
2:59 am

Well out Phil. I have paid taxes in support of public schools for more than 40 years. My youngest daughter left public schools more than 18 years ago. I think I paid enough – 40 years of taxes for 12 years of school.

d

May 25th, 2012
4:37 am

For the “Taxes are my money” people, please consider the following:

“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America….

Art 1 Sec 8: The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises….

Amendment 16: The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on income, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several states, and without regard to any census or enumeration….”

“To perpetuate the principles of free government, insure justice to all, preserve peace, promote the interest and happiness of the citizen and of the family, and transmit to posterity the enjoyment of liberty, we the people of Georgia, relying upon the protection and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish this Constitution.
Art 7, Sec 1, Para 1: The state may not suspend or irrevocably give, grant, limit, or restrain the right of taxation and all laws, grants, contracts, and other acts to effect any of these purposes are null and void. Except as otherwise provided in this Constitution, the right of taxation shall always be under the complete control of the state.

Art 7, Sec 1, Para 3: All taxes shall be levied and collected under general laws and for public
purposes only.

Art 8, Sec 1: The provision of an adequate public education for the citizens shall be a primary obligation of the State of Georgia. Public education for the citizens prior to the college or postsecondary level shall be free and shall be provided for by taxation.”

I would stress that in both preambles, the phrase “We the people” appears….. and in the case of the Georgia Constitution, “We the people” actually did vote to accept this document as our Constitution and in the end “We the people” have the ultimate say on any amendments to it. In short – taxes are not “yours” or “mine” but “ours” and WE get to say what happens…. if you end up on the losing end of a decision what to do with tax money as provided within law, that’s too bad.

Shar

May 25th, 2012
5:21 am

Tax money is not YOUR money, it is OUR money. The road to your house is not YOUR road, it is OUR road. The national defense, the court system, the emergency services, the national parks – all OURS. And OUR responsibility to pay for. Just like education.

It is a national good. That is why it deserves and gets national funding, whether or not it gets universal use. If you want to put your children elsewhere, there are options available and it is your right as a parent to make that decision. It is NOT your right as a citizen to decide not to fund education any more than you can decide not to fund any other specific part of the government or action of a particular person or party.

If you decide that tax money is YOUR money, go ahead and keep it. You’ll find out soon enough how much tax money is wasted on nice amenities in prison. If you don’t want to pay taxes, you can move. Saudi Arabia and Alaska both pay out stipends to residents based on oil wealth and have hardly any requirements of citizens, including taxes. If you truly believe that you should not have to pay for the greater good, you have choices available.

But to live here, you are obligated to pay taxes just like to live at the Ritz you have to pay a room rate. If you make a decision to live in a place that legally requires you to pay taxes, those tax dollars you owe are not your money.

crankee-yankee

May 25th, 2012
6:01 am

To those who believe they should be exempt from school taxes, you benefit from a better educated workforce than you would otherwise have. Without an educated public, who would you hire to work for or with you? Just look at some of the microcosms we, unfortunately, have evidence of in this state, old mill towns where education was never highly prized to the point dropping out of school to get a job in the local mill became an accepted way of life. This became a cultural phenomenon so now that the mills are gone, the high rate of dropouts continues. The towns are dying due to poor educational choices going back generations. The mills are not coming back and there are too few employment opportunities to support the low-educated workforce & the schools are now poorly funded because local dollars are not there to supplement the minimal school funding level provided by the state. Companies seeking to locate bypass the mill town because of this and everyone wrings their hands & points fingers. This is what we risk when the populace either cannot (or chooses to not) fund education for all. Everyone suffers.

Formerteacher

May 25th, 2012
6:25 am

The “every kid in private schools or charters” argument seems to ignore the obvious. Unless enough of these kids, and by that I mean more than one or two from multiple schools, opt out of the public schools, the savings realized are minimal. If, say, only 5 kids leave School A for a private or charter school, School A will still employ the same number of teachers, the school building will have the same amount of maintenance required, the same number of buses will run to that school. Even if you multiply this over many schools, there aren’t enough “empty seats” to save substantial money. The only plus I see is possibly smaller classes, but again, w’ere not talking about dozens per grade level, or even dozens per school. Where is the savings?

Formerteacher

May 25th, 2012
6:26 am

Sorry, meant to say:
“The “every kid in private schools or charters saves the system money” argument…”

God Bless the Teacher!

May 25th, 2012
6:53 am

To all of the “tax money is my money” morons…my guess is that you love the tea party folks. How ironic. You want REPRESENTATION without TAXATION. Somebody missed history class.

God Bless the Teacher!

May 25th, 2012
6:59 am

If you really want to make a change to the tax code, eliminate the per child tax credit. People choose to have children. Those children are why we need public schools. Those children add to demands on infrastructure. Those children probably account for the largest part of the demands on the health care system (thereby increasing insurance premiums). Don’t get me wrong…I love children and do not look down upon anyone who chooses to have them. God bless every family! However, the child tax credit gives parents an unfair advantage over the non-child individual (young and old). Just like those folks who CHOOSE to send their children to private school shouldn’t complain about having to pay public school taxes on top of private school tuition, parents should not complain about losing the perchild tax credit for CHOOSING to have children.

