The Real Cost Of Common Core

The Common Core curriculum was the brain child of the Bill Gates Foundation. When the curriculum was finally put together, there were five people on the Validation Committee that refused to sign off on the curriculum. There were two very prominent people in that group of five–R. James Milgram, professor of mathematics at Stanford University, and Sandra Stotsky, Professor emerita in the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas, and 21st Century Chair in Teacher Quality. Both of them felt that the standards set up in Common Core would not improve the quality of education American students received. It turns out that they were right.

In November 2018, Neonnettle reported the following:

Researchers, who conducted a study into the impact of former President Obama’s Common Core State Standards on schools, declared the teaching practices to be “worst large-scale educational failure in 40 years.”

The study examined the effects of Common Core on school choice and found the Obama-era K-12 educational reform demonstrated sharp drops in academic performance.

Ted Rebarber of AccountabilityWorks co-authored the study with Cato Institute’s Neal McCluskey, who previously led another study, titled “Common Core, School Choice and Rethinking Standards-Based Reform,” which was published by the Boston-based Pioneer Institute.

The pair discussed their findings at a Heritage Foundation event last week, explaining how Common Core has not only damaged public-school education but also has created obstacles for choosing schools.

The article goes on to note that since Common Core was introduced, the academic performance of students has noticeably decreased. The article noted that any school that receives federal funds is required to take certain tests mandated by Common Core. Any school that accepts vouchers is required to follow Common Core.

The article reports:

In April of 2016, only about 37 percent of U.S. 12th graders were shown to be prepared for math and reading at the college level, according to the 2015 NAEP – also known as the Nation’s Report Card.

 Additionally, results released by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) showed that on the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS), the U.S. has declined in performance from fifth in international ranking in 2011 to 13th in 2016 out of 58 international education systems.

The conclusion of the article provides a clue as to what is going on here:

Jennifer McCormick, the (Indiana) Republican state superintendent of public schools, has decided private schools that accept state voucher funds should not discriminate against LGBT children in admissions and other services – regardless of the school’s faith beliefs.

McCormick’s justification for her decision is based upon the Common Core “workforce development” model of education that views children as prospective laborers who can fulfill big business’s needs for inexpensive, local workers.

“If our goal as a state is to develop a well-educated workforce, and one that we want businesses to come here because we’re inclusive, we are accepting. I think part of that goes to our actions,” McCormick said.

“And when we still have schools that receive taxpayer dollars that can exclude students — that’s a problem.”

According to the report, McCormick said private schools that accept vouchers would need to have their admissions policies controlled by the state.

There is nothing in the U.S. Constitution that allows federal control of education, but obviously that is the policy here. The real bottom line here is to prepare the next generation to be global citizens in order to advance the concept of global governance. I will post a detailed article on the foundation for that statement in the near future.

 

Proof That Economic Policies Matter

The Cato Institute posts a report on freedom in each of the fifty states. The link posted here will send you to the North Carolina report, but you can get to information on any state from that link. I am focusing on North Carolina because it so beautifully illustrates the idea that economic policies matter.

This is the write up on North Carolina:

North Carolina is a rapidly growing southern state with a reasonably good economic freedom profile and an even better record on personal freedom, especially when compared with its neighbors.

North Carolina gradually improved its fiscal policies from 2011 to 2016. State taxes fell from 6.2 percent of adjusted personal income to a projected 5.7 percent, right around the national average. Local taxes have held steady over that period at 3.3 percent of income, seven-tenths of a percentage point below the national average. Debt and government consumption and employment fell, but so did financial assets.

Despite large inmigration, North Carolina has disdained excessive controls on the housing supply. Eminent domain was never effectively reformed. Labor law is good, with no minimum wage, a right-to-work law, and relatively relaxed workers’ compensation rules, but an E-Verify mandate was enacted in 2011. Regulation has killed off the managed care model for non-large-group health insurance. Cable and telecommunications have been liberalized. Occupational freedom is a weak spot, especially for the health professions. A sunrise review requirement for occupational licensing proposals was scrapped in 2011. North Carolina is one of the worst states for insurance freedom. It has a large residual market for personal automobile and homeowner’s insurance because of strict price controls and rate classification prohibitions. It also has a price-gouging law and a minimum-markup law for gasoline. Entry is restricted for medical facilities and moving companies. North Carolina’s civil liability system has improved over time and is now about average.

North Carolina has one of the best criminal justice regimes in the South. Incarceration and victimless crime arrest rates are all below average. There is no state-level civil asset forfeiture, but local law enforcement frequently does an end-run around the law through the Department of Justice’s equitable sharing program. Gun rights are more restricted than in many other southern states, with carry licenses somewhat costly to obtain and hedged with limitations. Plus, buying a pistol requires a permit, there is local dealer licensing, background checks are required for private sales, and most Class III weapons are difficult to obtain (sound suppressors were legalized in 2014). Alcohol freedom is mediocre because of state liquor stores and somewhat high markups and taxes. Marijuana has not been liberalized apart from a 1970s-era decriminalization law. Gambling freedom is quite low. School choice was introduced in 2014, but only for students with disabilities. Tobacco freedom is about average because of reasonable taxes and workplace freedom (but not freedom in bars or restaurants).

