Starving the Beast: How Republicans Instill Distrust in Government

You think it needs to be instilled? :-)

It is entirely reasonable to question the motives (distrust is a negative word that is somewhat inappropriate for how GOPers/conservatives view government), at any time, of anyone who has a modicum of control over your life. If you disagree, you may as well live in a dictatorship; your government will be able to do to you what they please.

Further, there is ample documented reasons to question the motives of our politicians and government institutions, as they do, from time to time, behave in a distrustful way. For example:

  1. Do we not agree that politicians of both parties are often beholden to big-money interests that perhaps are not in the best interests of the citizenry?
  2. Do we not agree that our government has, at times, engaged in propaganda campaigns, in order to drum up support or opposition for various policies or engagements?
  3. Do we not agree that our intelligence agencies have, at times, “dropped the ball” when it comes to keeping us safe or warning us of potential threats?

All that is so well known that I don’t think it even necessary to provide links. The *logical* reaction to being informed, then is to be reasonably suspicious of both government and politicians, and *especially* if they want government to grow, because government does not have a particular good track record of being honest with their motives or efficient with the use of our money.

Historically, Republicans have denounced America’s public schools as institutions of inferior valuation than their private counterparts. They legislate as such.

There is a rather substantial intention to mislead with that statement. Yes, the Republicans do indeed point out (denounce…..again, is a negative word designed to create an emotional reaction) what the international statistics all show: that the US primary and secondary school system underperforms at all grade levels when compared to students from other developed countries.

Again, that’s not even worth posting a link. Any informed person knows that.

So, that begs the question. What’s the fix? Good question. Lots of reputations have been shattered trying to fix this problem, which has been pervasive in US education since the publication of Why Can’t Johnny Read in the early 1970’s. The GOP believe that the fix is to increase the options available to students in general, using public magnets, public charters, and privates, and there is some rationale behind that, seeing that many other developed nations use a “money follows the student” model (aka “vouchers”) that allows children to attend the schools of their choice.

Personally, I think the GOP ‘s approach is not entirely correct, but considering what the alternative being presented by the other party is (“pump more money into the schools, keep doing the same thing and expect different results”) you can see why many individuals consider the GOP approach a bit more responsive to solving the problem.

Vouchers are cunning devices that transfer funds from the public to the private sphere by granting subsidies to low-income students who wish to pursue private educations but would otherwise be unable. The result is that the public school system loses out on customers.

Yea…..”vouchers” as a concept are not at all uncommon in other developed countries, as mentioned before. Where public schools are good, they pose no threat to the “customer base” of the public schools. Vouchers never cover the entire cost of a private education, so not many would pay money for less competent education. However, they DO pose a threat where the public schools are bad…..but that’s a feature, not a bug, when you really think about it, eh?

However, not all politicians are so subtle. President Trump proposed a funding cut of 13.5% to public education nationwide (NPR). Cuts of this size would decimate an already famished institution.

Nonsense. Standard school operations are funded locally, not through federal funds. Most of the D of Ed’s budget doesn’t have anything to do with the daily operation of K-12 schools.

Federal funds do offset the cost of *some* special needs education, and depending on exactly WHAT decisions are made when the D of Ed cuts its budget, COULD POSSIBLY be impacted. You don’t know until it happens. Impact could range on nothing at all to some moderate impact, depending on what decisions are made. If there’s an impact, let’s have a public debate; either the DofEd will restore the funding, or local districts will have to up their tax rates a bit. Big whoop.

In fact a total of 62% of Americans would pay more taxes if they knew the money would go to the public school system (WaPo report on Gallup).

I would too. But NOT taxes to the federal government; I’ll good with having my local school taxes raised. No reason to have two bureaucracies touching the money when one will do the job.

But why? Why do Republicans care so much about hurting public schools and helping private schools?

Unsurprisingly, the answer involves money: Private educations are favored by America’s richest.

Blech. Nobody wants to “hurt” anything.

Private educations are indeed favored by America’s richest. That’s been the case for, oh, several centuries, now; it’s unlikely to change. The ultrarich prefer not to have their children rubbing elbows with the peons, after all. Nothing new there. But we’re talking about the upper 1–2% of wage earners here; wages in America drop off pretty quickly, and once you’re out of that top couple of percent, the cost of private school becomes painful.

However, big picture: Private schools are ALSO favored by, for example, the poor kids in Houston’s dirt-poor Denver Harbor area, where 1st generation Latino laborers work their asses off so their kids can AVOID the poor public schools in the area and attend the local parochial school.

This is it, btw:

And THIS is what the average home looks like in that neighborhood, and for miles around it. Like it? Oh, and btw, that fence is there for a reason. And not a good one.

Yes, THOSE are the people who ALSO want to benefit from private education. The ones stuck in a shit neighborhood who want a better life for their kids, and who know that the local public school isn’t the place to punch that ticket for them.

And likewise, for similar areas around the nation. The FACT that you’re dancing around here in your misleading article is that the worst schools tend to be in the poorest neighborhoods, and the local public school districts have spent literally DECADES trying to improve those schools…….and very little has worked. For lots of reasons, but let’s not digress.

If you were one of those poor Latino laborers, looking at sending your kids to a crappy school that was crappy when YOU attended it 25 years earlier, you’d be working your ass off too to scrape up the money for private school. Because your priority as a parent is not that local public school, or the public school district; you can’t fix that problem, it’s not your responsibility.

What IS your responsibility is the education of your own children, and you’ll do anything to do it for them. Because you don’t want them cleaning office buildings between midnight and seven AM like you do.

When it comes to education, the status quo is not an option. Our worst schools are in low income, primarily minority areas, and failing to fix them insures that our racial stratification problems continue on into the next generation. They demand a solution, and “let’s throw some more money at it” is not acceptable, and is not responsive.

So if you have a better idea than the GOP has that hasn’t already been tried for four decades. let’s hear it.

Hope that helps.

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