More Funding Won’t Solve Public School Problems

From the Cato Institute:

In a study released yesterday by the Goldwater Institute, I analyze the results of their most recent private school survey. Among the other fascinating findings is that public schools spend one-and-a-half times as much per pupil as do private schools. Or, looked at the other way, private schools spend a third less than public schools.

Some other fascinating tidbits:

Teachers make up 72 percent of on-site staff in Arizona’s independent education sector, but less than half of on-site staff in the public sector. In order to match the independent sector’s emphasis on teachers over non-teaching staff, Arizona public schools would have to hire roughly 25,000 more teachers and dismiss 21,210 non-teaching employees.

When teachers’ 9-month salaries are annualized to make them comparable to the 12-month salaries of most other fields, Arizona independent school teachers earned the equivalent of $36,456 in 2004 — about $2,000 less than reporters and correspondents. The 12-month-equivalent salary of the state’s public school teachers was around $60,000, which is more than nuclear technicians, epidemiologists, detectives, and broadcast news analysts. It’s also about 50 percent more than reporters or private school teachers earn.

Meanwhile, only 31.9 percent of Detroit students graduate in four years, according to the first major study in Michigan conducted using a method now mandated by the federal government.

So, how is the Detroit Federation of Teachers dealing with such an unprecedented and serious educational crisis? Are they working to be more efficient and effective with the funds available to them, adapting like the private sector? Not that anyone has noticed. What they are doing in the midst of this catastrophe is fighting wage cuts and protesting competition from charter schools. Never mind being competitive, fostering viable alternatives or allowing parents academic choice, apparently job security and above-market wages for teachers are the really important aspects of public education. How that helps children or lowers the 68% dropout rate though is beyond me.


Egregious Debt? Just Print More Money.

Former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan explains how the United States can pay down the debt. By printing money. Transcript:

David Gregory, moderator of “Meet The Press” on NBC: “Are U.S. treasury bonds still safe to invest in?”

Alan Greenspan, Former Chairman of the Federal Reserve: “Very much so. This is not an issue of credit rating, the United States can pay any debt it has because we can always print money to do that. So, there is zero probability of default.”

Greenspan says the S&P downgrade was just meant to hit a “nerve” and hurt the “self-esteem of the United States.”

Of course, the question then becomes, if we can pay off our 15.5 trillion debt simply by printing the money then why have we not done so yet? If the S&P downgrade is really just a conspiracy using our debt as an excuse to hurt America’s self-esteem then why have we not countered by removing the debt? The fact of the matter is that for the government to print more money in order to pay off our debt is like someone with massive credit card debt saying, “no problem. I’ll just sign up for another credit card to pay this off!”

The fiat currency of the Federal Reserve has no inherent value. The value of the dollar comes with what it can buy and the more money you print then the less each dollar in circulation is worth. What Greespan ignores is that money is no end but a means to the real end of property and services. Money is our barter chip for the goods and services we desire so what good is the barter chip if it doesn’t stand for something?

Alan Greenspan may be technically right in theory that we could print the money to pay off our debt but it would probably take a lot more than 15.5 trillion dollars to do it and, worse, it would devalue the dollars of every American everywhere. Thats essentially a tax on your wealth – a tax never voted on by Congress and never established in law, a tax so insidious you would never know it were there except for the rising prices around you. If we were to print the money needed to pay off our debt then maybe we could get away with it – but the dollars in your pocket would no longer be worth the cotton its printed on.

The Distributist Review

Check out the Distributist Review today! This website is a great resource for information on distributist capitalism. This is “capitalism” without all that “greed is good” bull that is so troublesome for us Catholics. While in essence distributism is a capitalistic system it is in reality abundantly different than the “crony capitalism” or corporatism which plagues our country today. Instead of the capitalism of a sick republic which revolves around faceless corporations in bed with corrupted and overreaching government this is about a capitalism that enables the self-expression of each man’s unique talents and interests and allows each of us to exert our independence in a world where we depend on everyone for everything. More to follow on distributism, but until then check out the Distributist Review and enjoy.

One Nation Under Debt

“The end of democracy and defeat of the American Revolution will occur when government falls into the hands of the lending institutions and moneyed incorporations. The Bank of the United States is one of the most deadly hostilities existing against the principles and form of our Constitution. The system of banking is a blot [defect] left in [unsolved by, and unfortunately tolerated by] all our Constitutions [state and federal], which if not covered [eventually solved and revoked] will end in their destruction. I sincerely believe that banking institutions are more dangerous than standing armies; and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity is but swindling futurity [on the greatest possible scale].” – Thomas Jefferson

In a recent joint poll conducted by CBS and the New York Times 56% of voters said that the economy was the biggest issue today. However, the poll distinguished between “economy” and “federal budget deficit” and while a strong majority responded with economy only 15% stated that the federal budget deficit was the most important issue. Regardless of the distinction, it is apparent that Americans are very concerned about the state of our economy including the national debt crisis. However, I don’t think the public at large is fully aware of just how serious our national debt is or what is required of them to reverse this disturbing trend in our government’s handling of its finances. American voters must be uncompromising in electing to office only those men and women who have a strong history of reducing, and not merely limiting, government spending, growth and banking power. Too many politicians today throw out keywords like “free market” or “small government” and then promote bigger government, increased corporatism, and continued accrual of a colossal national debt.

One must look no further for a prime example than to conservative Rick Santorum to readily see this hypocrisy. (I don’t mean to pick on Santorum. Virtually every federal legislator is guilty of increasing government spending, Santorum is but an example) While Santorum purports small government on the principle of Catholic subsidiarity his voting record tells a far different story. Unfortunately, many Christian voters have chosen to ignore Santorum’s big government policies because of his more genuine social conservatism but, while its true that issues like abortion and marriage are of grave importance, what America needs to realize is that our staggering national debt is not merely an economic issue – its also a moral one. I know that’s a foreign concept to a great many people, especially considering the social taboo that surrounds talking about finances, but just as a gambling or credit card addition is a moral issue so is our out of control spending, except on a societal level. Take the image below, illustrating our national debt in terms of a household budget:

For a family to live on vast sums of cash that doesn’t belong to them and then make no effort to pay back what they owe isn’t just imprudent, its wrong, and other people end up suffering for it. The same is true for our government and if you think the numbers above are overwhelming, well, you haven’t seen anything yet. According to the U.S. National Debt Clock our nation’s total liability per taxpayer is $1,039,057. That’s right, over one million dollars per individual. Our national debt accrues an annual interest of $11,971 per citizen. That’s how much you’d have to pay every year just to cover our debt’s interest. We’ve accrued this debt and its our responsibility to start paying it off. Today. Otherwise we pass this yoke on to our children, and their children, and on and on. What short-term benefits our out-of-control spending habits may yield to us now is nothing in comparison to the blow to future Americans’ very livelihoods when they must pay off their parents’ reckless use of the “federal credit card”. 

Ron Paul has been called “extreme”, “radical”, and even “crazy” for his economic plan to cut 1 trillion dollars from the federal budget in the first year of his term and, yes, such a plan will certainly mean sacrifices on the part of many Americans. However, if you look again at the picture above you’ll see that even a 1 trillion dollar budget cut will not stop, much less even begin to reverse, our national debt. Are we so selfish that we can’t even tighten our belts enough to significantly slow the swelling of our national debt? That we would put that burden entirely upon future generations? Are we that mad with greed?

To learn more about our national debt crisis I recommend you watch the following documentary, I.O.U.S.A, which offers some valuable insights into the financial state of the Union and what part we play as individuals: