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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Teaching Economics to Obama – And to His Supporters

I've struggled for some time to find a succinct way to articulate how soaking "the rich" with higher taxes would harm lower and middle income Americans the most – the very people that such tax hikes are supposed to help. Below is a video that articulates this message quite effectively.

From YouTube contributer "WeNeedMcCain"

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Blogger Right Hook said...

Liberals/Socialists should be kept as far away from government as posible for a number of good reasons, one being that they generally can't grasp the simple points made in this video.

The points made in this video should be taught to all public school students (minus the name and campaign references).

Currently the liberals that run the education system indoctrine students (or as the touchy-feelys like to say "learners) to with propaganda like Algore's Big Adventure.

It also wouldn't be a bad idea to show the video in the post that follows this one.

9/12/2008 6:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It’s not about redistributing wealth, but collecting taxes and using them to administer programs that we could not afford otherwise as individuals. It’s about making sure we all have quality drinking water, quality education, quality healthcare, etc. It’s an improvement for you too, as you get better systems as a result of collective resources.

Why can’t you see how it is a win-win situation and everyone gets better than they would have solo? Do you have that much of a need to be greedy and selfish that you’d lower your standard of living to keep from raising that of a few rotten apples that might milk the system? Talk about unrealistic!

If anyone is redistributing wealth, it’s the current Regime that is bailing out corporations with the tax dollars of hardworking Americans who cannot afford gasoline or food these days. That’s your definition of socialism.

9/14/2008 3:59 PM  
Blogger Right Hook said...

Anonymous -

As Ronald Reagan so truly stated, a society cannot tax itself into prosperity. Learn it, live it, love it!

Our current welfare state government is all about redistributing wealth in the quest for political power. Individuals and the private sector are much more capable than government in providing goods and services. Our collective, as well as individual, standards of living have been reduced because government has confiscated wealth from producers and used it subsidize those who do not produce. A social "safety net" is one thing, but the cradle-to-grave socialist welfare state Obama and other socialists advocate is way beyond that.

Do you really think the government education bureaucracy can provide a better quality education than a private sector enterprise that must do so to stay in business? And since when is your health care my responsibility?

I have no problem with collective resources as long a those "contributing" to the collective do so voluntarily. If I did not have to "contribute" to the Ponzi scheme known as Social Security and pay confiscatory rates of taxation I could have retired comfortably a long time ago. I also would have much more disposable income to contribute to individuals and private charities that I deem worthy. Incidentally, how/where did the government get the authority to create and administer a retirement program, a health insurance program, or an education system in the first place?

And since when is keeping what one earned "greedy"? What twisted concept of morality gives a welfare recipient a legitimate claim on my property and labor without my consent? Voluntary charity always works far better than forced charity. In the voluntary situation the giver can cut off funding if they determine that the recipient of the generosity is taking advantage of the situation.

The current welfare state is a lose-lose situation: those who produce lose their wealth and property and those who consume the illegitimate largesse lose their freedom and dignity as they become dependent on the state. We all lose when the economy tanks because of taxation, regulation, and government interference in the marketplace.

And don't you dare blame those who produce for high gas and food prices! The vast majority of bad economic news is a direct cause of government sticking its nose where the Constitution does not authorize it to do so.

An area in which we do have some agreement is that of corporate welfare. It's just as bad for the government to pick winners and losers as they confiscate the wealth from some in the corporate sector and give it to others as it is for them to fund social programs that rewards individuals for not contributing to society.

Talk about unrealistic: Socialism has been, and always will be, a dismal failure everywhere it has been tried. Inevitably the demand for goods and services outstrips the supply and those who did produce lose the incentive and/or capability to continue doing so. Rights and private property get trampled as government becomes increasingly heavy-handed in a futile attempt to keep the system going. Eventually something has to give. Government either becomes totalitarian or the people revolt and sweep the socialist state away. In either case lots of people end up losing their wealth, property, and often their lives in the process.

