Green Room

A Radical Proposal For Real Stimulus

posted at 11:53 pm on May 21, 2009 by

The Dow dropped another 150 points on Thursday, leaving it at 8292.13. It bounces around a bit, but it seems to be stuck around 600 points below where it was on the day Barack Obama was elected President. It peaked at 14908.08 in October 2007. Unemployment stands at 8.6%, after hanging around four to five percent during most of President Bush’s term. When nothing came of its multi-billion dollar “stimulus” plans and bailouts, the government started pouring good money after bad, just recently announcing it will throw another $7.5 billion at General Motors Acceptance Corporation, on top of the $5 billion it has already spent. Uncle Sam is also converting $884 million in loans to GMAC into equity, which means you, the taxpayer, are being forced to buy 35% interest in a disintegrating financial company, whose stock you wouldn’t normally purchase without getting drunk first. There are about 128 million taxpayers in the United States, so your share works out to a little over a hundred bucks taken out of your wallet and paid to GMAC since December. An already shaky auto industry is about to get walloped by new federally-mandated fuel efficiency increases, which is likely to depress new car sales as upper-income buyers cling to big, comfortable vehicles they won’t be able to purchase any more. And California has turned into a malignant tumor that will suck billions out of productive states with sane government, as the inevitable federal bailouts begin.

It’s hard to see any of the signs of renewed economic growth that Obama keeps hallucinating about in press conferences. It’s time for some real economic stimulus – the fraudulent pork bill shoved down the nation’s throat by Democrats didn’t even pretend to “stimulate” anything until 2010. How do you stimulate an economy? Well, throwing money at favored constituencies doesn’t work – if those constituencies were wealth creators, they wouldn’t need infusions of pork. Bailing out failed business models is merely subsidizing failure. There are two things that would provide immediate stimulus: tax cuts, which spur positive business growth immediately, because quarterly and yearly business plans take upcoming tax rates into consideration, and the creation of new markets for businesses to exploit. Obama’s corporate socialism has the needs of the economy exactly reversed – instead of having government take over failed businesses, we need failed government programs to be released into the private sector, spurring employment and spending on infrastructure. The private sector would love to gain the opportunity to bring its innovation and energy to a previously moribund government-controlled industry, and the taxes formerly collected to fund a bloated and inefficient federal department could flow directly into the pockets of taxpaying citizens, like a jolt of electricity. To rescue our economy, it’s time for some of that out-of-the-box thinking we keep hearing this Administration values. Let’s set partisan considerations aside and do something dramatic.

Mr. President, it’s time to privatize education.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, roughly $553 billion was collected in tax revenue to fund the public school system in 2007. I couldn’t find any 2008 numbers, but of course they’re bound to be even higher. Can you imagine the economic stimulus of dropping a half-trillion dollar market into the private sector? The frenzy of companies forming to compete for the best teachers, build the most attractive educational infrastructure, and market their services to discerning parents would be astonishing.

The tax savings to citizens would be significant. Of course, we would need to provide educational vouchers for lower-income citizens, so some educational taxes would still need to be collected… but the federal government current spends over $9000 per year, on average, to educate each student. It’s much higher than that in some areas, most notably Washington, D.C., which spends a whopping $25,000.00 per student. Does anyone doubt that competitive private schools can do better, especially when the economies of scale for handling seventy million customers kick in? Parochial schools already offer superior education at less than half the average cost of government schools.

American public education is a textbook study of a failed government program. American students lag behind the rest of the developed world in almost every category, and their performance gets worse with every passing year. As far back as the early Eighties, the Education Secretary released a report called A Nation At Risk: The Imperative for Education Reform, which included this infamous statement: “If an unfriendly power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war.” Things have gotten a lot worse in the last 25 years, not least because of the tremendous amount of time wasted on foolish political indoctrination, including mandatory training in the official state religion of environmentalism – something that has gotten so out of hand that a “separation of church and state” lawsuit is just itching to be filed. The Obamas obviously had the good sense to keep their daughters far away from the awful public schools of Washington… just like every single liberal Democrat president before them.

