This Blog Has Moved!

My blog has moved. Check out my new blog at

Your Ad Here

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Race To The Bottom

This story was offensive. There's a new State control program called "Race To The Top". As usual, "Race To The Bottom" would be a more accurate name.

In "Race To The Top", the Federal government is giving states money to spend on education. Superficially, this seems beneficial.

The obvious problem is "This is a partial return of stolen property." The Federal government imposes high taxes. Some money is returned to the states. This creates this illusion that the Federal government is beneficial.

A pro-State troll says "Taxation is not theft. What thief builds schools with the stolen money?" Some tax money is spent on useful things, usually with lots of pork and inefficiency. If a thief spends some of his stolen money on good things, that doesn't make him not a thief.

Besides, most public schools are really State brainwashing centers. Under the guise of "education", children are brainwashed to be obedient slaves.

Similarly, CEOs like to brag about how much money they give to charity. Usually, the CEO is donating to a charity he controls. The fact that a CEO spends money on charity, doesn't justify the huge State subsidies he receives.

Via taxation power and spending power, the Federal government usurps state sovereignty. For example, most states are required to have a drinking age of 21 and a speed limit of 65 mph. Otherwise, the states forfeit Federal highway money. If a state doesn't cooperate, they lose Federal highway money but still pay Federal gasoline taxes and other road-supporting taxes.

The education law comes with strings attached. It isn't free money. To qualify, states must adopt Federal curriculum/brainwashing standards. To qualify, states must adopt Federal guidelines for charter schools. To qualify, states are barred from implementing reforms other than those approved by the Federal government.

One of the most subtle evils of schools is the curriculum. By discussing some things but not others, State brainwashing centers create a pro-State troll bias. Here are some examples.

  • You study Benjamin Franklin, but not Benjamin Franklin Bache.
  • You read Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, but not "The War Prayer".
  • You learn about Thomas Jefferson, but not Lysander Spooner or Bastiat.
  • You learn about the slavery debate, but not the Morrill Tarriff.
  • You learn "The South fired first at Fort Sumter!" Actually, the Northern troops were trespassing, refusing to leave. The South attempted to negotiate peaceful secession. In every war, it seems that the other guys started it. The reality is that there's gradual escalation of hostility, and one incident is cited by the winning side.
  • You learn about Abraham Lincoln, but not about how Lincoln arrested newspaper editors who criticized the Civil War.
  • You learn about "Preserve the union!" but not "Maybe they should have the right to secede."
  • You learn that George Washington decided to not seek a 3rd term, but not "He wouldn't have been relected."
  • Students learn to write in a passive voice instead of active voice.
  • Students learn that there's nothing they can do, when a State authority figure abuses their power. If a teacher falsely accused me of misconduct, then I had no choice but to accept whatever the punishment was.
  • "Divine right of kings" is obviously stupid. "Social contact" is also stupid, but it's a more complicated and believable lie. State brainwashing centers teach "social contract" and not the "Non-Aggression Principle". "Social contract" is believable, because it sort of sounds like the Non-Aggression principle.
That's only a few things. There are a lot of little subtle pro-State brainwashing reminders.

Another important issue is "charter schools". This is a fake reform. Real reform, like "school vouchers", are usually successful but then shot down by bureaucrats protecting their turf, especially the public school teachers' union.

In "school vouchers", parents get a check that they can take to *ANY* State-licensed school. If the public school budget is $11k/student, then a $7k/student voucher saves $4k. With a class size of 20, $70k*20=$140k, enough for a decent teacher salary plus overhead.

"School vouchers" are too much like a free market, offending State insiders. Public teachers' unions lobby against school vouchers. School vouchers were tried and successful, but quashed by State bureaucrats.

Compared to vouchers, "charter schools" are fake reform. You need a State permit to operate a charter school, restricting access to insiders. There's only a handful of charter schools, each explicitly licensed by State insiders. Charter school teachers are still State employees, so they're members of the teachers' union. Parents must beg a State bureaucrat, to place their child in a charter school. With charter schools, the State bureaucrats are still 100% in control, while providing the illusion of reform.

State brainwashing centers are funded via taxes. This penalizes parents who homeschool. You have to pay school taxes plus the cost of homeschooling. Laws and regulations make it hard/illegal for homeschooling parents to share resources. For example, parents can't take turns watching the children, due to laws restricting daycare centers or schools. It's illegal to operate a homeschooling business out of your home.