9/14/2008 5:30 PM  
Blogger G-Man said...

I get a kick out of those who want more of my income calling me greedy for wanting to keep it.

A stark difference between conservatives and liberals is that liberals always presume the government can do it better – whatever it may be. Prior to President Johnson, private sector charities were mostly responsible for helping lift up the poor. The poverty rate had been declining steadily from the Great Depression until the mid-sixties, when Johnson expanded national welfare. He did so to reduce the poverty rate from 15% to near zero. But it hasn't worked. The poverty rate has remained unchanged even after pouring over a TRILLION dollars into government programs.

Right Hook accurately points out that private schools have been more effective than government schools. The budgets of many private schools are far less than their government school counter-parts. Still, on average, 95% of private school students can read at their grade level. Only 60% of government school students can do so.

Most people think we don't have government-run health care. But we do. Over the years, government mandates and regulations have been encroaching more into the health care system. There is a reason why you can't buy health care insurance from any state or with the variety of options available for auto insurance. The government doesn't allow it. We are forced to buy insurance programs that the government has blessed. Now you know why costs have been skyrocketing.

The programs that today's Democrat Party wants to increase are all about transfer of wealth. But, not from rich to poor. This is the dirty little secret. The transfer of wealth is from rich – from those who produce – to bureaucracies. In addition, there is a transfer of power from the individual to the politicians who dictate over these programs.

During the 1990's, the Clinton budget office estimated that over 85% of the tax dollars collected for welfare programs were lost in the management of the programs – lost in the bureaucracy. Keep in mind that large private sector charities are not permitted to spend more than 30% of their budgets on management.

Herein lies the problem with government programs. In most cases (excluding military), the private sector is more efficient at running an enterprise and delivering a quality product or service. They have to be. Those who fail to deliver, fail to receive funding from the public.

In contrast, government programs are good only at spending money – and spending it on themselves. There is no government program at risk of folding due to poor management and poor delivery of services. Hence, the motivation to succeed just isn't there. When the money runs out, congress either forces the rest of us to pay more or cuts services.

It is important to understand this because anytime the government tries to take over a particular enterprise, it is destined to destroy it. When congress takes on an enterprise, they remove your buying power from the equation. And this is a huge encroachment of your rights. Your buying power – your right to choose with whom to do business is a key element of freedom. In a free society, you have the right to pursue an income – to receive monetary benefit for your labor – and to dictate where your hard-earned dollars go.

American ingenuity and productivity has excelled because of private sector competition. Private sector enterprises must do what they claim to continue to receive funding from their customers. Unlike government enterprises, they do not benefit from revenues collect by force of the law.

9/15/2008 9:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right Hook and G-Man -

On Education
I agree that private schools are probably more effective than public schools. That's great but the reason these schools perform is because their parents can afford to put them in a better school, thus pumping more resources into that school. For the young ones who can't, is it their fault their parents can't produce enough for a good education?

The Economy
The economy isn't always run best in the hands of conservatives. Yes, they do manage to stop some wasteful spending, but also stomp out many much needed bills in the name of saving a buck. They are also to blame for our current problems as I will explain.

First, who is to pay for everything when they are cutting taxes and not an equal amount of spending? Passing debt on to our children should not be packaged in with the name "compassionate conservatism." The fact is, however, there is a Republican in office who has devalued the dollar because he accumulated a massive national debt. Who is to blame? The party currently running the country is responsible for the creation of the budget and for these problems, producers or not.

If our money were reallocated and budgeted better (by both parties)we wouldn't be talking about some of these issues.