83jacket

May 25th, 2012
8:38 am

If you want to talk taxes, then why do we have the Earned Income Tax Credit. I fail to see the logic of giving people refunds who don’t pay taxes in the first place!

Ed Advocate

May 25th, 2012
8:44 am

I am amazed by the tone of the tax-credit-abuse apologists who’ve posted on Maureen’s blog since the Times story was published. Instead of bashing Maureen, teachers’ groups, reporters who uncovered this abuse, government, taxes, etc., why not offer solutions to stop abuse of the tax credit program? This venom and deflection is ridiculous and won’t serve your cause well–instead you’re painting yourselves as fringe cranks.

Greg Kaiser

May 25th, 2012
9:14 am

Maureen,

You continue to refute the wing nut arguments with well-reasoned and logical responses. Since they don’t seem to post again after you use facts and reason to dismiss their Fox News talking points, I can only imagine that thier heads have exploded when presented with the truth.

Keep up the good work!

Greg

Still@theKool-aidBAR

May 25th, 2012
11:10 am

crankee-yankee
May 25th, 2012
6:01 am

To those who believe they should be exempt from school taxes, you benefit from a better educated workforce than you would otherwise have.

HAHAHA the Public/Government shool education in this state is a JOKE. We are FAR from getting our monies worth for what we pay. How about an EDUCATED Workforce first then we will start to work on the BETTER EDUCATED workforce.

BuckeyeinGa

May 25th, 2012
12:13 pm

, I can tell you that people always complain about taxes and government but then are angry when government fails to provide for them after a tornado or hurricane or flood. Then, we hear that there are too few police or fire or not enough relief efforts. When I used to write about social services and reported on a baby killed by a parent or guardian, the first question asked by readers often was: Where was the state? Why weren’t they monitoring this family more closely? (The answer often was that case workers were carrying triple the recommended case load because of cuts to child welfare agencies.)
When I covered areas destroyed by hurricanes as a reporter in Florida, the first thing I heard from homeowners with damaged homes: Where are the relief workers? Where are the county workers to clear these roads?
——————————————
The above says it all. People complain until they need the things that taxes pay for.

another comment

May 25th, 2012
12:22 pm

You must understand that the wing-nuts, and bubba’s that pull thier kids out off the public schools, so they don’t have to be around “those” people or want them only teached “Beka” curriculum or creationism are scared white men. They are scared that someone else maybe smarter than themselves. They are the ones that want to keep their wifes and daughter’s at home wearing long plain dresses. They don’t want them looking sexy, let another man like them. Bubba meanwhile can cheat with the hot 20 something lobbist, while wife is at home, shopping the used clothing sales, buying church clothes. He is drinking on Peachtree and Roswell Rd. while the House is in session to abandon. Yet he is Deacon or elder at his evangelical church. This small dick man will do anything to keep others below him. He has a small brain, both in his head and pants. He has been afraid of the black man. He is afraid of women, that is why he is burning down abortion clinics. Does this describe their two leaders Earl and Chip!

catlady

May 25th, 2012
12:37 pm

The folks who don’t like to pay for the common good are also most likely to claim they reached their success ON THEIR OWN, and that is why it is THEIR money. I would challenge these folks to think of how successful they would be now if they had grown up in say, Somalia, or Uzbekestan, and that their parents and grandparents had had the kind of “opportunities” afforded the common people there–you know, things like limited roads, schools, universities, health inspectors for food, water, and air, electricity that works 24/7, refrigeration, comfortable houses, a police force, etc. If they were willing to address it, they might realize that their “accomplishments” are the result of living in a country where everyone is responsible for providing for the common good. Here is where some of the folks will start ranting about the “50% not paying any taxes!” Well, guess what? Unless they live in a cardboard box under a bridge, they pay real estate taxes. Unless there is a special line at Walmart for them, they pay sales taxes. Now, they may not pay income taxes, BUT MANY OF OUR BIGWIGS DON’T EITHER, with their tax shelters and capital gains write-offs, etc. So you can’t really call them out on that, either.

3schoolkids

May 25th, 2012
5:36 pm

I have a friend who was nearly driven insane by several parents trying to “enroll” their kids in a local public high school while they were simultaneously enrolled and attending their private school so they could apply for this scholarship program. They simply could not understand why their kids could not be enrolled in both schools at the same time because they had been told it was possible. I don’t know what private school/schools they were attending but they were obviously misled about the process. Seems like someone involved in enacting this law should make a formal statement to clear the air.

Maureen Downey

May 25th, 2012
5:45 pm

@3schoolkids, The state does allow private schools to enroll with no intention of attending as the state Department of Education told me it cannot have schools in the business of questioning the motivation of citizens who show up to register their kids. So, DOE attorneys have advised school systems to allow private school parents to enroll even if it is to qualify for this tax credit.
Maureen

ChristieS.