The information also includes:

Note that the article says that North Carolina gradually improved its fiscal policies between 2011 and 2016. So what happened in 2011–the Republican party took over the legislature after 140 years of North Carolina being a one-party state (Democrat). The Republicans in the legislature have continued to cut taxes and cut spending. Those economic policies have brought people to the state and improved the economic position of the state. Economic policies matter.

President Trump’s Tax Plan

The information in this article is from Investor’s Business Daily and the Tax Foundation.

Investor’s Business Daily reports:

Among the most potent provisions in the GOP tax reform package unveiled Wednesday by President Trump are the big cuts in taxes on corporations and small businesses. Inevitably, they will be styled by foes as a sop to the rich and Wall Street. In fact, they’re one of the best middle-class tax cuts of all.

How we tax businesses is among the most distorted, costly and anti-competitive elements of our tax code. Today, U.S. corporations competing on the world stage face a top tax rate of 39%, compared to a 23% average for the rest of the world.

The proposed Republican tax reform would slash that to 20%, below the average. It would also shift the U.S. to a “territorial taxation” model, which keeps overseas profits from being taxed twice — once when the profit is earned overseas, and again when repatriated to the U.S. The U.S. is almost alone among nations in doing this.

Meanwhile, new rules would level the playing field between U.S.-headquartered companies and foreign-headquartered companies by keeping our rates low. This will keep companies from buying foreign companies and relocating their headquarters overseas to take advantage of lower rates.

Then there’s small businesses. Among other things, the plan cuts levies on so-called S corporations (small businesses and sole proprietorships, in which the profits go to the owner’s individual tax form) to 25%, thus giving many small business owners who now pay super-high individual tax rates of 30% or higher a big tax cut. It also lets businesses write off investments (except for structures) immediately. This would let companies recapture the value of their investments more quickly, lowering their tax bite now and boosting profits later on.

The article notes that the media generally portrays business and business owners in a negative light. They fail to realize that businesses pass the expense of taxes along to the consumers. We are the ones who pay the corporate taxes.

Investor’s Business Daily further states:

…A survey of tax-cut research by the Heritage Foundation finds 10 studies demonstrating that corporate tax cuts improve worker welfare by upgrading their skills, improving the equipment they work with, and boosting their pay.

Another recent study, this one published in August by economists Andrew Hanson of Marquette University and Ike Brannon of the Cato Institute, asserted that “recent tax reform discussions that propose a (corporate) rate reduction between 30% to 57% … would imply employment gains between 6% to 22% and wage increases between 15% to 28%.” That’s quite a gain, and a big reason why tax reform could put us back on the path to 3% average GDP growth.

Sadly, because of the relentless anti-business bias of the U.S. media, many Americans think corporations are “greedy,” and so they should be taxed to the gunwales.

The Tax Foundation reports:

  • Mr. Trump’s tax plan would substantially lower individual income taxes and the corporate income tax and eliminate a number of complex features in the current tax code.
  • Mr. Trump’s plan would cut taxes by $11.98 trillion over the next decade on a static basis. However, the plan would end up reducing tax revenues by $10.14 trillion over the next decade when accounting for economic growth from increases in the supply of labor and capital.
  • The plan would also result in increased outlays due to higher interest on the debt, creating a ten-year deficit somewhat larger than the estimates above.
  • According to the Tax Foundation’s Taxes and Growth Model, the plan would significantly reduce marginal tax rates and the cost of capital, which would lead to an 11 percent higher GDP over the long term provided that the tax cut could be appropriately financed.
  • The plan would also lead to a 29 percent larger capital stock, 6.5 percent higher wages, and 5.3 million more full-time equivalent jobs.
  • The plan would cut taxes and lead to higher after-tax incomes for taxpayers at all levels of income.

The Democrats will fight this plan tooth and nail. Why? Because under this plan states with reasonable tax burdens will no longer subsidize states with high tax burdens. New York, California, Connecticut, and Massachusetts (to name a few) all will have to re-examine their tax policies or they will see a taxpayers’ revolt.

I celebrate the end of the death tax. The purpose of the death tax is to redistribute wealth–that is not an American value. The money in an estate was taxed as it was earned. If land increased in value, so be it. A family should not have to sell the family farm to pay their taxes.