A prime example: As of now, the war in Iraq has cost American taxpayers ~$554,391,500,000. That's $4,681 per household, $1,721 per person, $341.4 million per day.
source: http://www.nationalpriorities.org/costofwar_home

If just a fraction of this money would go towards tackling a domestic problem, everyone's life would benefit. While I'm on that subject, it is the fault of some of the producers that gasoline prices are so high. Do you really think that they wouldn't be after the government "stuck its nose where it doesn't belong" by invading a Muslim country on little intelligence? Hah, that region of the world already hates us, yet we need their oil. It is ironic that a good Republican businessman who is all so concerned about saving dollars would not have made that connection.

Yes, I know what you're thinking - and supply and demand has a great effect on our market economy...however would you not agree that we are or have been being price-gouged? Oil is now under $100 a barrel, down from a record $147 last July. Has the price of gas followed proportionately? Again, this partly to blame on the war.

It makes me laugh when I think of all of the "money-conscious" people backing McCain. Yes, he will cut your taxes, but it surprises me that these same people are supporting a man who recently said, "the issue of economics is not something I’ve understood as well as I should."
John McCain, December 2007
Hopefully he has done some studying since '07.

I love my country, I love our form of government, and I appreciate those who fight for my freedoms. What I can't stand for are people who believe that one party is always right, even when they clearly are going against their own principles. I also appreciate the value of hard work, but I am willing to bet that if we had few or no taxes, no one would feel that it is "their responsibility" to spend their hard-earned money on the things we all need.

The truth about (recent) conservative economics is in the numbers: http://www.webfilehost.com/images/fiscal-policy.php

There is a middle ground. Most liberals are not socialists. Wake up!

9/15/2008 9:42 PM  
Blogger Right Hook said...

Well, there you go again (remember when we had a real President?) ;).

So much to counter and so little time to do it (gotta get to work to pay my confiscatory taxes), but I'll give it a quick shot. I apologize in advance for spelling, grammar, and abrupt changes in topic as I try to address your points in the order you presented them.

Society "pumps more resources" into public schools than private school parents (who also get to pay for the public schools as well) do into their kid's school. Lack of resources isn't the problem with public schools. The problem is that there is much more interest in making the schools a lucrative venture for the teachers unions and the grandstanding politicians than in providing a good education.

I will agree with you that spending is a problem, one that a lot of Republicans are also culpable for. That being said, tax cuts generally produce more revenue for the government due to economic growth than tax hikes do with the associated ecomomic slow down. Revenues during the Reagan administration nearly doubled due to tax cuts, but the liberals in congress nearly tripled spending.

Blaming the cost of the war for our ecomomic problems does not hold water. How much does this country spend on social programs relative to milatary spending? Spending for programs started as part of the "New Deal" and "Great Society" have burned far more wealth than defense spending. There is definitely waste in defense spending, but nothing like in the social spending world. And defense spending produces something far more valuable than government transfers of wealth.

The war in Iraq is/was just and in our national security interests. Even the Clinton Administration recognized the need for regime change. Mistakes were made in the prosecution of the war, as they always are. There is evidence that Sadam had WMDs and was hell-bent on rejuvenating WMD programs. The intelligence may not have been perfect (thanks largely to the gutting of the intelligence community started by liberals in the post Watergate era) but it was pretty consistent throughout the Western world. If President Bush was snookered, then so were the Europeans and our Congress.

It was a mistake for the admimistration to "sell" the war so hard on WMDs, but regardless Iraq was a enabler and supporter of terrorism and threatened the free flow of oil at market prices. Unfortunately political correctness prevented a more accurate "selling" of the need for regime change in Iraq, but it needed to be done.

Government policies and interference in the free market have far more to do with high gas prices than "gouging" by the producers. Yes, some may try to gouge, but the beauty of the free market is that competition will eventually drive gougers out of the market. Undue influence by anti-capitalist environmental extremists have legislatively limited supply, competition, and refining capacity. Turn the market loose and we will add plenty of supply to the world petroleum markets which will drive prices down.