The government has proven utterly unable to cope with the most disruptive elements of public education, a dreary litany of horrors that every parent can recite by heart: disruptive students, disconnected parents, violence in the schools, grade inflation, and the crush of immigrant students from families that refuse to assimilate. Hidebound government functionaries can’t conceive of any solutions to these problems, but I’ll bet highly motivated, innovative private entrepreneurs can. Parents who can shop around for the best schools will vote with their feet if private schools don’t measure up. The District of Columbia was filled with parents who desperately pursued an opportunity to escape from the hell created by Congress and the teachers’ unions – until Obama took it away from them.

Much of the cost of public education comes from a bloated, union-heavy bureaucracy, tangled in a cozy relationship with Jimmy Carter’s Department of Education. The teachers’ unions are heavy contributors to the Democrat Party, and they receive value for their money, with tired 60s radicals settled into tenured positions, and a vast army of federal officials and union apparatchiks crushing good teachers who struggle valiantly to provide a decent education in a crazy system. The flaws in government education are grown through every brick of public schools, like a vine that can’t be cleared away without bringing the whole building down. Everyone familiar with the state educational system knows there is no way to reform it – its problems are built in to a system that provides such tremendous opportunities for political indoctrination, has so few mechanisms for dealing with poor teacher performance, and provides huge funds to a union that uses them to buy vast political power.

Have the courage to make a sacrifice for America, Mr. Obama – it’s time for your government, your Party, and Bill Ayers to make do with less for a change. Dissolve the Department of Education, promote a right-to-work law that will shatter the teachers’ union, and begin the privatization of the educational system. It would go a long way toward getting us back to the economic performance and unemployment figures of your predecessor, which so far you have only been able to regard with envy and confusion. It might get us back to a 10,000 Dow… and produce a class of 2010 that understands exactly what that means.

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You come near to the problem in the penultimate paragraph, but shy away.

The Department of Education exists primarily to indoctrinate youth into the perpetually governed, leaving important decisions to the “best and brightest” from Harvard or Yale. Actually learning anything is not even secondary.

I first figured this out back in Junior High, when I noted that the history taught in school didn’t make any sense whatsoever compared to the history I read on my own. In school, history was full of charming anecdotes about the glorious contributions of various individuals who happened to be minorities and cultures that happened to be non-European. Thoughtful analysis was entirely stripped out.

For the government to privatize education might spark the populace into thinking for itself — and then where would there be room for the ruling elite?

cthulhu on May 22, 2009 at 2:33 AM

cthulhu on May 22, 2009 at 2:33 AM

You’re not suggesting that President Obama and the Democrats would dismiss an idea to improve the education of children, and provide real economic stimulus, just to maintain an iron-fisted grip on a massive political indoctrination system that manufactures the miseducated, easily-led voters they require for political survival, are you?

Listen, buddy, that may be how they do things down in R’lyeh, but up here we’ve got Hope and Change and audacity and stuff like that! That is not dead which can eternal lie, and with strange aeons, even the NEA may die!

Doctor Zero on May 22, 2009 at 7:06 AM

The last official unemployment was 8.9%.

tarpon on May 22, 2009 at 8:21 AM

You’re not suggesting that President Obama and the Democrats would dismiss an idea to improve the education of children, and provide real economic stimulus, just to maintain an iron-fisted grip on a massive political indoctrination system that manufactures the miseducated, easily-led voters they require for political survival, are you?

And all this time I was led to believe this was the “age of enlightenment”.

The real travesty is when these “educated masses” leave their “wombs of indoctrination” only to discover, (sadly), that their investment in education does not supply them with any tools that would market their abilities in the real world—-unless, (of course), they became journalist, or worst, a politician, and in rare cases, a community organizer.

Rovin on May 22, 2009 at 9:04 AM

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Allahpundit on May 22, 2009 at 10:10 AM