Thursday, October 22, 2009

That is an expensive cow!

If there is a sacred cow in politics, it is publically funded education. You can’t hardly go wrong, Democrat or Republican, by promising to work to improve education, make education a priority, put kids first, make American workers competitive, or any of the myriad of slogans used in stump speeches by aspiring politicians of both parties. All of these lofty promises and noble goals boil down to one thing: more Federal spending on education. In general, spending on education is never discussed of whether to increase or decrease the levels. That is true of virtually all government spending but nowhere more than education. “What about the children!” is the wail anytime we fail to increase spending as much as the education establishment demands of us and with its voracious appetite it asks for more money a lot.

Time to let the facts intrude rudely on the political reality: Federal spending appears to have little or no impact on student achievement.

Check out this chart from the CATO Institute. What it demonstrates is that in spite of the enormous increases in Federal spending on “education”, virtually no improvement has been achieved.

To borrow a term from liberal moonbat (and inventor of the internet) Al Gore, this is an inconvenient truth. Federal spending on education has essentially no impact on student achievement. So what exactly are we getting for our spending at the Department of Education? Well, in return for a measly budget of $68,000,000,000 we get about 4,200 employees of the Federal government that…well, I am not sure what they do. I know they aren’t teaching kids. The DoE is the perfect government agency. It doesn’t do anything, has a vague mission statement and is absolutely immune from being cut. Let’s look at the big picture of Federal education spending, also courtesy of the fine folks at CATO:

We’ve spent $1.8 trillion on hundreds of different federal education programs since 1965, and guess what: at the end of high school, test scores are flat in both reading and math since 1970, and have actually declined slightly in science. (Charted for your viewing pleasure here).

That is pretty awesome. $1.8 trillion for have basically no impact or perhaps even a negative impact. That is impressive. Just think what these folks could do with the health care system and 1/6 of the U.S. economy!

If President Obama is looking for places to fund his socialized medicine, er, health care reform scheme, he could dismantle the Department of Education and save almost $70 billion right out of the gate. The new socialized medicine bureaucracy could move into the building. Better yet, they could just change the name on the building and leave the staff there.

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