I don't doubt that most liberals love our country, but their prescription to fix things is often at odds with proven economic principles and unwise circumventions of our Constitution. I'll even grant you that most "rank and file" liberals are not socialists, but the leadership of today's Democrat party most certainly is, with very few exceptions. Unfortunately these are the people with the political clout so they must be constantly and vigorously oppposed.

Incidentally, I'm personally not a big fan of John McCain and the mainstream Republican Party. McCain is pretty much what a liberal used to be before the radical socialist element got a hold of the Democrat party and too many in the Republican leadership have steered the party leftward. The selection of Sarah Palin to the ticket gives us Conservatives something to vote for with respect to the future of the Conservative movement to go along with our vote against the radical, dangerous, and naive ideas of Obama and his supporters.

9/15/2008 10:57 PM  
Blogger G-Man said...


Thanks for taking the time to partake in the discourse. We do appreciate comments that explore thought provoking ideas. We also appreciate the opportunity to address popular misconceptions often advance by liberal leaders and their allies in the media.

My apologies in advance, this is long. I simply could not resist the temptation to address most of the issues and misconceptions that you advanced.

On Education

Without a doubt, private schools are more effective than government schools. Less than 60% of government high school students can read at their grade levels. For private schools, the reading competency jumps to 95%.

However, as a product of private schools and a parent of a child in private school, I can attest that this has NOTHING to do with more resources. On average, it is the government school that most likely has the latest, greatest equipment – both educational and extra-curricular. Private schools often scrape by with “old technology” materials. They are less likely to have the latest computers, dedicated drama auditoriums, swimming pools, and other amenities that adorn government schools. This is not surprising since government schools spend $10,000-$12,000 per child. The private schools that I'm familiar with make do with half that amount.

But, they make do quite effectively. Catholic schools, for instance, are consistently among the best – and consistently among the cheapest. They are better at teaching the basics because they cannot afford the frills and fads that often distract a government school.

The difference is in the “curriculum-by-bureaucracy” approach of government schools. It is often focused more on efforts to please special interest groups and less on teaching the basics.

Granted, private schools cater to the special interests of the parents. But, this is as it should be. Parents are their customers. In theory, parents are the customers of government schools, but parents don't have the buying power to motivate them to compete. That power lies with the politicians who cater to their own special interest groups – like teacher unions.

And, herein lies the key problem to government interference in private sector enterprises.

It is fine for the government – for us – to give a hand up to poor students, but the government's take-over of education has largely devastated the industry. First, they funded their program by forcibly taking money from the taxpayer and ostensibly offering a “free education”. This took away our freedom to choose which schools should earn our tuition dollars and destroyed the motivation for "public" schools to compete for our business by delivering a better product. Third, politicians began meddling with curriculum to satisfy certain special interest donors and to avoid offending other special interest voters.

Iraq And The Economy

We learned from 9/11 that it is dangerous to maintain a 9/10 mindset. Right Hook addressed this well, so I'll only ad a couple thoughts.

Saddam had declared war on the U.S. He attacked his neighbors. He funded terrorists against Israel. He demonstrated the willingness and ability to build and deploy weapons that most of us would call WMD's (we found 500 such bio-chem munitions in Iraq after his fall). Further, he helped train and then provided safe harbor for the terrorists that attacked us on 9/11. The so called insurgents we have been fighting in Iraq are not Iraqi nationals, they are terrorists allied with Al Qaeda.

Lest we not forget, Al Qaeda intended to destroy our economy by attacking the WTC. They nearly succeeded by disabling the travel industry. They also came close to disabling banks (I won't go into detail).

My point. The dollars we spend to defeat this enemy and prevent another attack pale compared the financial devastation that another attack could yield.

Are We Better Off Today Than We Were TWO Years Ago?

No. We are not.

We do NOT want the economy "in the hands of conservative politicians". We don't want the economy in the hands of any politician. We want politicians to get out of the way and leave the economy in the hands of the people.

