Enter Vince Orza. Now Vince, for those of you who don't know him, is a former newsreader reformed to restaurant chain tycoon and in his spare time nourishes young minds as a teacher at a local University. He just published this editorial in a local progressive newspaper.
In the article, Vince encourages Oklahoma to be progressive by endorsing his vision of a world-class civilization created here in Oklahoma. His first big ol' "progressive idea" is to create a massive aide to dependant corporations by overhauling the tax code.
Somehow, shifting the tax-burden onto those who work here and away from the shiny new task-master fat-cats that must be bribed to come here, doesn't seem very progressive.
Also, he trots out the usual whipping boy; school consolidation. Many small towns use their local schools as identity, and consolidation (read--elimination) would be a death sentence for many small towns. Note to Vince--authoritarianism is not a progressive idea.
He does, to his credit, link our high incarceration rate to our low funding of education. Should we invest more in schools to allow our citizens to prosper, or failing that, build more prisons to catch them on the back end? An easy decision, really, but one which we have failed on miserably.
Vince touches on using our oil and gas prosperity and encouraging our Indian community to aide in his quest for creating an "American resort and convention mecca..."
One would imagine our Native American community would be more willing to be a cooperative partner if our government would pay its bills.
When banker Elouise Cobell added up the Indian trust money lost, looted, and mismanaged by the U.S. government, the tab came to $176 billion. Now she's here to collect.
While generations of non-Indians have become rich harvesting the abundant resources of private Indian lands -- which once included virtually all the oil fields of Oklahoma -- Indian landowners have been paid only erratically, and far less than their due. Consequently, even landowning Indians remain among the nation's poorest citizens, joining the 23 percent of Indians in America living in poverty, and the nearly 40 percent who are unemployed. Some tribes fare even worse, and the Blackfeet suffer a 34 percent poverty rate and a 70 percent unemployment rate. Overall, Indians are more than twice as poor as the average American.
I would be rather reluctant to sign any more treatise if I were them. The lawsuit has been dragging on now for more than a decade. Gale Norton, the head of the Department of Interior named as a defendant has resigned and is now a shill for Shell oil. Hmmm.
But what really got my attention on Vince's article, was his hanging the acronym "MAPs" on it. Every pregnant idea that comes down the pike these days tries to capitalize on the success of MAPs, as though the mindless drones of Oklahoma will hit the yes button in the voting booth because MAPs is somehow a magic word.
I am very proud of the small role I played in passing the original MAPs vote, and deeply resent the wholesale bastardization of the term. You see, Vince, it is a question of value.
I am not an economic whiz kid like Vince, however, I know it takes "X" amount of dollars to run a state. When you give aide to dependant corporations these funds are made up on the backs of working stiffs like me.
New industry means new money, right? It also means very real infrastructure costs like water, sewer, power, transportation, etc.
No, Vince, I cannot endorse a massive corporate welfare program, dressed up like a spoonful of sugar. This merely increases the economic divide and reduces those true engines of Oklahoma progressivism, the middle class.
MAPs for the rich makes No Sense Vince.