Senators Gordon Smith (R-OR) and Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) offered their perspectives on how the employer system can continue to provide coverage for American workers and their families, if appropriate bi-partisan policy actions are taken soon.
Markos Moulitsas offers the case for Libertarian Democrats at Cato Unbound. But Kos's case is no different than the case Democrats have been making since Michael Dukakis was a card-carrying member of the ACLU -- markets are good except whtn they're not and the most important freedoms are flag-burning, abortion, and gay marriage.
Consider this from a pseudonymous poster Moulitsas quotes, "corporations are becoming more powerful than governments ... and government is the only thing that can stop them from recklessly exploiting the people and destroying their freedom."
Moulitsas himself says:
We cherish freedom, and will embrace any who would protect it. But
that necessarily includes, in this day and age, the government.
I cheered the Justice Department on, thinking its efforts would be the
only thing to dent the prospects of a Microsoft-dominated world. I was
despondent when Microsoft emerged victorious. Innovation seemed dead.
But I was dead wrong. ... The market worked on its own.
That reassures me about his understanding of and commitment to the market.
Democrats in Western states are gaining ground, but it takes a tremendous leap to go from arguing that the party behind the Medicare donut hole wants a bigger government than the party that would fill the hole.
The Observer’s article yesterday concerning the fiasco of the North Carolina testing program is OLD news. I along with others have been talking about these issues for YEARS. John Hood’s excellent column summarizes history associated with the state’s weak accountability program.
The distressing thought is what some see as the “solution" - a Federal Test!
Today, the Observer’s opinion page published Diane Ravitch’s speech calling for federal standards. The next step will be a federal test. This is disheartening since I usually agree with Ravitch, and appreciate her writings.
However, on this issue we agree to disagree. Federal standards, will lead to a federal assessment and this is a move backwards not forwards!
So how can we verify the rigor of testing, and keep it away from political bodies? States should be able to select from a variety of testing options (Stanford Achievement tests, IOWA, California Achievement tests i.e.), then publish results.
Testing companies compete for state contracts, and therefore free-market principles keep quality high and cost low. Parents receive an accurate report of how their children score in light of the nation, and best of all - government is not a “testing company.”
If we allow the U.S. Department of Education to become a “testing company,” we will be worse off. The “testing company” residing in the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction is an example of what happens when government monitors itself.
The U.S. House passed legislation to allow people to roll over their IRAs, 401(k)s, and other retirement accounts into HSAs. It would also allow individuals to contribute more than their annual deductible (though still only up to $2,700 for an individual) to their accounts.
The fact is that the GI Bill money comes with a load of strings
attached. The GI Bill requires that the college is accredited by
regional accrediting bodies. The bodies all have an extensive list of
requirements for schools in order to get accredited. These include
diversity requirements, faculty credential requirements, course
requirements for different programs, etc. Since schools must obtain the
accreditation to get the money all of these requirements ultimately
have the force of law. The bottom line is, meet the requirements or
don't get the money.
This is an update of this post (with my own Photoshop spoof of the Malkin fauxtograph):
Unlike other, sophomoric participants in the "Malkin hypocrisy" farce, UNC Law Professor Eric Muller has apologized to Malkin. Muller writes that "I regret my error, and I apologize to Michelle Malkin for it."
With the Luncheon speaker today, his topic was annexation and the
emerging of cities into surrounding communities. He also
mentioned the farmers and the problems they are faced with growing
regulations. Well what do think would happen if Southern Rock
merged with Bluegrass? (Del McCoury+ Steve Earl) at Farm Aid.
The HEA Act of 1965, which is the landmark
access legislation in higher education, certainly was helped along by
the G.I. Bill. I'm sure if I go to the Congressional Record from
1965, I will get plenty of references to the HEA being a G.I. Bill for
everyone. The higher education community certainly thinks they are peas in the same pod.
Most importantly, a 1944 veterans program for higher education
(not K-12) that wasn't designed for access but to help assimilate
G.I.'s back into society is not a great test to see if current K-12
vouchers will lead to excessive regulation.
I think the best way to determine if K-12 vouchers will lead to
excessive regulation is to look at K-12 regulation and other K-12
vouchers. In NC, without vouchers, private and home-school
education already is heavily regulated.
Looking at a K-12 voucher program, like Wisconsin's, also is helpful. This NCPA article
from 1998 lists the endless regulation and intrusion into private
education back then--I have no idea what the regulation is today.
Politics may never be over, but it certainly comes close when
you give the government the legitimate and widely supported excuse to
regulate private education--if our taxdollars are being spent on
education, private or public, taxpayers have the right to know how that
money is being spent (the accountability argument).
risk makes sense when it is calculated and you have a real chance to
win. Vouchers will lead to excessive regulation, probably
immediately. So, this isn't so much a question of political risk,
but a calculation of whether the costs of excessive regulation and
government control are worth it.
Again, I like the "idea" of
vouchers, but any proposal needs to figure out how to prevent, within
reason, the government control problems we've already seen with other
voucher programs, and the problems that exist even in higher education.
I too have some [little] hope that a segment of private education will resist the call of government funds and concomitant control -- but it is likely to be restricted to the same ones who have done so historically. These are they which not only operate the schools from a deeply religious foundation, but whose student body is made up from families with the same worldview in practice -- those who value independence more than tax assistance.
In North Carolina, it was the parents and administrators of the Christian schools which led the fight for regulatory relief in North Carolina during the 1970's, turning out as many as five thousand peaceful demonstrators in the streets of Raleigh while N.C. State Board of Education v. N.C. Christian Schools was in court.
And it's why the colleges which are most known for turning down direct federal student aid are small evangelical schools like Grove City College, not the more establishmentarian Dukes and Wake Forests of higher education.
