I’ve had fun documenting and comparing examples of government stupidity in both the United States and United Kingdom, and today’s story clearly belongs on those lists.
It’s also an example of a perverse anti-gun mentality.
How else can you explain a school in Talbot County, Maryland, suspending a couple of young boys for the supposedly horrible offense of making gun shapes with their fingers while playing cops and robbers?!?
Here are some of the details from a local news report.
There’s controversy at a Talbot County school after two 6-year-old boys were suspended while playing cops and robbers during recess and using their fingers to make an imaginary gun. “It’s ridiculous,” said parent Julia Merchant.
There’s a reason this story may seem familiar.
This is the second time a Maryland child has been suspended for such play. Earlier this month, 6-year-old Rodney Lynch was suspended from his Montgomery County school after pretending to fire an imaginary gun more than once.
He fired his finger more than once? That might mean he has a semi-automatic finger! Oh, the horror.
Amazingly, the school in Montgomery County backed down after parents objected.
The school reversed its decision after Rodney’s parents appealed. “They’re saying he threatened a student, threatened to shoot a student. He was playing,” said Rodney’s father, Rodney Lynch Sr. …A number of parents agree. “Suspending them is a bit harsh and I don’t think that’s gonna do any good for the parent, child or school,” said Janet Geotzky.
It’s unclear what’s going to happen with this new incident (or, more accurately, non-incident) in Talbot County.
But I know what should happen if we want to discourage further episodes of political correctness run amok.
- The person (I assume a teacher) who filed the initial complaint should be suspended.
- The bureaucrat (I assume school principal) who suspended the boys should be fired.
- The children (all of them, not just the two who were suspended) should be given toy guns and encouraged to play like normal kids.
Have I missed something?
P.S. It’s probably no coincidence that these displays of government stupidity took place in Maryland. This is the state, after all, that crashed on the Laffer Curve, imposed regulations making it difficult for summer camps to protect kids from sunburn, and considered a law to give bums panhandling permits.
Question of the Week: If You Could Reform only One Major Entitlement Program, Which One Would You Pick?
This is a tough question.
I obviously want comprehensive reform of all entitlement programs, so selecting just one is a bit of a challenge. Sort of like being asked to pick your favorite kid.
Would I reform Social Security? That’s a logical choice. It’s the biggest program in the federal budget, so it’s presumably the biggest problem.
But Medicare and Medicaid are growing faster than Social Security and the Congressional Budget Office projects that those two entitlements eventually will become a bigger burden on taxpayers than Social Security.
And since our goal should be to minimize the long-run burden of government spending, that suggests that it’s more important to reform the healthcare entitlements.
But which program should be fixed first?
There’s certainly a strong case to deal with Medicare. The health program for the elderly already is very expensive and it’s going to become even more of a budget buster because of demographic changes.
Moreover, shifting to a “premium support” system would be good for seniors since they would have the ability to pick a plan best suited to their needs. Basically the same type of system now available to members of Congress.
All things considered, though, I would deal first with Medicaid. There are three reasons why I would target the health program designed to supposedly help the poor?
- Medicaid is hugely expensive today and will become even more costly over time.
- The block-grant reform proposal is a good first step for restoring federalism.
- Obamacare can be partly repealed by block-granting the exchange subsidies as part of Medicaid reform.
For more information, here’s my video explaining how to reform the program.
I’m not going to cry – or even complain – if politicians instead decide to fix Medicare or Social Security. Just so long as they’re taking steps in the right direction, I’ll be happy.
What I don’t want to see, however, is a gimmicky plan such as Simpson-Bowles that merely papers over the underlying problems for a couple of years. The wrong type of entitlement reform is probably worse than doing nothing.