Filed under: Bureaucracy, Domestic Policy, Economics, Education, Freedom, History, Law, Media Bias, Politics, Progressivism, Regulation, The United States | Tags: Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Falling Behind, Our Public Schools
America’s new Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos gave her first big policy speech last Wednesday, and you probably didn’t hear about it. The media wasn’t interested and barely covered it. There is a lot of opposition to Secretary DeVos, largely from the teacher’s unions.
She spoke at the Brookings Institute, and said”We must change the way we think about funding education and instead invest in children, not in buildings.”
There is no perfect, one-size-fits-all system of education: A magnet school is not inherently better than a traditional school, nor is education at a private school inherently better than education at a charter school.
Similarly, there is no one delivery mechanism of education choice: Open enrollment, tax credits, home schools, magnets, charters, virtual schools, education savings accounts and choices not yet developed all have their place, but no single one of these is always the right delivery method for each child.
Policymakers at every level of government would do well to maintain a humble acknowledgement of these facts. Let’s put aside the politics of the adults and actually focus on what will best serve kids.
And that’s what brings us here today. Too much of the conversation on education loses sight of the thing that matters most: the individual child. This report sheds light on how districts are providing choices and information to parents and opportunities to students.
In the real world today, every problem with the schools is claimed to be the result of not enough money. Whether it’s your kid being bullied, not learning to read, the choice of textbooks, the quality of the teacher, the remedy is more money for the schools—which doesn’t seem to change anything.
The two school districts that score highest arrive at the high score by different paths. New Orleans provides a wide range of choices to parents —all of its schools are charters (and it’s important to note that charter schools are public schools) and there are vouchers available for a good supply of affordable private schools.
Denver scored well because they have a single application process for both charter and traditional public schools, and a website that allows parents to make side-by-side comparison of schools. The choices, however, are limited.
You can read the whole speech here, and if you are a parent of kids in school, you will want to, and the rest of us who pay the taxes that funds all this would be advised to pay attention too.
When my kids were growing up, we moved a lot, and the kids went to the school in the district where we lived. We didn’t have any real choice, and some teachers were good and some weren’t so good, and we tried to make up at home for whatever seemed to be missing.
If Secretary DeVos can get across her point that the purpose of this whole thing is not to enrich teacher’s unions and politicians, but to give kids an education that is right for them and makes the most of their abilities, we will have won a major battle. It’s no wonder the unions don’t appreciate her. The schools should not be run by politicians in Washington, but by parents and their children. There is no one-size-fits-all education, and what’s right for your kid many not be what was right for mine.
Filed under: Bureaucracy, Crime, Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Economy, Immigration, Law, Media Bias, Mexico, National Security, Politics, The United States | Tags: A Law Enforcement Matter, Border Security, Illegal Immigration
Activists portray illegal immigration solely as a human story of the desperately poor from south of the border fleeing misery to start new, productive lives in the U.S. — despite exploitation and America’s nativist immigration laws. (Victor Davis Hanson)
We see the marches and the signs —No Human is Illegal—which is nonsense. Words have meanings, and neither wishful thinking nor activist cash get to redefine them. We are a nation of laws. We have specific immigration laws, which during the Obama administration were set aside and ordered to be unenforced. Mexico has a continuing interest in failing to pay any attention to the reasons why their citizens don’t seem to want to come home, amounting to around $25 billion in remittances sent from citizens who are working in America, and often subsidized by U.S. social benefits.
The Democratic party is also invested in illegal immigration, worried that its current agendas cannot win in the Electoral College without new constituents who appreciate liberal support for open borders and generous social services.
In contrast, classically liberal, meritocratic, and ethnically diverse immigration might result in a disparate, politically unpredictable set of immigrants.
Its a complex, difficult problem. It is probably impossible to remove all illegal aliens. When you get to the “Dreamers” those who were brought to this country when they were little children who have never known any other country, empathy kicks in and we are unlikely to deport them. Victor Davis Hanson is an important voice, for he has grown up in an agricultural area of California where legal and illegal immigrants are a significant portion of the population.
The Center for Immigration Studies (cis.org) is a think tank dealing with facts and answers on immigration problems. Here is Jessica M.Vaughan’s testimony about “Restoring Enforcement of Our Nation’s Immigration Laws” before the subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, March 28. It’s an excellent overview of where we are and where we’ve been, where is our strength and our weakness. And what should be Congress’ priorities, what about public safety and illegal hiring.