Obviously it's not universal. There have been sharp divisions in the homeschooling community in neighboring South Carolina and Virginia when choice proposals appeared to threaten their existing freedoms; some are more jealous of their rights than others. And I recently asked a choice proponent from another state about his jurisdiction's requirement that religious schools receiving aid must exempt students from religious instruction. How, then, could they maintain their character as religious institutions? I wondered. He unblinkingly explained that many of those schools (which have excellent reputations for academics and discipline, attracting many students on those bases alone) found the tax funding more attractive than their doctrinal distinctives. Or, I might add, their liberty.
There will always be a faithful remnant, I think, but it reminds me again that the American Revolution was won by a determined and self-sacrificing minority, not an overwhelming popular groundswell of Lockeian principle.
out of Eden, NC reminds me that Huntin' season is here! I haven't
seen these new outfits anywhere, I wouldn't recommend going into the
woods as an ear of corn, because you might get shot, I mean deer are
all over, but a man-sized ear of corn?
Yes--politics is a game of risks. What is unstated is that, unlike entreprenueship in a free market, these risks are not taken by the decision makers. The game of politics is a game of imposing risks on others without their consent. It is about taking risks with other people's property That is why it is an immoral game. It is easy to say, well, regualtion of private schools is just a risk we'll have to take (although I think there is hardly any risk involved. It is probably as close to a certainty as you can get.) No, it is a risk that private school owners and parents who cherish truly private educational institutions will have thrust upon them.
There is no historical evidence that the G.I. Bill was a slippery slope leading to an increase in government involvement in higher education.
None of the legislation of the 1950s, for example, could anticipate the free-for-all 1960s. The timeline you provide lists only five pieces of legislation between the G.I. Bill and the 1958 National Defense Education Act (NDEA). Indeed, the timeline does not note the first Sputnik launch of 1957, which prompted the federal government to pour loads of money into higher education for research and development. Do you really think that the Smith-Mundt Act increased the power of the federal government?
The failure of accrediting agencies did not lead to lower standards in higher education, as the DiLorenzo article argues. After returning from war, G.I. Bill veterans were in no mood to participate in a footloose and fancy free college life. Instead, they were generally studious and serious students that attended reputable institutions. Unfortunately, their children were not serious students.
That being said, I do not want to fall into the jeremiad trap. I do not think that we can repent, escape our perlious future and return to an idealized past. Instead, I agree with Michael - politics is never over. Neither are the political lessons to be learned from the past.
Here are my two cents in the great voucher debate.
Politics is a game of risk. If you are not willing to take a risk, don't play the game.
Politics is never over. Once vouchers, charters, tax deductions, etc are passed the opponents will use every political and legal means possible to destroy them, regulate them, etc.
Politics is also about building political power. Supporters of school choice of all types must be in it for the long run and be willing to build constituencies that will fight to defend and expand the programs. If you don't believe that you can build enough political power to defend and expand them, maybe you should should not pass them in the first place. This also means that creating enough political power to destroy the public school system is also out of the question. You are stuck with the status quo.
As I said at the beginning, politics is a game of risk. If you are not willing to take a risk, don't play the game.
George Will has an excellent article about the feds demanding that local school districts send 65 percent of their money to the classroom and the federal bureaucracy's subversion of this policy. My question is why only 65? Shouldn't it be more like 85 to 95 percent. If you think that is unreasonable, please reread Parkinson's Law.
"The scientific observations which contributed to the law's [Parkinson's] development included noting that as Britain's overseas empire declined in importance, the number of employees at the Colonial Office increased.
According to Parkinson, this is motivated by two forces: (1) "An
official wants to multiply subordinates, not rivals" and (2) "Officials
make work for each other." He also noted that the total of those
employed inside a bureaucracy rose by 5-7% per year "irrespective of any variation in the amount of work (if any) to be done"."
This phony issue is popping up like mushrooms after a heavy rain. Today's Wall Street Journal has a front page article talking about the way Democratic office seekers are trying to create an envy wave that will take them to victory. The article's lead discusses the efforts of NC's Brad Miller to capitalize on "the wealth gap." He says that "wages aren't budging for the majority of Americans."
This tactic only works as long as the pols can keep people thinking in terms of vaguely defined groups, rather than about individuals. "The rich" are supposedly "grabbing" too much income, but does that mean that Bill Gates, to choose a famous example, earned too much last year? Tiger Woods? If people like that haven't done anything wrong, why gripe about their success?
Conversely, "the middle class" is supposedly in a slump with wages that won't budge. Are you saying, Mr. Miller, that no individual in middle income ranges got a raise last year? That's certainly not the case. Are middle class individuals being denied something they're entitled to? If so, exactly how?
And beyond creating a sense of sympathy with people who earn a lot less than he does, what does Miller propose to do? Tax "the rich" more? The government could do that, of course, but why would that do anything to help "the middle class?" Slurping more of the earnings of Gates, Woods, et al into the US Treasury won't make people in the middle class better off. A good argument can be made that it would make at least some of them worse off, as the wealthy now have less to spend and invest.
In his wonderful book Anarachy State and Utopia, the late Robert Nozick pointed out that there are two ways of looking at income distribution. The simple minded way that appeals to many politicians is to adopt an "end state" theory, i.e., that if the distribution of income does not match up with someone's idea of a "fair" distribution, then government needs to intervene to take some away here and give it there. On the other hand, there is the "historical" approach, which asks how the distribution of wealth came about; did individuals get what they have through just or unjust means? As long as Tiger Woods didn't cheat, he's entitled to his winnings.
Miller has evidently concluded that he can get away with this kind of political con artistry. Not many Nozick readers around.