But is the Corn Still as High as an Elephant’s Eye?

Oklahoma has been having a tough time over the past several years, with an unbelievable number of earthquakes, undoubtedly caused by oil/gas shale fracking. To make matters worse, state politicians actually chose to not capitalize financially from the fracking boom!

The British publication “The Economist” explains what is happening in Oklahoma. The article focuses on the public education crisis in the state, which is really an indictment of the state’s overall approach to government, dominated by a Republican agenda. Here are some highlights:

“Most of our teachers work second jobs,” says Darlene Adair, Wagoner’s principal. “A lot of them work at Walmart on nights and weekends, or in local restaurants.” Ms Adair hopes that Walmart does not offer her teachers a full-time job, which would be a pay rise for many.

I know a retired high school teacher who, 30-40 years ago, also worked at a K-Mart, so I suppose things haven’t really changed all the much. A lot depends on where someone teaches, of course. In Massachusetts, real estate taxes pay for public schools, and as you would expect the richest towns around Boston have the best public schools. And yet some parents in those towns send their kids to exclusive private schools.

As in Oklahoma’s northern neighbour, Kansas, deep tax cuts have wrecked the state’s finances. During the shale boom, lawmakers gave a sweetheart deal to its oilmen, costing $470m in a single year, by slashing the gross production tax on horizontal drilling from 7% to 1%.