Bureaucratic Stimulus

The  American Recovery  and Reinvestment Act of 2009, otherwise known as the Obama stimulus package to create or save” 3.7 million jobs, was finally introduced in the House of Representatives.

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The Obama Administration has been selling this spending as “building infrastructure,” including roads and bridges.  Unfortunately, much of it will build additional bureaucracy, expand existing federal programs, creating more government jobs and few if any private sector jobs.

A perfect example is $64 Billion earmarked for the Federal Department of Education.

The Department of Education was created during the Carter Administration.  It began operating in 1980 with a budget of $14.6 Billion Dollars.   Since 1980 the budget has increased 83%, after adjusting for inflation, to $68 Billion this year.  Since 1980 the Department has spent  just over a Trillion dollars (inflation adjusted) on programs whose stated purpose was to improve education.

Yet, by every objective measure the quality of public education in America has continuously deteriorated during those 28 years.  If the Department of Education were a business it would have ceased to exist decades ago, because it has utterly failed.

In spite of this dismal performance,  Congressional Democrats determined that the current crisis calls for them to hurl an extra $64 Billion at the department of Education, half to be spent this year and half next year.  The legislation even mandates spending on the same, existing programs that have already proved ineffective for 28 years.

This amounts to a 47% increase in funding for existing programs, for two years.  So what will happen as the second year draws to a close?  The teacher unions, the education bureaucracy will warn hysterically of a looming, “catastrophic” cut in funds for education…for the children!  And how will the Congress and President Obama react?  They’ll make these increases permanent.

If President Obama were serious about actually improving education, rather than paying off the teacher union and expanding existing, failed programs, he could provide $8,000 vouchers, enough to pay full tuition in a quality private school, to 12.5 million students.  To put that number in perspective, there are approximately 10.5 million students attending schools in the 100 largest school districts in America.

3 Comments so far

  1. Gabriel on January 23rd, 2009

    Another ignorant conservative who knows nothing about education.

    This idea that you can improve education by taking money away from schools and passing it out in the form of vouchers has been proven illogical many times.

    This is really simple. Education will get better when the politicians stop trying to do it on the cheap and finally budget enough money to pay for it.

    You should applaud Obama’s commitment to our schools and hope this extra money is just a down payment.

    Conservatives want to improve the army by spending more. They think they can make a dumb CEO start to do a better job by paying him even more than the millions and millions he already gets. But they think they can improve education by spending less. Why is that?

  2. Sarah Livingston on January 23rd, 2009

    Talk about ignorant!

    Education spending always grows. It goes up every year. Teachers in Chicago get paid over $70,000 and the kids still can’t even read! Instead Obama’s buddy Bill Ayres fills their heads full of communist mush.

    Parents have to home school our kids even though we pay thousands in school taxes.

  3. aaa again on January 23rd, 2009

    Gabriel –

    Any objective measure demonstrates that per student funding for education has increased dramatically. And…many private schools do a much better job than public schools with less per pupil. The argument you make: more money, has been made for years. But despite large increases there has been no improvement.

    Clearly, money is not the answer.

    “Conservatives want to improve the army by spending more.”

    No, they observe that if we are to request that our fighting men and women go to battle for us they have the best equipment and training available. Juxtaposing a life or death situation with a bloated education beaurocracy is ghoulish.

    “They think they can make a dumb CEO start to do a better job by paying him even more than the millions and millions he already gets.”
    No, a conservative would say that is the decision and choice of the owners of the business, and not a govt ort taxpayer issue.

    “But they can improve education by spending less. Why is that?”

    Because the empirical evidence indicates so.