CIS has also made it clear that there is a cost for illegal immigrants. NAS, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine have estimated the average cost to taxpayers of illegal immigrants. NAS estimates that one illegal immigrant costs state and local governments approximately $75,000 in a lifetime—taking into account taxes paid and the cost of providing benefits such as education and health care. If a portion of the population of illegal aliens were stopped, around 9 to 12 percent, the wall would pay for itself.
The number of illegal immigrants crossing from Mexico declined by 40 percent from January to February. Customs and Border Protection normally sees a 10 to 20 percent increase in those months. An Executive Order to enforce immigration laws has made a difference.
Andrew McCarthy, who is a former assistant Federal U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York simply believes that in most cases, illegal aliens who are encountered in the course of ordinary law enforcement operations should be detained and deported. Willpower and resolve that put the burden on straightforward law enforcement rather than the political fortunes of politicians will solve most problems.
It will take some willpower from Congress. President Trump is requesting bids on construction of the wall. Mexico has a wall on their southern border, complete with guard towers. You may find it amusing that the first thing former President Obama did when contemplating the move into their rented mansion in a tony section of the nation’s capitol, was to build a wall around the new house.
Filed under: Capitalism, Crime, Freedom, Law, Media Bias, Politics, Progressivism, The Constitution | Tags: Justice, Kamala Harris, Neil Gorsuch
Kamala Harris is the new junior California U.S. Senator, replacing Barbara Boxer. She recently published an op-ed explaining why she would not vote to confirm Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. She had previously held office as California’s Attorney General, so her failure to understand the Law is truly shocking. In a tweet she said:
“Judge Gorsuch has consistently valued legalisms over real lives. I won’t support his nomination. “
“In other words, Harris has problems with Gorsuch because he believes in the rule of law and wants to follow the U.S. Constitution.
Her actual op-ed was also a real treat. After stating Gorsuch was impressive, she offers the same trite and thin analysis of his rulings that has been provided by progressive, social justice advocates.”
…The rest of Judge Gorsuch’s record also shows he’s willing to favor corporations over the American people. He believes companies can impose their religious views on employees and deny women birth-control coverage. And he has been hostile toward federal agencies that protect American workers and consumers.
Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, the civil rights hero who argued Brown and inspired my career, once bluntly defined his judicial philosophy, saying, “You do what you think is right and let the law catch up.” In simple terms, Justice Marshall appreciated that the ultimate goal of the law was justice. By stark contrast, Judge Gorsuch has consistently valued narrow legalisms over real lives. I must do what’s right. I cannot support his nomination.
Senator Harris has the frequent Leftist approach to the law, which is giving us so much trouble. The law is not about feelings, nor empathy, nor sympathy, nor pity. There’s a reason for the symbol of “Lady Justice.”
Lady Justice is the symbol of the judiciary. She carries three symbols of the rule of law: a sword symbolizing the court’s coercive power, scales representing the weighing of competing claims, and a blindfold indicating impartiality. This particular representation says:
Justice is the end of government. It is the end of civilized society. It ever has been, ever will be pursued until it be obtained or until liberty be lost in the pursuit.
The judicial oath required of every federal judge and justice says “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I…will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me… under the Constitution and laws of the United States, so help me God.
As I wrote back in 2015—
“Empathy” is the word that has caused so much concern. For empathy has no place in jurisprudence. Federal judges swear an oath to administer justice without respect to persons. If they are to feel more partial to the “young teenage mom,” the “disabled,” the “African-American,” the “gay,” the “old,” then they are not and cannot be impartial, and the rule of law counts for nothing. The “depth and breadth of one’s empathy” is exactly what the judicial oath insists that judges renounce. That impartiality is what guarantees equal protection under the law.
That is what the blindfold is all about.
Nobody said it is easy.
Filed under: Bureaucracy, Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Economics, Free Markets, Freedom, Health Care, Law, Politics, Progressivism, Regulation, Taxes | Tags: Administrative State, Free Market Capitalism, The American Health Care Act
The Republican bill to take a tiny poke at fixing ObamaCare went nowhere. They didn’t have the votes—largely because the bill didn’t do much of anything. Everything you need to know about ObamaCare can be summed up in one quotation from Thomas Sowell.
to administer it.
Aside from affordability, federal government bureaucrats have no idea how to manage or control or supply health care. Every attempt by government to do health care has ended in disaster. The federal government cannot do VA health care, and veterans die while waiting to be seen. Indian health care is a disaster. Even the FDA is a disaster. Over regulated and over controlled.
