Monday, July 15, 2013
Guest Post by Crabby Old Man
I have long favored decentralized government rather than the larger, centralized one favored by the political left. I’d say that the history of the schools is an example supporting the idea that small and decentralized is better.
The Federal involvement in running the schools started gathering steam in the 1960s. Prior to that, schools were funded and controlled at the state and local level, with the local school board looming very large in the scheme of things.
Does anyone think that the cost of schools has not increased very dramatically since the 1960s? Does anyone think that the ratio of administrators and other staff people has not greatly increased relative to classroom teachers? Does anyone think that the average level of student achievement has improved in proportion to the increased cost? Most importantly, does anyone think that student achievement has improved at all? HOW MANY THINK THAT STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT HAS ACTUALLY DIMINISHED?
I did not provide sources. There is a lot of material available. I thought it much simpler for those who do not agree to say so and provide the sources that support their position.
I can think of other examples of why one should be extremely skeptical of larger and more intrusive government generally. For one thing, there is mission creep. For another, the programs NEVER go away. Here are a couple of examples:
First Example: Income Taxes
In response, Congress proposed the Sixteenth Amendment (ratified by the requisite number of states in 1913)…
This should caution anyone listening to an argument that the cost of whatever will be borne only by the “rich” who can easily afford it. It will be “free” to everyone else. Note that the 2013 tax rate for the lowest category is higher than the 1913 rate for the richest category, and has been since 1941.
Second Example: Farm Price Supports
“In other words, consumers are paying $1,650 in order to benefit producers $550. For this reason, price supports are considered inefficient.”
This Source together with this Source illustrate how good intentions can create very costly government dependent constituencies that NEVER go away.