18 August 2004
Unpatriotic gigolos and public education
By Craig J. Cantoni
August 18, 2004
The government of the United States has become a government of unpatriotic gigolos. Congress and the President not only screw us out of our money while pretending to care about us, but they also commit one of the most unpatriotic acts possible: They brazenly violate the supreme law of the land, the Constitution, a document that embodies the very essence of the nation. Their actions are worse than spitting on the flag.
At the same time, the political institution of the Supreme Court ignores the lawbreaking, government schools encourage it, and anyone who has the temerity to call it lawbreaking is labeled as a crackpot by the establishment media. As a result, most Americans are unaware that they are being screwed and that the Constitution is being violated.
Take public education.
The federal government clearly has no constitutional authority to issue diktats to the states about local public schools, but that hasn’t stopped Congress and the President from expanding the authority of the federal government over local schools.
In 1965, the United States government spent about $25 billion in inflation-adjusted dollars to fund the education programs of various federal departments. Today, it spends over $108 billion, including $63 billion for the Department of Education, which has seen its budget increase 35 percent over the last four years, due to the generosity and compassionate conservatism of President Bush.
What a guy!
To put the $108 billion in perspective, it is equal to the annual income of 2.7 million families.
A big chunk of the $108 billion pays the office overhead and salaries of federal bureaucrats, and much of the remainder is sent back to the states with expensive strings attached to it. Under the guise of helping families, politicians take money from families, send the money to Washington, and then buy votes by returning what is left to the families from whence it came. In short, taxpayers are paying government gigolos to screw them and the nation.
The 400 percent increase in federal education spending since 1965 is in addition to the 300 percent increase in per-pupil spending in real terms at the state and local levels over the same period.
Although the spending has done little to improve education, the Supreme Gigolo, President Bush, has come up with a new program, No Child Left Behind. Like the supreme gigolos who came before him, he promises that his program will be different.
”This time,” Bush whispers lovingly in the public’s ear, ”the money comes with accountability and standards.”
”Oooo!” the public coos in response. ”You’re such a compassionate conservative and such a hunk in your leather flying jacket. Here, take my money.”
The President, Congress, the establishment media and the clueless public do not care that the transaction is illicit—that it is a violation of the supreme law of the land. Given a choice between the law and lust, they pick lust.
Tellingly, no big-city daily has run a front-page headline such as this: ”Bush breaks law with No Child Left Behind!”
Since the man in the leather flying jacket thinks of himself as a patriot, it must be patriotic to ignore the Constitution. Maybe taxpayers should follow his lead and show their patriotism by ignoring the 16th Amendment and not pay income taxes.
Of course, that would upset blubberous Senator Ted Kennedy, another patriot who ignores the Constitution. His state of Massachusetts was given $2 million in federal education money for the New Bedford Whaling Museum. No, the money didn’t come from the No Whale Left Behind program. It came from the Historic Whaling and Trading program, which ”supports culturally based educational activities, internships, apprenticeship programs, and exchanges for Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and children and families of Massachusetts.”
In other words, if your forebears made their living from catching salmon in the Salmon River, your family has to subsidize a museum honoring whaling families, because whaling is important to public education but salmon fishing is not.
Thar she blows! Is it a whale? No, it’s Ted Kennedy swimming near Chappaquiddick Island, carrying a satchel of public money.
Not surprisingly, the government takeover of education began in Massachusetts. In 1647, colonial Massachusetts enacted the Old Deluder Satan Act, which mandated that children of the colony be sufficiently literate to read the Bible and thus not succumb to the temptations of Satan. Then in the early 1800s, Horace Mann and others led a movement in Massachusetts and other states for ”free” government schools. Their objectives included making the nation homogenous (i.e., having White-Anglo-Saxon values), stopping the growth of ”Papist” Catholic schools, and teaching the Protestant Bible to Catholics.
The legacy of discrimination against Catholics continues today, with parochial school parents being forced to pay double for education—once in public school taxes and once in private tuition—in order to exercise their right of religious freedom. Of course, the self-serving public education establishment and greedy public school parents think that taking money from parochial school parents for no services rendered is a dandy idea. After all, it’s for the public good and not for their own good. Wink-wink.
The federal government’s role in education began in 1867 with a federal department that had the narrow mission of ”getting information on what works in education to teachers and education policymakers.” In 1890, the federal mission was expanded to include financial support to land-grant colleges. In 1917, it was expanded again to include responsibilities for vocational education. In the 1940s and 1950s, the mission ballooned with the GI Bill and with laws authorizing the federal government to compensate school districts for lost tax revenue due to federal facilities being within their boundaries.
In reaction to the Soviet Union launching Sputnik, the National Defense Education Act was passed in 1958 to provide fellowships, grants and loans to college students to study math and science. In 1965, as part of President Johnson’s Great Society, Congress passed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which has become one of the largest federal programs.
In 1979, the Department of Education Organization Act was signed, establishing a separate Department of Education. In 1983, the National Commission on Excellence in Education published A Nation at Risk, which detailed the abysmal state of public education
After 18 years of poor returns from the billions spent on the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, common sense would have led politicians, the press and the public to conclude that government control of K-12 education was the problem, not the solution, for what ailed American schools. Instead, they came to the opposite conclusion.
In 1984, because of the national uproar over A Nation at Risk, the Republican Party dropped its plank for the elimination of the Department of Education. Given a choice between following the Constitution and getting reelected, Republicans chose getting reelected—a path of political expediency over principle that they have been following ever since.
Now, 20 years later, as further proof of the maxim that government bureaucracies grow until they devour the entire public treasury, No Child Left Behind is gorging itself on your hard-earned money.
If taken literally, the program will certainly bankrupt the public treasury, for it is impossible, regardless of how much money is spent, for many children not to be left behind, especially gang-bangers and disruptive delinquents who are going to drop out of school someday and who would improve the education of their classmates if they dropped out sooner rather than later.
To the unpatriotic gigolos at the head of our government, per-pupil spending of $12,000 in such districts as St. Louis, Missouri, and Newark, New Jersey, is not enough. It is not enough for responsible parents to subsidize irresponsible ones to the tune of $144,000 per child for 12 years of education, or $576,000 for a family of four. Now, thanks to No Child Left Behind, responsible parents will be paying for private tutors and after-hours programs for the children of irresponsible parents. Only government gigolos understand how screwing responsible parents will stop irresponsible parents from being irresponsible.
In closing, a question: Why do Americans keep paying the unpatriotic gigolos to screw them and the nation?
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Mr. Cantoni is an author, columnist and founder of Honest Americans Against Legal Theft (HAALT). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Some of the information for this article came from an outstanding Cato Institute report, ”A Lesson in Waste: Where Does All the Federal Education Money Go?” It can be found at http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-518es.html
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