Friday, December 9, 2016

December, 2016, Part 4, Poltiical Class Insanity: Under Educating Our Kids, MInimum Wage Fallacies, and Corruption in Minnesota

It has been almost a month since Donald Trump has been elected which means at some point in the future we may run out of material to talk about. With the demise of the Obama administration, eight years worth of wasteful and excessive spending for nothing in return, foreign affairs blunders, Obama Care disasters, and assorted other administration and government blunders and screwups might end with the onset of a new administration. Trump may usher in a new paradigm of government actions that are limited, effective, cost efficient, and protective of the Constitution. If so, then this blog would run out of material to discuss and would have to be shut down.

But I doubt it. Even if Trump is truly a different type of President, he is still fighting over 500 embedded and entrenched politicians in Congress and thousands and thousands of government bureaucrats who will not go peacefully into the night for the good of the country. I wish him well and hopefully he can fix at least some of the myriad of problems the American political class creates everyday but until then, enjoy the latest political class insanity from Washington and beyond:

1) We have often discussed the reality of how poorly our public schools educate our kids despite having spent trillions of dollars over the past few decades pumping money into our public schools. On standardized testing processes, U.S. kids usually end up behind dozens of other countries’ kids when those tests are graded. And every year, the Federal Department of Education is given a budget worth tens of billions of dollars and nothing ever changes with respect to how well our kids are educated.

Einstein once said that, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” This is particularly true as it applies to the American political class and how it has spent our education dollars over the years: more and more money being spent and test results never getting better.

But it does not have to be that way if only the political class worked for our kids’ benefits and not the campaign donations they get from teachers’ unions: 

  • The November, 2016 issue of Reason magazine showed how charter schools in Colorado prove that there is a better way to educate our kids.
  • A Colorado Department of Education study found that charter schools have a more diverse population, students in the state’s charter schools do better on tests, and those higher education levels are attained at less cost than traditional public schools.
  • More impressively, Colorado charter school’s students tested higher than EVERY other state’s overall 8th graders in math and were 11 points higher than the nearest state’s schools.
  • Hispanic charter students outscored their peers in all other states except for three. 
  • The Colorado charter students also outperformed just about every other states’ test scores in 8th grade reading.
There are better ways to spend our taxpayer dollars and Colorado proved it. To bad the Einstein theory still binds today’s politicians to the same failed approach of public education in our country today.

For another example of where changing the way to educate our kids is working despite the political class, please go to the following post:

2) Politicians, especially Democrats and liberals, think they know a lot about economics. But as we have pointed out many times in this blog, most of their economic programs depress growth, over regulate businesses, and raise costs for all products and services. 

But Democrats think that raising the minimum wage level at the Federal level will cure poverty and make everyone happy and wealthy. They obviously do not understand the basics of supply and demand, as witnessed by a recent article by Boston Globe writer Jeff Jacoby:

  • A University Of Washington study found that when Seattle raised the minimum wage to $15 an hour it created an “unintended, negative side effects in hours and unemployment, “ i.e. available hours for working went down while unemployment went up.
  • A similar raise in the minimum wage in Washington, DC caused Walmart to not open two planned stores in the city, costing the city’s citizens hundreds of potential job opportunities.
  • DC restaurants experienced a decrease 1,400 jobs in the first half of 2016, the biggest drop in 15 years despite a slowly growing economy, likely the result of a higher minimum wage.
The reality is that politicians meddling in the economy usually results in fewer jobs at lower earning rates, the data available proves this fact of life and economics. And yet, they continue to push for policies that do the exact opposite of what they think they know: raising the minimum wage to $15 makes no difference if there are no jobs available at the $15 dollar level. Insanity.

3) A recent article by Deadspin writer Kevin Draper proves again that corruption and unethical behavior is not restricted to Washington, that local and state politicians can be just as bad. But first a little background:

  • The NFL’s Minnesota Vikings football team franchise recently moved into a brand new arena.
  • Local taxpayers were forced to put up half a billion dollars to build it and pay for it.
  • It will take the local taxpayers about 28 years to pay off the bonds used to finance the half a billion dollars.
  • The entire process is controlled and operated by a five person agency called the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority.
  • These five Authority members are appointed by the governor and the mayor of Minneapolis.
We won’t even get into the insanity that taxpayers were forced to pay for an NFL building (keeping in mind that the NFL in total has annual revenues approaching a whopping $10 billion a year) but that most of them will never be able to afford to get into to see a Vikings game. Let’s focus on the perks that local and state politicians have granted their friends and themselves relative to this scheme:

  • The five Authority members get to use two luxury suites in the new arena for free, suites that usually sell for between $200,00 and $300,000.
  • Use of the suites includes free food and often free parking at the arena.
  • The use of the suites and free food can be used by the members to give to friends and family.
  • These are not small suites, each can hold up to 18 friends and family members of the Authority members.
  • It appears that many local state politicians attended some games for free while using the suites, putting them in violation of gift ethics rules.
  • Some politicians paid for the use of the suites AFTER a local newspaper investigation revealed that they had not paid for the suite sue prior to attending a game, i.e. they had been caught with their hand in the cookie jar.
As always, corruption with public officials who take care of themselves and their friends, sticking the taxpayer for the bill, whether at a local football game or in Washington.

That will do it for today’s insanity: corruption at the local political level, minimum wage insanity, and the continuing failure to properly educated our kids despite proof that it can be done and be done less expensively. More insanity tomorrow.

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