There was another amusing bit of the "Race To The Top" payout.
New Jersey fell just shy of Ohio (the last state to win funding) because of a simple mistake in the application, reports the New Jersey Star-Ledger: Applicants were asked for information comparing the 2008 and 2009 budgets, but Republican Gov. Chris Christie's administration instead submitted information comparing this year's with 2011.
New Jersey just missed qualifying, based on a technicality! They were supposed to supply 2008-2009 budget data, but instead gave 2010-2011 budget data. Instead of saying "Hey! This is wrong! Fix it!", New Jersey was penalized. That's definitely State bureaucrat and schoolteacher thinking. Arbitrarily penalize someone based on a technical error. In my wage slave job, if I misunderstand requirements, by boss has me redo it, instead of penalizing me and saying "FSK is unqualified!"

There was another amusing bit about the application scoring. A state got bonus points if the teachers' union formally endorsed the application, which seems ridiculous.

The "Race To The Top" school spending program is an excellent example of Federal government abuse of power. Via control of money, the Federal government forces individual states to obey. Education should be none of the government's business.

If you're a State insider, it's a high priority to brainwash the next generation of slaves. Via taxes, parents pay for the cost of brainwashing their own children. State control of school curriculum is a very subtle form of pro-State brainwashing. Even private schools must obey State standards.


Anonymous said...

"Similarly, CEOs like to brag about how much money they give to charity. Usually, the CEO is donating to a charity he controls. The fact that a CEO spends money on charity, doesn't justify the huge State subsidies he receives."

I think that you have nailed it with this statement. My opinion for some time has been that foundations can be a huge tax scam for the rich. Gates can still control his billions of dollars tax free, and direct foundation activities for his benefit, for example, purchasing Windows computers for the third world. I'm sure there are many examples of schemes like this.

Anonymous said...

"You study Benjamin Franklin, but not Benjamin Franklin Bache." Oh yes, they like Ben Franklin very much. Did you notice that whatever an occasion is they always quote something by Benjamin Franklin.Did he really write so much? IMHO he would just put his name on whatever people under him wrote(many state parasites do that). I find particularly hilarious incident when he discovered electricity(with a kite). His discovery is similar to a discovery made by Obama for which he was awarded Nobel prize. Obama was awarded Nobel prize because he discovered Pythagorean theorem(for himself).

Anonymous said...

Anonymous above is absolutely correct that "charitable" foundations are very good tax optimization vehicle. Somebody just "donates" money to a charity and the amount is tax deductible. There are many 100% legal ways to get those money back afterward. In your example, computers for the third world can be purchased from a company controlled by one of the donatees.

Homeschooler said...

Great article as always. However, regarding homeschooling, we spend far less on supplies and expenses than we did dealing with all the constant fees, supplies, transportation, additional medical costs, and nickel and diming that the public schools impose.

Realize that one set of textbooks works for each child. With four kids, you only buy one textbook. Textbooks are also traded around in the local homeschooling networks, or can be obtained for free from schools getting rid of last year's editions. There is also the library.

We do buy workbooks and print worksheets off the internet for some work. More than textbooks though we use original source material and more in depth coverage of topics of interest.

The savings in medical bills is tremendous. Illness picked up from other kids had resulted in a dozen doctor visits a year per child. Now they only need to go at most a couple times a year.

Although I wouldn't mind getting a refund of property taxes, I know any such system would be set up so you'd have to comply with rules and regulations to be allowed. Also, childless people pay the same taxes. No tax at all would be even better though, dismantle the whole system. I am not convinced that US public school is of any benefit. I have met people who never went to school, such as the children of illegal immigrants who spent their childhoods working picking vegetables in american farm fields, and upon entering adulthood they have better math and reading skills than those who went to school.

Probably the biggest cost is travel expenses for field trips to Washington DC and other such locations, but again we get package deals with other homeschoolers in the area and travel together and the costs stay pretty low. A 3 day trip to DC can run $200 a person or less including food (much which we bring), accommodations and travel expenses. The same trip done through the school system will run $3600 per person.

Scott said...

Yes, the computer deduction scam is one of many.

In one, a company has an old useless computer and they are upgrading. Rather than pay a disposal fee of $35 to handle the toxic components, they donate the computer to a school or homeless shelter. This will be an old MS-DOS computer with a 20MB hard drive and a flickering monitor.

Because they paid $3500 for this computer in 1986, that is how much they will deduct.

It's the same scam as Bill Clinton taking a deduction for his old soiled underwear with holes in it that he donated to the Salvation Army, and he deducted the full original price he paid.

The scam with microsoft is they donate these computers to school. They never donate Macs or Linux machines. They always are windows machines, and the software is going to have to be updated with paid upgrades to keep working. Plus students then get to use these. If the schools had to buy a computer, they might look at both Windows and Macs and decide that Macs are a better choice for students since they run Unix. But compared to a FREE computer, well that is a no-brainer.

This is not a charitable donation - it is a marketing expense, and it is an anti-competitive practice.

This Blog Has Moved!

My blog has moved. Check out my new blog at