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February 24, 2011

NEW CAMPAIGN: Abolish All Federal Education Spending

A SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT for Phoenix area DC Downsizers appears at the end of this message. 

Quote of the Day:  “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” — Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America

The Federal State has no constitutional authority for involvement in education. This alone should be sufficient reason to abolish the Department of Education and all federal education spending. But there are also two other powerful reasons . . .

 * Federal education programs don’t work. Instead, they actually cause harm.
 * The Federal State is headed toward bankruptcy and needs to cut spending.

Statist schools don’t work because they have no incentive to perform adequately. Unlike businesses in the Voluntary Sector of the economy, Statist schools can’t be fired or replaced by the people they supposedly serve.

This is the nature of Statism. It constantly compels the masters (citizens) to serve the servants (politicians and bureaucrats). As a result . . .

You’re now spending more than twice as much for the Feds to meddle with education as taxpayers did in the 1970’s, but student performance hasn’t improved.

Instead, costs have soared. For instance . . .

College tuition has increased at twice the rate of inflation. Federal grants and guaranteed loans that were supposed to make education more affordable, have actually increased costs by enabling colleges to raise their prices. The result is that students are now tens of thousands of dollars in debt when they graduate.

This is par for the course for Statist programs. Consider just two other examples of this phenomenon . . .

 * Federal politicians create lots of schemes. Take Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. These boondoggles were intended to make housing more affordable. The result was housing prices that skyrocketed, then burst, leaving millions of people poorer, and even bankrupt.
 * Other federal schemes like Medicare and Medicaid were supposed to make sick-care more affordable too, but here again the costs have risen far faster than the rate of inflation.

The same thing has happened with education.

We can derive a principle from this . . .

Every time the politicians promise they can make something cheaper by spending more, that “something” becomes more expensive, not less, and we have to carry more debt and pay more taxes on top of it.

This makes the comparison between the Coercive State and the Voluntary Sector very stark.

The Voluntary Sector constantly does more with less, while the Coercive State constantly does less with more. The incentives dictate that it must be this way . . .

 * The Coercive State rewards itself for failure — the worse schools perform the more money the politicians spend on them. This gives Statist institutions an incentive for INcompetence. 
 * But businesses and institutions in the Voluntary Sector have to perform well, or consumers reject them. This gives the Voluntary Sector a powerful bias towards competence.

The conclusion we should draw from this is equally stark . . .

The education of children is too important to be trusted to politicians and bureaucrats. 

We should abolish all federal involvement in schooling.  

The Constitution got it right when it failed to authorize a federal role for education. Schools should be managed at the local level, NOT from the top down. Better yet, schools should work for parents, NOT for teachers unions and the local Statist school board. We need consumer centered education, just like we need consumer centered sick-care.

If you agree, send Congress a letter telling them to abolish all federal education spending. You can use the new campaign we’ve created for this purpose in our Educate the Powerful System.

I included the following points in the personal comments section of my letter to Congress . . .

There is no Constitutional authority for federal involvement in education.

We’re now spending more than twice as much for federal intervention in education as taxpayers did in the 1970’s, but student performance hasn’t improved. http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=12734

College tuition has increased at twice the rate of inflation. Federal grants and guaranteed loans were supposed to make education more affordable. Instead, they’ve enabled colleges to raise their prices. The result is that students are now tens of thousands of dollars in debt when they graduate. http://www.finaid.org/savings/tuition-inflation.phtml  

The Constitution got it right when it failed to authorize a federal role for education. Schools should be managed at the local level, NOT from the top down.

Abolishing all federal education spending would cost us nothing and gain us much. It would bring us in compliance with the Constitution, restore a certain amount of local control to education, and save us about $120 billion a year. http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=12734  

END LETTER

You can help generate thousands of letters to Congress.

If you know others who feel the same way you do about federal intervention in education, or might benefit from the arguments made here, please forward this message to them.

Jim Babka
President
DownsizeDC.org, Inc.

P.S. ATTENTION Phoenix area DC Downsizers. There’s a major Tea Party convention happening from Friday, February 25 at Noon, until Sunday, February 27 at 3 PM. DC Downsizer, Will Wohler is organizing an outreach booth at the event where he will be signing up more DC Downsizers. If you’re available to volunteer at the booth, please contact Will directly at  VolunteerAZ@DownsizeDC.org

If your comment is off-topic for this post, please email us at feedback@downsizedc.org

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