Democrats have never met a tax cut they liked. I expect this one will be no different. The other thing to keep in mind is that the worst nightmare for the Washington establishment is a successful Trump administration. These tax cuts would promote economic growth, which in turn would begin to lower the deficit. The Washington establishment cannot afford to have an outsider reach that level of success. Now if we could only cut the spending.

You can expect the Federal Reserve to begin to raise interest rates quickly in an attempt to slow economic growth. The Federal Reserve is also part of the Washington establishment that does not want an outsider to succeed.

Breaking Faith With America’s Military

The Military Times posted an article yesterday about cuts to military benefits included in President Obama’s 2019 Defense Authorization Bill. This is a disgrace.

If Congress goes along with this, it is because we don’t have enough men in Congress who have actually served in the military.

To begin with, according to a white paper written by the Cato Institute, a person on welfare makes more than $15 an hour. According to a site listing military base pay, an enlisted man in the Army makes less than $15 an hour. Admittedly, the soldier has benefits–health care and a housing allowance, but so does the person on welfare. Why not cut the benefits of the person who has not earned them rather than cut the benefits of the person who makes sacrifices every day to keep America safe?

The Military Times reports:

If the measure becomes law, troops would see growth in the Basic Allowance for Housing steadily shrink in coming years, to cover only 95 percent of average off-base housing costs. Tricare co-pays would rise on a host of prescriptions obtained through off-base retail pharmacies.

Troops are in line for a 1.3 percent pay raise in January, a full percentage point below expected growth this year in average private-sector wages — the third consecutive year that the military pay raise would fall below civilian levels.

…Lawmakers also want defense officials to offer a plan in coming months to completely wean the military commissary and exchange systems off taxpayer funding, potentially leading to fewer discounts or offerings at the stores.

“Over the last 10 years, the (military) community has fought hard to increase benefits to catch troops up to the private sector,” said Bill Rausch, political director for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. “Now, after all the battles we’ve won, we’re starting to see retreats. That’s concerning to us.”

There are much better places to trim the federal budget. We need a President and a Congress that will support our troops–not continually shrink their benefits.

The Graph Tells The Story

This is a graph from a CATO Institute article posted today:

image

It shows the difference between the predictions of the ‘climate scientists’ and what has actually happened in the past forty years.

The article reports:

The blue circles are the average lower-atmospheric temperature changes from four different analyses of global weather balloon data, and the green squares are the average of the two widely accepted analyses of satellite-sensed temperature. Both of these are thought to be pretty solid because they come from calibrated instruments.

If you look at data through 1995 the forecast appears to be doing quite well. That’s because the computer models appear to have, at least in essence, captured two periods of slight cooling.

The article goes on the analyze the data in view of the predictions made. The article then asks the question. “When will the global warming alarmists admit that they were wrong?”

When Cuts Aren’t Cuts

The CATO Institute posted an article yesterday about Congressman Paul Ryan’s budget proposal.

The article included this chart which tracks spending in the coming years under Congressman Paul Ryan’s proposed budget:

The chart below compares Paul Ryan’s budget against the CBO projections of the federal budget:

Notice that there are no actual spending cuts in Paul Ryan’s budget–it simply represents a slower rate of growth.

The article reports:

Chairman Ryan’s budget would spend $42.6 trillion over the next ten years. Opponents will say that Ryan’s budget slashes federal spending, while supporters will say that it includes large budgetary savings. The reality is that Ryan’s budget would increase spending at an annual average rate of 3.5 percent, or from $3.54 trillion in 2014 to $5.0 trillion in 2024. Only in Washington would that be considered substantial restraint, let alone slashing.

Until we change the culture of Washington, we can expect to see Congress drive America into bankruptcy. If you want to see change, you need to change the people you vote for. Continually voting for the people who keep spending high will not result in lower spending.  Most of the establishment Republicans (as well as the Democrats) have forgotten their promises to cut spending. Those Republicans need to be replaced by people who will remember their promises.

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The Need To Learn From Mistakes Made By Other Countries

Investor’s Business Daily posted an article today stating that the Netherlands is changing the rules of its welfare state.

The article states:

The Netherlands has been known for its generous welfare system. Three decades ago, when the U.S. was spending about 22% of its GDP on entitlement programs, the Dutch were spending more than 40%. The Financial Times named the Dutch system a “comprehensive egalitarian social model” built in the 1960s and 1970s.

…Three months ago, newly coronated Dutch King Willem-Alexander told his country that the “classic welfare state of the second half of the 20th century” was over. It would be replaced by a “participation society” because the “arrangements” the nation was operating under “are unsustainable in their current form.”

Among the changes is a requirement that welfare applicants must prove they have actively looked for a job for at least four weeks before they can receive benefits.

“And once they begin to receive benefits they will either have to work or perform volunteer community service,” says the Cato Institute‘s Michael Tanner.

Other savings will be found when youth services, care for the elderly and job retraining are kicked down to the local level, which is better equipped to be more efficient with other people’s money.

