econscius

ObamaCare Kickoff! By How Much Will My Insurance Rates Drop?

In Uncategorized on September 30, 2013 at 11:48 pm

It’s a cool evening in Illinois.  I’m sitting here on the cold, metal stadium seating, typing by backlight of a laptop.  ObamaCare kicks off in less than an hour!  And perhaps the Federal Government partly shuts down.  Assuming he’s still on the team payroll at midnight, when the President steps forward, will he sky the pigskin to the seats?  Or will it be a squib kick, bouncing a few times before dying? 

Back in 2010, Obama promised I’d be able to keep my plan if I like it, keep my doctor, and my premiums would drop.  I’m so excited!  In just a few minutes, assuming the Illinois ObamaCare website actually works, I’ll see how much I will save!  Yes, there are many ‘glitches’ with the roll-out.  If I, say, wanted Spanish language enrollment in Nevada, mala suerte… hasta Thanksgiving.  Small business plans?  Oops, check back some other time.  But, here in this ‘blue’ wonderland we call Illinois, government healthcare looks as unstoppable as a three hundred pound lineman.

Check back for the latest in health care savings… brought to you by ObamaCare!

Only “Bad People” Send Their Kids To Private School?

In Education on August 30, 2013 at 12:20 am

Ignorance is bliss if your name is Allison Benedikt.  Courtesy of a “terrible public school”, the Salon writer wrote:

I left home woefully unprepared for college, and without that preparation, I left college without having learned much there either. You know all those important novels that everyone’s read? I haven’t. I know nothing about poetry, very little about art, and please don’t quiz me on the dates of the Civil War. I’m not proud of my ignorance. But guess what the horrible result is? I’m doing fine. I’m not saying it’s a good thing that I got a lame education. I’m saying that I survived it, and so will your child, who must endure having no AP calculus so that in 25 years there will be AP calculus for all. [1]

True, a poor education doesn’t have to hold you back.  Ask Joe Biden.  

Her piece is aimed at the rich or upper-middle class person who sends their child to private schools to escape bad public education.  That means you, Matt Damon.  And you, Barrack Obama, Bill Clinton, et al.   Benedickt actually argues you should sacrifice your children’s future, because if no one sent their kids to public schools, you’ll, “freak out a little more than my parents did—enough to get involved.”  She says it may take a few generations (!), but eventually, public schools will have to improve.  You can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs!  Your children are not really your concern; sacrifice them for the greater good!

She misunderstands competition.  Communist countries offered horrific products and horrible service because the customer had nowhere else to go to.   What companies are better known for their service: monopolies like utilities or companies in highly competitive industries like restaurants?  As lousy as the Chicago Public Schools are, surely they are better for the pressure from the city’s Catholic schools, the handful of private secular schools, and even from nearby suburban public schools, which act as a magnet to draw concerned families out of the city.  If everyone abandoned all other options and settled for their local public schools, how would that make them better?  Would teachers’ unions become more responsive?  Thought experiment:  you hate the service at your local Unfriendly Groceries store.  Is the solution to take your business to the competing Friendly Grocer or to blindly stay with Unfriendly Groceries?  If you stick it out with Unfriendly, what possible incentive do it have to change? 

Would the American economy be more competitive without private schools?  Benedickt bemoans lousy public schools, like the one she attended, that don’t require students to read books, learn calculus or even offer AP classes.    Yet, her solution is to have all students attend the worst schools?  Will this help us compete in math against the Chinese, Japanese, Koreans and Indians?  Intellectual curiosity is a gift; a fine education is priceless and pays dividends throughout one’s life.  Why not foster creativity, critical thinking and intellectual passion?

Benedickt misses the important fact that students in private schooling benefit local public schools because they aren’t sitting in seats, but the funding stays.  If you put your child in, say, a Catholic school, you still pay the same property and other taxes that fund your local public schools.  But, your local public schools don’t pay a dime to educate your child.  You effectively pay twice for schooling your child.  That should be applauded, not attacked as “bad”.  Even more so, good for you for caring about your child, instead of being like Benedickt’s parents who “weren’t too worried about it.”  I would argue excellence matters.  In many instances, the local public schools are not only substandard in terms of teaching, but dangerous.  Public schools in Chicago often are violent places.  Is it wrong for a parent to want to put their children in a safer environment?  There are some very good public schools and many great private schools.  Those public schools that get it right should be commended and their dedicated teachers rewarded.   Bad public schools should be reformed or shut down, not rewarded with blind allegiance.

Lastly, Ms. Benedickt’s argument is irrational; she is both saying that lousy public schools don’t matter (“your child will probably do just fine”) and yet, she says it matters that public schools are lousy, therefore you should care.  She contradicts herself.  Do bad schools matter or not?  Which is it?  I’d say bad schools matter, unfortunately.  

With the wacky arguments you used against effective private schools, Ms. Benedickt, perhaps a woeful public education did hold you back!

[1] http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2013/08/private_school_vs_public_school_only_bad_people_send_their_kids_to_private.html?fb_ref=sm_fb_share_toolbar

Minimum Wage Much Higher, Adjusted For Inflation, Than In 1938

In Uncategorized on July 28, 2013 at 2:28 pm

Joe Biden and others on the Left speak with reverence of 1968.  Is it the Summer of Love and urban riots they speak of?  No, the minimum wage, which adjusted for inflation, was higher than today.  “Just pay me what you paid folks in 1968″, Joe recently said. [1]

Biden is cherry-picking the year, though.  The minimum wage peaked in 1968, and today’s minimum wage is higher than it was in 2007, 1938, 1947, 1953, 1988 and plenty of other years.  And excellent graph that shows how today’s minimum wage is not particularly low by historic standards, and certainly much higher than was intended when introduced in the 1930s, can be found at CNN Money: http://economy.money.cnn.com/2013/02/14/minimum-wage-history/. [2]

A minimum wage increases unemployment, for teenagers and others with low skills and a lack of experience; workers whose productivity is worth less than $7.25 are priced out of a job.   The 2007-2009 minimum wage increases were, for example, a time of increasing unemployment.  The impact of the minimum wage, of course, is greater the higher it is.  A 25 cent increase will have a sight effect on employment; whereas a large increase, to say, the $22 per hour Senator Elizabeth “Big Chief” Warren (D-MA) demands, would impact a large number of workers and greatly disrupt the labor market.

Sadly, though, minimum wage tends to be an emotional issue, rather than one which is debated logically.  Joe Biden, Barrack Obama and others who want a higher minimum wage tend to use deceptive evidence when they claim today’s minimum wage is supposedly so low by historic standards.  It’s not.  And they use the absolute high point, 1968, as their reference.  This is no surprise, since they conveniently ignore that minimum wage earners are, disproportionately, teenagers, college students, and others looking for part-time work.  Few are raising families, whereas Biden, Obama and their ideological soul mates falsely imply everyone on minimum wage is a sole-breadwinner of a big family.  In the real world, too, even mediocre employees receive pay raises.

[1] http://blogs.wsj.com/capitaljournal/2009/03/17/a-history-lesson-for-vice-president-biden/

[2] http://economy.money.cnn.com/2013/02/14/minimum-wage-history/

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