Medicare was built on the idea that a growing population meant that if each generation paid in for the smaller generation that came before, then Medicare would go along smoothly with the old folks always cared for. This is usually called a Ponzi scheme. Nobody planned on the baby boomers. They are a huge generation beginning to retire, and Medicare is going broke, because the next generations are not larger. Oooops!
The Democrats devised all sorts of things that they thought would make their health care plan work better, and all sorts of regulations that they thought would save money, and all sorts of requirements that they thought would make people like the program better, and they lied about their basic purpose. Their basic purpose was to initiate a Single Payer Plan. But not because it would provide better care.
The British have a single payer plan in the National Health Service. The people get taxed and they get free health care. And the reason that it was the Democrats’ basic purpose was because the British people were so afraid of losing their health care that they always voted for keeping it, and for the Labour Party who promised that they could keep it. Unfortunately it doesn’t work, and the government keeps making new regulations to cut costs, and old folks die from neglect, and dehydration, and dirty sheets and infection, and long lines of ambulances line up at hospitals waiting for a vacant bed for the next patient. That’s Single Payer.
Here at home, the ideas that were behind all the regulation and requirements that they thought would save money didn’t, because Democrats do not understand the free market—that’s why they are Democrats. And because they do not understand the free market and competition, their bureaucrats had no idea how to devise plans that worked, and they didn’t even know how to get people to sign up, nor how to get enough insurance companies competing to bring costs down. Being Democrats, they assumed that insurance companies were evil (Capitalists) without any understanding that insurance companies have a lot of expertise in devising insurance, and with all insurance companies competing, there’s a lot of demand to be efficient, to create policies that work for consumers, to figure out how to keep prices down so the other insurance companies can’t take their business away. That’s how the free market works.
The Republicans said they had been working on a replacement for 8 months, but we have been stuck with a failing and unworkable ObamaCare for 7 years.
We are going to have to pay for most of the little stuff ourselves, with help for those who cannot care for themselves, and remember just what insurance really is. Insurance is meant to protect you from the big disasters, not the little things.Your car insurance protects you when someone runs into you and wrecks your car. Your homeowner insurance protects you when you have a kitchen fire or a broken pipe that floods the house. Health insurance should protect you when you break your leg, or find a cancer, or need immediate surgery, not buy your tampons or pay for your immunizations.
And if you devise a new health care plan for the people, you’d better damn well make sure that every member of Congress and the bureaucracy has to deal with exactly the same system.
Filed under: Bureaucracy, Capitalism, Crime, Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Economy, Education, Law, Politics, Progressivism, Taxes | Tags: Ranks Deadl Last, The Golden State, Worst State for Business
The newly-created McGee Report from Fayetteville State University is an annual report on the Best and Worst States for Business. “The fifty states are ranked based on the extent to which they facilitate business creation and expansion. This study incorporated the data collected from five other studies, which included the examination of hundreds of variables. Utah was found to be the most business friendly state; California was least business friendly. States that voted Republican in the 2016 presidential election tended to be more business friendly than states that voted Democratic.” Social justice at work.
Reading the comments is almost as much fun as the list. The commenters seem to be mostly Californian. In San Francisco, you can rent a bunk bed, sharing a room with several others for $1,200 a month. The place packs in 25 people and rent runs from $1,250 to $1,900.
Three Democrat representatives have introduced a bill that would punish any contractors who dare to work on the border wall by withdrawing any investments in their companies by state-controlled pension funds.
California’s boondoggle bullet train was initially budgeted at $32 billion and the price tag is now up to $68 billion (which the taxpayers are on the hook for), and the initial stretch of track, the easiest to build part of the entire 700 mile route is now $10 billion, and not a single mile has been laid. Just seven years behind schedule. The governor is begging for help, but the Trump Department of Transportation has put the brakes on. Jerry Brown’s California suffers the nation’s highest housing prices, largest percentage of people in or near poverty of any state and an exodus of middle-income, middle-aged people. Job growth is increasingly concentrated in low-wage sectors.
The state is the front line for Sanctuary Cities, is zealously fighting natural climate change, their schools are lousy, and they are the worst state in the country for their business climate. Good on social justice though.
Do take a look at the charts. Besides the McGee rankings, it includes the ranking from Forbes, Tax Foundation, Institute for Legal Reform and the Cato Institute. If you scroll down through the comments you will come to one gentleman who did read the whole thing, including how the rankings were calculated — who actually lives in California, and wishes he didn’t. I’ve lived in both the Bay Area and in Southern California, and couldn’t wait to leave.