Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Back-to-Back Irony

On the front side of a Star Tribune page:

An opinion piece by former Strib business writer Mike Meyer, sarcastically congratulating Minnesota millionaires on avoiding a tax increase in the recent budget deal. Included as an example, Meyer wrote:

What about less state aid to schools? Not a problem for the uber-loaded. Crowded classrooms and overworked teachers won't intrude into the lives of their offspring or grandkids. Their education will be private, although state vouchers always would be welcome.
On the back side of the same page, this ad (click to enlarge):

Full page ad showing an elementary-age boy sitting at a library table surrounded by dark paneling and leather books, with Goldman Sachs logo in lower right
Which seems to be aimed squarely at an audience made up of the very people who avoided the now-dead tax increase.

Is that a public school in the photo? Heck no -- it clearly implies a private school with its ultra-high ceilings, dark paneling, and library ladder. (Or maybe the boy is supposed to be at home in his parents' personal library. After all, they've been writing on the walls.)

The overt message that kids can only reach their potential through private lessons and summer camps (let alone the implied private school) all but eliminates the idea that a child could reach her potential by use of a commonly shared resource like the schools. And given the way the schools have been gutted and teachers undermined, that message may be coming dangerously close to being true.

An additional irony can be found in the ad's copy: "For many years parents have relied on our mutual funds, backed by sound strategy and risk management experience, to help their children's dreams come true."

Sound strategy? Risk management? This ad is promoting Goldman Sachs, for God's sake, the company that made it through the bank crash by betting against its investors.

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