May 25th, 2012
9:39 pm

@MD “So, DOE attorneys have advised school systems to allow private school parents to enroll even if it is to qualify for this tax credit.”

Someone asked a question a couple of days ago on an earlier post about this credit, but just what DOES this false enrollment in public high schools do to the grad rate of that school? We count the enrolled 9th graders and compare that number to the graduating seniors four years later. AYP is based in part on the results of this comparison. Could this fake enrollment be affecting the grad rate at a school in the upcoming couple of years?

YALLOweMe

May 25th, 2012
11:46 pm

“Tax money is not YOUR money, it is OUR money. The road to your house is not YOUR road, it is OUR road.”

Government takes away more of my money in taxes than you would ever see in your paychecks. I pay about $10,000 in a year in property taxes (Fulton Co. and the City of Alphareta). YA’LL should be grateful. What do you pay in property tax? $2,800? My kids don’t even use the government schools that my tax money is supposed to fund. You guys are just jealous.

[...] the original post: Another Atlanta private school issues statement on tax credit | Get … ← Getting Professional Service for US Casino Tax Refund for [...]

Anonmom

May 27th, 2012
9:23 pm

Our property taxes are $7500 for schools we no longer use and which ultimately harmed my oldest…. and then we also have about $60k in tuitiion (after tax dollars) — that’s before any federal taxes, state taxed, local taxes and I’m just getting started.

Anonmom

May 27th, 2012
9:31 pm

Yes, we pay every dime that we owe in taxes every year but I really resent the wast and fraud and mismangement that I see — all around me at all levels of govenrment. To Maureen’s point (and others like it)– it sounds great in theory — I grew up with that mindset and then I found the waste and corruption. Americans, overall, aren’t like many of the nationalities from the countries where the trains run on time and the schools run efficiently and everyone does what they are supposed to do. Americans, in general, like to take advantage of things they are given. They like vacations. They tend to be on the lazier side of things if given their druthers (overall — generalities — not everyone….). Take a look at airport security. Take a look at our schools. Take a look at DMV. The government does not operate things well. Things go slowlly. People go on “power trips”. We “dot our i” and “cross our t” we don’t look for the terrorist the way the Irish or the Israeli do — we are just not like those in the countries you wish to emulate by taking an even larger share of my income to fund even more services because there would then be even more money to go to line even more pocket and to hire even more “friends and family” and for more crazy programs and bridges to no where — it would not be used for the better good the way it is oulined in the message. Cyncial I know but that’s the reality of how those in public office have been using our funds; how those in the media havne’t called those in government on the carpet for using our funds, the lack of forensic audits over the use of the funds, the lack of prosecution for the abuse of public money (see the pending DCSS prosecution which really should be being held elsewhere due to massive conflcits of interst) — there’s no need for even more money to go into all of this. Too many people aren’t participting at all.

YALLOweMe

May 28th, 2012
1:53 pm

@Mary Elizabeth
“This thought has been an anti-government talking point for some time now, and citizens who believe this way are, unfortunately, showing ignorance about the interconnectedness of all people within any society.”

Wait until you pay $10,000 or more in property taxes each year living in Alpharetta. Otherwise, you are being subsidized by me and my neighbors. Yes, I don’t like any government that taxes its citizens with a ridiculous level of taxes and then wastes them. Have you heard about the saying that government draws its power from the consent of the governed? Is it possible that maybe the moocher class like you needs the help of the government to transfer money from productive class like me? If you are so good and are always so right, how about showing use that you are self-sufficient? How is that for a moral change?

Anonmom

May 28th, 2012
2:42 pm

As an individual from a family that has a history of decades being “democrat” and from a religious minority group that just pulsates “democrat,” and a poly sci minor who has worked on Capitol Hill while in college and on many campaigns, I think about many of the issues that I blog about — I also argue the points with my mother, who has run for office with a “D” next to her name from a northern state on more than one occassion over the past x number of decades. My conclusion — and argument to her — is tht the parties have morphed. The Democratic party of my mother’s childhood and the republican party of her childhood are vastly different today than they once were. JFK’s most famous expression was “Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country.” This is vastly different from our current president’s “redistribute the wealth” philosophy. The republicanism of Lincoln is vastly different from that of Reagan and from that of Santorum. It is critical that people stop taking the parties of their families and their “background” and react viscerally to what the “party” offers and instead really look at what is being offered. What should America be about? What is it supposed to be about? Where are we really headed? What should the role of government really be? These are really important questions that people aren’t truly asking and discussing — I was a history major — many countries have risen and many have fallen. They all fall at some point — the best of them all fall. We can’t be trillions of dollars in debt and not ultimately fall. You can’t tax your way out of such debt…. It doesn’t work. Look at Greece. Look at California. Look at Spain. Look at the Soviet Union. Think about it.