American Consequences - October 2017

Deform No. 4: INCREASING FEDERAL AID TO PUBLIC EDUCATION In the mid-1960s, the federal government became involved in local public schools with the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, part of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s “War on Poverty.” And the federal government has been getting more and more involved ever since. Here, from the College Board’s own SAT test figures, is the evidence for how helpful federal government involvement has been: It’s not a partisan matter. Republican aid to public education has been every bit as bad as Democratic aid. For example, take George W. Bush’s “No Child Left Behind.” What if they deserve to be left behind? What if they deserve a smack on the behind? A nation-wide testing program to determine whether kids are... What? Dumb? You’ve got kids. Kids are dumb. And so is the government. Yet there seems to be no way out of dumb (to the tune of $40 billion a year) federal aid to public education. Imagine the fate of the politician running for national office who stood up and said, “No, I can’t fix public education. The problem isn’t funding or overcrowding or teachers’ unions or voucher programs or lack of computer equipment in the classroom. The problem is your damn kids !” Average SAT Scores 1967 2016 494 508 Reading/Verbal 543 516 Math


Nice idea. But why stop at a paltry $15 an hour? Why not make the minimum wage $500 an hour, like the billing rate at “White Shoe” law firms? We’d all be millionaires the way fancy lawyers are. Oh, voters would perceive a problem with that? They’d realize that a $5.99 Big Mac Meal would cost about 55 times as much? They’d think $329.45 was a lot to pay for a burger, fries, and a Coke? Then it’s time for voters to realize that the same problem applies to a $15 an hour minimum wage. The law of supply and demand means that you cannot raise the price of labor above what people are willing to be paid to work. The difficulty is not so much that an overly high minimum wage will destroy small businesses with marginal profit rates and increase unemployment. (Which it will.) The real problem is that people who are willing to work for less, and businesses that can’t pay more, will be driven under the table. They’ll become a part of the black-market economy. A black-market economy makes otherwise innocent people into criminals, produces no tax revenues, and leaves everyone involved – including employers – without the protection of rule of law. Note what happened during Prohibition. Note what’s happening in the illegal drug market now.

A nation- wide testing program to determine whether kids are... What? Dumb? You've got

kids. Kids are dumb.

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