President Obama took part last week in a conference at Georgetown University on Poverty, and appeared on a panel with Harvard social scientist Robert Putnam and AEI president Arthur Brooks, which was billed as a ‘conversation’ on poverty, moderated by the Washington Post’s E.J. Dionne. The president and the moderator managed some quick remarks on how it would take a “miracle” to get GOP leaders to care about the poor.
The problem is that “care” or empathy is defined as spending other people’s money. Yet if the problem is bad schools, more money is the answer only if the problem is caused by a shortage of funds, not if it is caused by poor teachers, or teacher’s unions refusal to get rid of bad teachers.
Mr. Obama felt that financiers, and conservatives were too apt to send their own children to exclusive schools and refuse to give more funding to regular schools. Nobody brought up the fact that both Mr, and Mrs Obama went to exclusive private schools as children and their children attended Sidwell Friends School, the most exclusive in Washington D.C.And President Obama has consistently fought the small amount of money that goes to the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program which has been a lifeline to many poor children to get into exclusive private schools.
If you equate “caring” only with greater spending, you may not be addressing causation at all. Michael Ramirez, with his usual genius for the visual metaphor, manages to capture the essence.
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