Faux Pod

The Lansing State Journal reports that Michigan Democrat House Leader Andy Dillon wants the “iPod for every school-child” initiative to wait until the budget is settled. See TOC’s Circumspice for more on this and other aspects of Michigan’s economy.

Let us state it simply: Dillon wants to discuss adding $38 million in spending ONLY AFTER the billion dollar budget deficit is solved. Then it would only be a piddling $38 million dollar deficit? Clearly, he can’t remember how Michigan got into a budget crisis in the first place.

Published April 13, 2007
[ From Lansing State Journal ]
Dems back off iPod for every student plan
House leader says initiative will wait until budget settled

Tim Martin
Associated Press

House Democrats tried to derail a distracting controversy Thursday, saying a statement made last week about providing iPods for Michigan students had been misconstrued and was diverting focus from the state’s budget crisis.

Democrats, at least for now, say they aren’t considering providing an iPod or MP3 player for Michigan students. House Speaker Andy Dillon, D-Redford, said in a statement this week the initiative can’t be pursued until the state has settled its budget problems.

Democrats also said Dillon and the two other Democratic state lawmakers who earlier this year visited Apple Inc., the iPod’s maker, now will pay for the trips themselves.

The iPod idea first surfaced last week during a budget-related press conference held by House Democrats. Rep. Matt Gillard, D-Alpena and chairman of the House subcommittee overseeing K-12 school budgets, discussed a $38 million “21st Century Learning Environments” plan.

He also pulled out an iPod and said “we want this in the hands of every student in the state of Michigan.”

Rep. Tim Melton, D-Auburn Hills, denied Thursday that there was ever a plan to provide iPods for Michigan students.

Melton also said Democrats, including Dillon, were disappointed the iPod issue came to dominate media coverage.

Dillon was not at Thursday’s news conference.

Michigan Republican Party Chairman Saul Anuzis said in a statement that Thursday’s comments by Melton “failed to put to rest the most serious concerns Michigan citizens have about this proposal.”

Apple at least partly paid for Dillon, Melton and Gillard to visit its California headquarters earlier this year.

On Thursday, Melton said the lawmakers will pay the price of that trip – $1,702 each – out of their own pockets.

Emphasis mine. To recapitulate: One guy pulls an iPod out of his pocket to illustrate “the plan.” He’s the chairman of the House subcommittee overseeing K-12 budgets. Another guy denies there was ever any plan for government funded iPods. The Speaker is nowhere to be found at the spin conference, but he later says we need to get the budget settled before we discuss adding $38 million to it for the iPod program. A bunch of these guys tell us the iPod idea is diverting focus from the budget problem. Apple paid at least part of the cost for several of these guys to visit Apple HQ earlier this year. These guys are all Democrats.

Which Democrat can you believe? Maybe it’s the leadership of the MEA. A political party could not be so tone deaf as to mention such a stupid expenditure unless it were viewing the world through the eyes of the major lobby to which it is beholden.

I own a small amount of AAPL stock, and I could benefit, albeit with a clear conscience, maybe as much as the Democrats who visited Cupertino were Michigan to buy $38 million worth of iPods. However, I am also a taxpayer and a Libertarian. As such, I agree with the rhetorical question asked by the Detroit News: An iPod for every kid? Are they !#$!ing idiots? You’ll find a link to that here.

Right Michigan has two additional insights on this story. One is funny, the other shows that the Dems know how badly they screwed up, and how much they want to distance themselves from what they said. Nonetheless, they keep talking. What is needed is an MEA spokesperson to explain why Ipods are necessary to public education in Michigan. Don’t hold your breath, now they can ask for $19 million for pension funding and it’ll look like a bargain.