You should take another look at Washington D.C. Congress writes the checks and technically, Congress sets the budget. Democrats are the party in power of the budget – and they are, indeed, responsible for the mess we are are in today.

President Bush proved that Reaganomics works every time it's tried. Cutting taxes keeps more money in the private sector and grows the economic pie. Private individuals have more money to invest in business and businesses have more money to invest in private individuals – in employees. All of this adds up to increased tax revenues. The smaller portion of the bigger pie is larger than a bigger portion of an over-taxed pie.

Under President Reagan, tax revenues doubled. Likewise, under the first six years of President Bush, tax cuts enabled us to recover from the Clinton Recession AND a major terrorist attack on September 11, 2001. In 2006, the economy had rebounded and even the national deficit was shrinking faster than Republicans predicted. Further, job growth continued to excel.

I like the suggestion that things would be better if our money were budgeted better. You are absolutely right. But, our money will never be budgeted well if we give it to Congress. We should have learned this lesson decades ago. Congress doesn't feel the pain of losing income like you and I. Consequently, the motivation to spend wisely isn't there. Whatever the program, most of the money – to the tune of 80% -- will get lost in government bureaucracies.

Still, let's not forget where we were two years ago. Gas prices averaged around $2.15, the national deficit was continuing a steady decline at around $250 billion, and the unemployment rate was at an all time low.

Then came November of 2006 when Democrats won control of Congress (and of the Minnesota Legislature). Since then, they have been promising an end to the Bush tax cuts – that is, they have been promising to raise taxes. They promised to raise taxes on the rich, on the dead, and everyone who receives capital gains from investments (which includes millions of middle-class retirees). Further, they rededicated themselves to preventing Americans from sharing in the rich deposits of oil that exists in our own back yard. On top of this, they have been spending like crazy.

Gas prices have stayed close to $4.00, the deficit is over $400 billion, the unemployment rate is over 6%.

So, what happened?

Oil speculators grew confident that oil resources would remain artificially low due to Congress' refusal to allow drilling. Speculators then bought up what oil they could find thus raising the cost of crude. Gas prices soared past $3.00 in May of 2007, hovered there for a few months, then soared to $4.00. Americans have spent more for gas during the last 18 months than they did during any 18 month period in history.

The cost of doing business increased for American businesses as well. They need oil to make many of the products they produce and they need gas to deliver them to market.

In addition, with the potential of a Democrat president who promises to raise taxes and to “take more profits”, businesses and investors have been hedging their bets. They have stopped investing in business and in their employees. Job growth has stalled out because many businesses and share holders are preparing for lower profits that would follow a Democrat presidency.

The economic mess we currently face has its roots with the 2006 election of Democrats – not with President Bush!

The shame of all this is that Democrats don't want to raise taxes to increase revenue. They don't create more government programs to help out the poor and middle-class. They do these things to grow their power – or simply because they think they know best how to spend our money. As evidenced by our government schools and by Canada's experiment in government health care, when government takes control of a private enterprise, the only winners are those who run the system – and politicians who gain more power by controlling it.

The little guy not only looses more of his/her hard earned income, but also looses the freedom to choose what to buy. It is this freedom that inspires private enterprise to earn our business by building better products or providing better services at competitive rates. One need not look past the personal computer to see how this freedom can launch an entire industry and lead to smaller, faster, more reliable, and more affordable computers.

About Oil

We did NOT invade Iraq to get their oil – not in 1991, nor in 2003.

After rescuing Kuwait in 1991, then putting out fires in their oil fields, we turned the fields over to Kuwait without any deal to keep some oil for ourselves.

After liberating Iraq from Saddam in 2003, we still haven't benefited from its vast oil reserves. In fact, thanks to Democrat Senators efforts to demand that Iraq's oil industry "goes green" to save the planet, we lost out on bids for Iraqi oil. Iraq has instead made deals with China.

