Monday, April 23, 2018

Education Apples and Tax Oranges

Teacher strikes was the subject of a 4/14/18 New Jersey Star-Ledger editorial. Education funding and trickle-down economics: a cautionary tale writes:

Among the six states that made the largest cuts in per-student funding between 2008 and 2018 are the four states where teachers have walked out this year.

Oklahoma's obscene 28-percent cut topped that list. Kentucky was third (15.8), Arizona was fifth (13.6), and West Virginia was sixth (11.4). Every state in the top 10 has a GOP-dominated government. Oklahoma and Arizona cut income and corporate taxes during that period.

The Star-Ledger continues, “Others will follow - experts predict the wildfire [the strikes] will soon spread to Mississippi, Idaho, and Georgia.”

So the fuse has been lit. The remaining question is whether some governments will concede how their tax cuts and trickle-down fallacy caused a brain drain that could doom their states for decades.

I left these comments:

Oranges and apples.

The “trickle-down fallacy” is a fallacy. There is actually no such economic theory as “trickle-down economics.” The premise makes no economic sense. “Trickle-down” is a political smear used to disparage tax cuts and to distract from the real issue; the protection of politically powerful factions dependent on government’s taxing powers, including the monopolistic government education establishment, from private individual choice and accountability. Tax cuts are about people keeping more of what they earn, and spending it as they, rather than government officials, see fit.

The schools should be private. Then the market--the cumulative voluntary choices of millions of individual consumers, competition among educators, and the laws of supply and demand--will determine the appropriate pay levels of teachers based on qualifications according to the school’s standards and/or the students’ needs and parents’ judgements. Then we wouldn’t have this conflict between taxes, much of which is unjustly levied against people with no children in the government schools, and the teachers’ paychecks and other school needs. Then education funding wouldn’t be dependent on politics. Then educators will be accountable in a real way--to their customers, just like any private enterprise, rather than government bureaucrats. Now, that would be a much “keener” way for “society” to treat “its children.”

If teachers’ pay is a political football, don’t blame tax cuts. It’s only because schools are coercively tax funded to begin with.

Related Reading:

"Trickle-Down Economics": Anti-Capitalists' Insulting Portrayal of the "Common Man"

An Open Letter to Katie B. On Education Funding

Toward a Free Market in Education: School Vouchers or Tax Credits

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