Economic blogger, Mish, writes about, “the constant chatter from the Obama administration and from teachers’ unions on the need to spend more for public education.” Any look at the news will show plenty of examples of this constant chatter. For example, consider this recent AP story:
“In all, the Education Department lost $2.6 billion as part of failed budget negotiations that forced deep spending cuts to reduce the nation’s debt. Every corner of the federal government has been slashing services to comply. ‘Budgets are never just numbers. They reveal our values. They reveal our value choices,’ Education Secretary Arne Duncan told reporters on Monday at an event to discuss prekindergarten programs. ‘You do not see our high-performing competitors defunding education and innovation via sequestration. Other nations, our international competitors, they keep their eye on the prize and they don’t let dysfunctional politics create a man-made mess.’”
Remember those stories we see from time to time about evil corporations that put those donation jars in various places promising autism research or cancer treatments for children or food for starving people somewhere? Remember how the media talking heads all spew self-righteous indignation when it is revealed how much of the money is kept by the contracted company and how little of it actually goes to the people that they claim to help? The reason they act so indignant is so that you will trust them when, instead of exposing the truth, they help the government commit exactly the same scam only on a much greater scale.
“Education” in the United States is a bunch of mid-level managers funding their dream retirement on childhood illiteracy and innumeracy in America.
Mish shows the numbers. We have already demonstrated our priorities and/or our gullibility even with the “cuts” of sequestration. Here’s one of his charts:
It is such complete nonsense to speak of “our high-performing competitors.” The only countries that outspend us are Luxemburg, Switzerland, and Norway. Have you ever heard anyone worry about their economic competition hurting the US economy? Me neither. Yet:
“Comparatively speaking, the United States does not starve its education system of revenue. The U.S. is one of the leaders in spending on Education, and yet it’s schools are rated ‘average’ by international bodies.”
Here is another resource showing out spending per student and the results we get compared to other countries.
It is completely obvious that we are overspending on education and doing so to support constituencies other than the children we claim to want to educate. As Mish puts it:
“Where the money went should be intuitively obvious: Teachers’ salaries, teachers’ pensions, administration salaries, administration pensions, sports programs, sports staff, union maintenance crews, etc. Please keep these charts in mind the next time someone says we need higher taxes ‘for the kids.’”
If facts mattered to politicians or their stenographers (i.e. self-styled “reporters”), then the above statement would be the most uncontroversial one an American could write.
And yes, I know a bunch of people anecdotally know great teachers. That’s not a rational way to deal with reality. Other countries have such paragons of virtue employed in their system as well—only they do more with less.
“Dysfunctional politics” indeed!