The bigger point is that it would have been a lot easier and lot cheaper to engage in sweetheart deals with Saddam for his oil (as France and Russia did) than to wage war for it. Truth be told, Iraq's oil meant more to Saddam and means more to Al Qaeda than it does to us. Saddam used it to fund his military and his weapons program. Al Qaeda wants it to fund their future endeavors into international terrorism. This, alone, is reason enough for U.S. troops to protect Iraq from Al Qaeda's threat.

I also cannot let the assertion about gouging go unanswered. NO, I do not believe that the oil companies are gouging us with their pricing. To the contrary, the government is doing so. At current prices, the government's profit at the pump is nearly twice that of Big Oil. Big Oil profit margins average between 8-9%. In contrast, Big Cola and many other industry profit margins hover around 20%. Are we being gouged by Coke and Pepsi?

Much has been said about Exxon netting $40 billion last year. But, little has been said about the taxes they paid – rather the taxes we paid for every corporation passes on such business expenses to the customer with higher prices. All totaled, Exxon paid more in taxes than they cleared in profits. In income taxes alone, they paid $30 billion to the federal government. Exxon paid more income tax than the bottom 50% of all taxpayers combined.

I have no doubt that gas prices would quickly drop to the $2.00 mark if Congress approved drilling off shore and in ANWR. Doing so would reduce the value of oil currently held by speculators. The mere threat of an abundance of future oil would dissuade additional speculation of current supply.

But, this isn't the only reason that gas prices are high. We only have 140 refineries nationwide, down from 300 in the 1970's. With so few refineries and many more drivers, each refinery is operating at near capacity levels.

In addition, we have over 30 government mandated requirements for blended gas. Most refineries can only handle a few blends. Than means that any given state can only go to a handful of refineries to meet their demand. In the wake of Ike, like Katrina a few years earlier, some refineries had to cut back or shut down for a while. This reduced our ability to refine oil and meet ongoing demands – hence the current price hike from Ike.

To recap, there is an estimated 100-150 year supply of crude oil of our own shores but Congress won't let the private sector get at it. We have only 140 refineries that barely meet current demand, but Congress won't let oil companies build more. The few refineries we do have are forced to blend gas according to government mandates (such as Ethanol mixes) and not according to consumer demand. All of this meddling by politicians have lead to artificially higher energy prices. Just one more case where government interference into private enterprise has severely damaged the industry.

I know, Congress did these things to save the planet. But, did they. Take Ethanol. We now know that Ethanol production is damaging the land used to grow the corn. More chemicals are dumped into the land to produce Ethanol than saved by burning it instead of oil. But, special interest farmers and Big Ag sure benefited from the government subsidies they received to grow corn.

Always Right

At BootsOn, we strive to always be Right. We also strive for accuracy in both facts and logic. But, we will never claim that "our" party is always right – unfortunately, we have too many politicians in it. When Republican politicians put the power of their office before the freedom of the individual, we will certainly call them on it – and we often do.

9/18/2008 2:49 AM  
Blogger Daria said...

Not to pile on the hapless libs, but it is interesting to note that the latest rises in unemployment coincided with the phase ins of the minimum wage hikes the Democrats pushed through shortly after gaining control of congress.

And to give credit where it is due, unlike a lot of libs who comment on this blog this Mr./Ms. Anonymous presents an argument other than "Republicans Suck" and actually coherently presents her/his case. I disagree with the vast majority of the points made for the same reasons stated by RH and G, but it is refreshing to have the liberal view intelligently articulated (but please pick a more creative name than "Anonymous"!).