The Dutch have learned that those who work cannot support those who do not work indefinitely. Eventually those who work get very tired and decide to join the non-workers. If we do not learn the lesson the Dutch have learned, we can also expect to have to make drastic changes in the near future.

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Work vs Welfare

Below is the Executive Summary from a white paper released by the CATO Institute on August 19. The white paper was entitled, “The Work versus Welfare Trade-Off: 2013.”

Executive Summary

In 1995, the Cato Institute published a groundbreaking study,The Work vs. WelfareTrade-Off, which estimated the value of the full package of welfare benefits available to a typical recipient in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. It found that not only did the value of such benefits greatly exceed the poverty level but, because welfare benefits are tax-free, their dollar value was greater than the amount of take-home income a worker would receive from an entry-level job.

Since then, many welfare programs have undergone significant change, including the 1996 welfare reform legislation that ended the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program and replaced it with the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program. Accordingly, this paper examines the current welfare system in the same manner as the 1995 paper. Welfare benefits continue to outpace the income that most recipients can expect to earn from an entry-level job, and the balance between welfare and work may actually have grown worse in recent years.

The current welfare system provides such a high level of benefits that it acts as a disincentive for work. Welfare currently pays more than a minimum-wage job in 35 states, even after accounting for the Earned Income Tax Credit, and in 13 states it pays more than $15 per hour. If Congress and state legislatures are serious about reducing welfare dependence and rewarding work, they should consider strengthening welfare work requirements, removing exemptions, and narrowing the definition of work. Moreover, states should consider ways to shrink the gap between the value of welfare and work by reducing current benefit levels and tightening eligibility requirements.

One of the things that has made America great has been the willingness of Americans to work hard, knowing their diligence would be rewarded. When the government creates a situation where staying home doing nothing pays as well as working, it undermines the work ethic in America and weakens our country. It might also be a good idea to examine the role the tax burden plays in this–does the working person earn less because of the tax burden that comes with working? Is the welfare recipient subject to a lesser tax burden?

The bottom line here is simple. People are not stupid. If a person can make as much money not working as he would working, why should he work? I recently posted a story with a striking example of this philosophy at rightwinggranny.com. We need to reinstate the work requirements to receive aid, and we need to be more aware of who is getting aid so that we can limit fraud.

It’s time to make sure that the people who are working hard are rewarded for their hard work.

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What Makes A Contract A Contract ?

The legal definition of a contract is an agreement that two parties enter into voluntarily. Helen Whalen Cohen posted an article at Townhall.com asking if Obamacare violates this basic concept. Ms. Cohen also points out how bad things can get when a government enters into contracts with the governed without the consent of the governed.

Jim Powell at the Cato Institute cited a few examples of government forced contracts that did not turn out well in a recent article he wrote for Forbes Magazine.

Mr. Powell points out:

…For example, on April 5, 1933, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt issued Executive Order 6102 that mandated Americans to surrender their gold coins, gold bullion and gold certificates to the government by May 1, 1933.

…On February 19, 1942, amidst war hysteria, FDR issued Executive Order 9066 mandating that some 110,000 peaceful Japanese Americans be hustled away from the Pacific Coast and into places like the urine-soaked Santa Anita racetrack stables until these people could be moved to Spartan “War Relocation Camps.”

…On August 15, 1971, President Richard Nixon issued Executive Order 11615, mandating price controls, rent controls, wage and salary controls. By forcing people to do their business at below-market prices, Nixon’s controls encouraged consumers to buy more, while encouraging producers to supply less. Consequently, the controls caused shortages that led to rationing and daily inconvenience.

…In ancient Egypt, the pharaohs’ most hated tax was the corvée — forced labor that had to be provided on demand for, among other things, quarrying stone and building pyramids.

…After the U.S. Civil War, many blacks didn’t want to work for former masters who had tormented them. But The Union army, occupying the South, pressured former slaves to sign annual contracts with plantation owners, and blacks were forbidden to leave plantations without the owners’ permission — the same policy as under slavery.

…During the 1930s, Nazis began barring Jews from professions and ordering Germans not to do business with Jews. By December 1938, there were substantial numbers of unemployed Jews, and the regime issued a decree that ordered these people to register for forced labor.

Etc., etc., etc. The point here is that a forced contract is simply not a good idea.

Mr. Powell concludes:

Four thoughts:

1. Most of the cases I mentioned took place during a war, a financial crisis or other emergency leading people to accept extreme measures that are unthinkable in easier times.

2. Nobody can predict when the next emergency will occur.

3. There isn’t any reliable way of keeping bad or incompetent people out of power.

4. Once government gains additional power, it’s exceedingly difficult to roll back.

These are major reasons why we should uphold our Constitution with limited and enumerated powers.

I hope the Supreme Court Justices take these ideas into consideration.

 

 

 

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