American Elephants

To Fix The Schools You Have To Stop the Machine! by The Elephant's Child

One constant theme on the campaign trail is always education. People care deeply about the education their kids are getting, and about education in general.  Often, people think education in general is dreadful, but are fond of their own school.

That gets into the “likeability factor” where you think your kid’s teacher is really nice, but don’t really have all that much information about what your kids are really learning. As a parent, I am sure I have communicated the really important things , but then the subject comes up and you discover they are clueless. I believe I have just suggested a big reason for home schooling.

International test scores show that our kids are not doing well, as does any trip to a fast-food place. There’s a reason why cash registers total everything for the clerk and tell them how much change to give back. They have enough trouble figuring out how many of which coins you need to make 39¢.

Everybody has an opinion about education. We have all experienced something close to 12 years of schooling at least, so we have first hand knowledge. and if we have become parents and sent our own children off the school, we are apt to be opinionated. Politicians are clear. The answer is to spend more money on education.

Stanford economist Eric Hanushek as shown that better-educated students contribute substantially to economic growth. If U.S. students could catch up with the math performance of their Canadian counterparts, it would add roughly $70 trillion to the U.S. economy over the next 80 years.

Obama wants an army of new teachers, and a federal government curriculum, and federal control. My response is easy: 1) Washington DC schools are usually rated as the worst in the country— and the capitol city spends $30,000 per pupil.  2) Since 1970, the public school workforce has doubled, to 5.4 million from 3.3 million, and two-thirds of those new hires are teachers or teachers’ aides. Enrollment over the same period has grown only 8.5 %. Employment has grown 11 times faster than enrollment. We have too many teachers.

You know what the problem is. We all know. Republicans want to encourage charter schools (which are public schools) but the innovation underway will change schools as we know them anyway, and that’s online education. Long way to go, but the potential is clearly there.

As David Gelernter says:

Where is the politician who’s willing to say that this nation demands public schools and public colleges without political bias, without anti-American bias, without anti-Jewish or anti-Christian bias? That this nation demands public schools and colleges whose first mission is to produce patriotic American citizens, who know who they are — who know their own history and culture, the history and literature and culture of this country and this Western civilization that belongs to them, that will stand or fall based on their stewardship of the future?

We make a big deal about bigotry and bias in this nation, and it’s right we should; but it’s crazy to ignore the biggest bigotry engine in the nation today, the US Education Establishment — our school systems and text books and some — not all, but too many — of our school teachers and college professors.

How Do We Fix The Economy? Let’s Outlaw Profit! by The Elephant's Child

The world’s manufacturers have fallen back into recession.  A key gauge of factory output shrank in August to its lowest point since July 2009 — to 49.6.  A reading below 50 is considered recessionary and the index has been below that key level three months in a row. The reason is the U.S. manufacturing sector.

Manufacturing  is mostly done by small to midsize companies, but due to a raft of new regulations under Dodd-Frank financial reforms, those businesses are struggling to get financing. But if they do get funds — under ObamaCare any company with more than 50 employees will pay steep penalties to insure its workers. So many will put off new investments and curb hiring plans to avoid higher costs. And they don’t know what other regulations may be coming down the pike. In Obama’s first term, manufacturers were hit with an average of 72 new regulations a year, an increase of 60% from the Bush era.

In this sluggish economy, factory output remains 4.7% below where it was when we entered the recession.

The United States took the top spot in the WEF’s Global Competitiveness Report as recently as 2007 and 200, but dropped to 2nd place in 2009, and now we have dropped to 7th place.  The business community is critical toward public and private institutions, and it’s trust in politicians is not strong (54th). Business leaders remain concerned about the government’s ability to maintain arm’s-length relationships with the private sector (59th) and consider that the government spends its resources relatively wastefully (76th). A lack of macroeconomic stability is the country’s greatest area of weakness (111th, down from 90th last year). We do beat Portugal though. The U.S. is 76th in the burden of government regulation behind Kenya and Thailand.

Here’s one reason why we find ourselves in this position. Peter Schiff posed as an anti-business crusader, and found a significant number of DNC delegates and attendees who support explicitly outlawing profit.  These are not the occupy people camping outside, but Democrats at their own convention.

Schiff is CEO of Euro Pacific Capital Inc, a broker-dealer in Westport, CT, and Euro Pacific Precious Metals LLC, a gold and silver dealer based in New York.

If people don’t have the most basic understanding of how the world works, no wonder…

The Alternate Reality of the Democratic Convention: by The Elephant's Child

The Democratic convention is — strange. The national debt has reached $16 trillion, and nobody mentions it. They are unwillingly forced to put God and Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, back into the platform from which it was excluded, and the conventioneers — Boo!

The head of NARAL argued that being allowed to have free abortions on demand is the high point of the American dream. A woman whose only claim to fame is demanding that taxpayers pay for free birth control pills at a fake Congressional appearance, becomes a featured speaker, to announce that Paul Ryan would have women die on the slab in the emergency room. A Democratic congresswoman from Colorado, Diana DeGette, said Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan “want to make women second-class citizens again.” A nun, Sister Simone Campbell, described the Ryan budget as “immoral.” Conventioneers were abundantly pro-choice, but outside of abortion, not so much:

Julian Castro, the “charismatic” mayor of San Antonio, mocked the “magical” free markets that gave America 25 years of a soaring economy, and unmatched prosperity. Three speakers were billed as “former employees of companies controlled by Bain Capital.” Unfortunately they didn’t learn anything from Joe Soptic and the fake Republican women, and  David Foster, supposedly one of those former employees — never worked for a company controlled by Bain Capital. He worked for United Steelworkers as a union organizer.

There were all sorts of interesting claims, for example, that the auto bailout was paid back. That the president had created 4.5 million new jobs (5.1 million have been lost). The real net gain is only about 300,000 over the entire Obama administration. That the Romney-Ryan  Medicare plan would cost seniors $6,400 a year and force them into “voucher programs.” Debbie Wasserman Schulz claimed that Michael Oren, the Israeli ambassador had said that Republican plans would be damaging to Israel, and angrily denied that she said any such thing, although she had unfortunately been recorded saying just that. There’s a choice, Democrats said,  between unity and growth — and they opt for unity, and the heck with growth.

But they do care about the debt, it’s just that they’re fairly clueless.

What are the poor convention attendees to think when business is demonized, Wall Street is supposed to have caused the financial crisis, and the best remedies for unemployment are said to be more unemployment benefits and more food stamps.  It’s that old mistaken Keynesian idea that there is a recession because of a lack of demand, and food stamps and unemployment benefits are spent quickly and flow out into the economy where they have a “multiplier effect” that somehow does magical something-or-other which turns a dollar into a dollar and a half. It makes it really hard to get the economy growing again when people think like that.

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