9/18/2008 8:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The point needs to be made that students in public schools often come to school unprepared to learn.
Public schools are full of students of single family parents (Not a horrible thing in itself, but these parents are often unable or incapable of helping/preparing children for school). These are the parents who often complain about the smallest amount of homework (because they don't or won't have the time to help their child),the parents who don't read at night to their children, because they are too tired, too busy or just disinterested (it's the school's job). There are also a great number of public school parents, who bring their own negative experiences/views to their child's school and simply work to roadblock/criticize teachers--the very people who are trying to help their children. Private school students often come better prepared, parents tend to "back" the teacher, and often have fewer issues such as fetal alcohol syndrome, ADHD, and behavioral, and custodial issues. The school cannot be both educator and guardian, and that's the problem. The majority of public school teachers I know work
very diligently to provide the best education possible. Most of us (yes I AM a teacher) spend a lot of time outside of the classroom planning, calling parents, supporting children who don't receive outside support. It's fine to point fingers, but public and private school students are coming from a different place altogether. That's not to say there aren't consciencious public school parents, but if you compare the two settings, you'll find less behavior issues, more autonomy for teachers and more parental support.
It's not apples/apples!

9/21/2008 3:10 PM  
Blogger Right Hook said...


For the most part the problems with the public schools aren't so much caused by the teachers as by the education worker unions and liberal school administrators. There is also a decided lack of discipline - more ass-kickers and less hand-wringing huggers would help the situation.

It should also be noted that a lot of the problems that you noted teachers have to deal with are caused directly by liberal welfare and social policies.

In any case, it is clear that the government cannot effectively run an education system and parents and students would be better off with more of a free-market educational environment.

9/21/2008 4:41 PM  
Blogger G-Man said...

Mr. or Ms. A,

There was a time when most parents, regardless of school preference, respected teachers and blamed the child when he or she messed up. But, times are different. We have produced a generation (or two) of new parents accustomed to handouts. They have developed a "the world owes me" attitude and an elevated degree of self worth – often above and beyond that of their elders. They raise their kids with the same values. I'm sure you've seen it. It often manifests itself with a lack of respect for peers and authority figures alike. (I would argue that this general lack of respect for others is at the root of road rage, but I digress.)

I don't mean to paint all parents and kids with this brush. I do know that many government school parents attend to their kids' education with the same attention as parents of private school parents. (End of disclaimer.)

Still, you make my case for me. Liberal social policies are dedicated to get more people dependent on government programs – from the cradle to the grave. This keeps government bureaucrats employed and liberal politicians in office.

Unfortunately, government schools have evolved into a social program. In the eyes of the politician, you are no longer a teacher. You are a government appointed surrogate parent. Parents no longer have that "birds and the bees" talk, they expect teachers to give it. Parents no longer need to feed their kids breakfast, they expect schools to do so. Now there is a push for school hours to more closely match the 9-5 work day. There has also been a push for more government schools to take on preschool. In the eyes of the politician, schools are more like a day care facility and less like a learning center – anything to make it easier for both parents to work and pay taxes – and to avoid being parents.

Part of the problem is that parents don't have to pay for their kids' education. Think Section 8 housing here. All too often, Section 8 housing prematurely falls into disrepair. It is human nature to care less about the things you didn't earn.

Tenants who pay the full rent and who are responsible for upkeep are more likely to take care of the property. Likewise, parents who don't have to pay for their kids' government school education are less likely to value your efforts as teacher. As long as parents are removed from the "buying process" of choosing a school and paying for it, I suspect the problems you mention will only get worse.

I contend that it is the nature of any enterprise to cater most to those who pay them. Government schools, like any government program, are designed to cater most to the interests of government and the politicians who appropriate the funds. As a teacher, you're caught in the middle and I truly sympathize with you.

For what its worth, I lean toward a school voucher program that gives ALL parents a voucher for each of their school-age children. (Vouchers to parents avoids the so-called separation of church and state problem that might arise if the voucher was sent directly to the parochial school.) The parent can then choose to spend their voucher on a government school or a private school of their choice – provided the school isn't full and that their children meet the school's criteria for grades and behavior. This would return some element of "buying power" to the parents. Of course, for some parents, it would still be free handout and may do nothing to encourage them to get more involved in their investment.

9/22/2008 11:01 PM  

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