Saturday, November 26, 2005

Republican rip-off

Rep. Pete Starks (D-CA) makes some forceful arguments against the Republican budget cuts/tax cuts in an In These Times editorial:

Since 2002, Republican budgets have cut nearly 7,000 slots for children in low-income families to receive Head Start services. These cuts were made despite studies demonstrating that Head Start children are more likely to graduate from high school and are less likely to repeat a grade. Head Start students are also less likely to commit a crime than low-income children who do not attend Head Start. But such empirical findings mean little to a party that prefers its policies based on faith.

After slashing Head Start budgets, it seems only logical for Republicans to next target poor mothers with children under 6 years old. A recent Republican budget proposal would require these mothers to double their weekly work hours from 20 to 40 in order to remain eligible for job training and vocational education. Yet that plan fails to provide $10.5 billion for childcare funding that the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimated would be needed for mothers to afford to work the longer hours and maintain their benefits. The blatant hypocrisy would be comical if it weren’t true.

As our children—unprepared for the challenges they’ll face—reach public schools, they will get less help than ever before. After taking credit for “No Child Left Behind” (NCLB), President Bush and his Republican allies wasted no time in underfunding the Act, thereby ensuring schools could not meet new, stricter achievement standards. As of June 2005, the House Republicans have shortchanged public schools by $40 billion since the passage of the much-lauded NCLB law. At the same time, yearly progress tests created by NCLB to determine if individual students are improving in math and reading show almost a quarter of schools failing to show improvement on state student tests.

If those weren’t enough obstacles to place in front of our children, the Republicans want to force the average student borrower to pay an additional $5,800 for college. The single most effective springboard to a well-paying job is a college degree. So, this year the Republicans are proposing $14.3 billion in cuts to federal student aid programs.


It is clear that children and young people are the biggest losers in the Republican raid of the Treasury. If you're a parent, or a kid, or someone who cares about kids, you should be pissed.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Malcolm Kirkpatrick said...

Education at the Brink writes: "It is clear that children and young people are the biggest losers in the Republican raid of the Treasury. If you're a parent, or a kid, or someone who cares about kids, you should be pissed."

Is it really so clear? Americans of any party affiliation can find something to dislike about the policies of the Bush administration, but the same could be said about any administration, or anyone. I don't even argee with me 100%.

All activity takes place in the present. The past is a memory and the future is a dream. Perhaps the policies of the Bush administration will blight the future of today's kids, but this is hardly axiomatic.

Maintaining a process is an end in itself. It is useful to weigh any suggested change in a curent process, including the venue, as well as the result of any policy proposal. As an example: I am more pro-abortion than anyone I know, aside from Chinese population planners, yet I believe that the Supreme Court overstepped its authority in the Griswald and Roe v Wade cases. The cost in damage to the legal process outweighed the benefit of enhanced access to contraception and abortion. People who care about federalism might applaud cuts to the Head Start budget, however misty-eyed they get about kids. It may sound quaint to make this argument in an era of Federal minimum wage laws, drug laws, etc., but where is the constitutional authority
for any Federal role in the education business?

Unless an industry exhibits significant economies of scale (education and child care do not), the argument for government intrusion (beyond enforcement of everyday contract law) must rely on "public goods", "tragedy of the commons" or "free rider" considerations. The argument also must be made for every transfer of authority from one level (family, township, county, State, Congress) to another.

Aggregation of authority and resources for some program (e.g., pre-school Head Start care) at the Federal level might, in some stripped-down theory, avoid "free rider" and "tragedy of the commons" problems, where one State's taxpayers get the benefits of other State's investments, but a more sophisticated theory would consider the new "tragedy of the commons" problems --created-- by aggregation of resources (e.g., who oversees the revenue stream?, what prevents recipients of the single Federal revenue stream from becoming a parasitic, self-dealing interest group?). Aggregation of authority and resources at the Federal level creates a new information problem
as well: without the information provided by a range of ongoing programs which would occur in an unsubsidized free market or in 50 individual State programs, how do Federal planners improve their program? A single country-wide program is like an experiment with one treatment and no controls; a poor experimental design.

7:01 AM  

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