Jack Roeser Blog

Thoughts, views, and observations forged during a long, active life, 83 years, by Jack Roeser- inventor, engineer, manufacturer, soldier, racing sailor, pilot, entrepreneur, classical liberal (conservative) activist, father and husband, and proud American.

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Jack Roeser is Chairman and founder of Otto Engineering Inc. a manufacturer of electronic control and communication switches for aerospace, medical and industrial uses. Otto’s success is marked by the high precision and quality of its products. Jack has received over 50 patents in Electrical, Mechanical, Machinery and Marine products. In 1994, he ran for Governor in the Republican primary, receiving 26% of the primary vote. For over 25 years, Jack has been an advocate of education reform through the application of free market principles and of school choice. Jack's sport is sailing; he has won the Chicago - Mackinac race among many others.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Obama and the Inconvenient Truth

According to Monday's Chicago Tribune editorial , Democrat Senator Barack Obama recently got tangled up by the truth:
Invoking the sorry role of "Bloody Sunday" in America's history of race (in a speech at Brown Chapel A.M.E Church on March 4th), Obama told a Southern congregation how that event led to his birth: "There was something stirring across the country because of what happened in Selma, Alabama, because some folks are willing to march across a bridge. So [my parents] got together and Barack Obama Jr. was born. So don't tell me I don't have a claim on Selma, Alabama. Don't tell me I'm not coming home to Selma, Alabama."
That was one rollicking good sound bite--but for the inconvenience that the senator was born in 1961, and Bloody Sunday occurred in 1965.
Obama has been presented to public view through a string of media stunts filled with hollow rhetoric that freely distorts the truth. From obscurity, he has been proclaimed as the magnificent New Democrat. But this puff-up has no real record of accomplishments to justify his ego trip of aspiring to the office of President of the USA.

Responsible citizens need to consider Obama's suitability for that role not by his rhetoric, but by his record. Of course, he often refused to cast an up or down vote on many controversial issues during his tenure of about a decade in the Illinois legislature- hardly a sign of the kind of leader our country requires. But when he DID get up the nerve to weigh in, his votes would make Hillary look like a part of the "vast right-wing conspiracy."

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Illinois deserves REAL solutions

Governor Blagojevich has proposed the largest-ever tax hike and wants to lease the state lottery. Former gubernatorial candidate Topinka had her massive gambling expansion plan, and House GOP Leader Tom Cross has proposed "selling" thousands of additional gambling positions to casinos. Leaders of BOTH major parties in this state can only think of perpetuating the same failed policies that have put this state into a financial tailspin.

Illinois businesses are facing a crippling gross revenues tax and Illinois taxpayers are bracing to pay through larger fees, higher prices, and increased taxes, all to keep feeding the public education tax-eating beast.

In the meantime, the State Board of Education STILL hasn’t released last year’s annual report cards, so we have no idea what kind of progress they will- or will not- show. What we DO know is that the past years show declining achievement, and any improvements are often due to watered-down standards.

And still, there is not a single mention of any type of reform of a system that is unproductive, unresponsive, and staggeringly expensive. Have these people even wondered if there may just be a better way of educating our kids? Or are they too afraid of the teachers’ unions and their astronomical lobbying and campaign contributions to consider challenging their stranglehold on our kids’ schools?

Illinois entrepreneurs and working families are doing their part; they have continuously provided more and more funding for public education year after year. Unfortunately, it’s not enough to keep up with the desires of those who wish to live off of tax dollars.

The solution is simple: our legislative leaders- regardless of party- must learn to prioritize spending. And they must learn to say "NO" to the tax eaters, starting with the fattest one of them all- the public school system.

They must put their career concerns aside and act in the interest of the taxpayers who are funding state government, and of the future generations of Illinois now trapped in the public education system.

They must look for better, more efficient ways of providing education. They have only to look at the school choice success stories across the country and to read the researched information from a myriad of sources on-line.

The taxpayers deserve REAL relief, and Illinois children deserve the opportunity to get the best education. Currently, they are virtually hostage to a government-monopolized school system that comes at an unsustainable cost while providing scholastic mediocrity.

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

More Money Is a Roadblock to Real Solutions

In the face of Governor Blagojevich's call for huge tax increases, we at The Champion Foundation announce a far better solution based on defining the financial situation as "a spending problem, not a revenue problem."

A financial investigation at the school district level reveals the careless, self serving, and incompetent nature of school administrations all across the state. The Champion Foundation is currently analyzing a few hundred Illinois school districts in greater depth. The findings are startling. Visit our "Champion School Accountability" project on our website to view the list of school districts analyzed to date.

The Champion Foundation is committed to requiring all Illinois government-run school districts to fully disclose all financial information to the public. Currently, school districts resist efforts to report revenues and expenditures in an understandable, standardized format. This is unacceptable, since there is no accountability without transparency.

The Teacher & Administrator Salary Database on our website posts all salaries for public school teachers and administrators going back to 1999. This data (obtained from the Illinois State Board of Education) tells an important story. Compensation for teachers and administrators across Illinois ranges from adequate to highly excessive without rationality. The extremely high pensions have resulted in an enormous burden on taxpayers.

Every year Illinois taxpayers increase funding to the government-run school system at an average of 6 percent. Nevertheless, there is a never-ending effort underway to get ever more dollars by both raising property taxes through local referenda and by increasing the income tax via the Illinois General Assembly.

The fact is that Illinois taxpayers are currently spending over $20 BILLION to educate 2 million public school students. Taxpayer funding for education in Illinois has doubled in the last fifteen years.

There is a great injustice in increasing the taxes of the working class to pay outrageous pensions of $80,000 to $200,000 for educators at age 56. The Governor should call for limitation on education pay and pensions.

Throwing more money at public education is not the answer. Instead, Illinois desperately needs independent legislative leaders willing to stand up and tell the public the truth about out-of-control spending.

Until honest leadership emerges and until there has been a thorough accounting and disclosure of how our tax dollars are being spent - the selfish quest for more largess should cease.

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