Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Editorials: Where I rant to the wall about politics. And sometimes the wall rants back.

Is Trump calling the bluff of establishment Republicans?

Jerry Stratton, January 18, 2017

Network for Public Education Action monopoly

Posted by The Network for Public Education Action, whose staff has no idea what a monopoly actually is.

I wrote earlier that part of the problem with the beltway class in Washington is that they promise, don’t deliver, and then promise even harder so as to be believed this time around.

I have my own theory about the growing extremism of political rhetoric, which may explain the ironic and inexplicable rise of rhetoric when so little actually happens in DC. The first part of this theory is that politicians of the two parties see themselves as one team, the beltway, against the voters. They talk as if they are different; but they don’t act as if they are different.

Then, to prove that they really are different, they move their talk further to the extremes in the next election, so as to hide the fact that they haven’t even tried to fulfill their promises from the last election. This process repeats with more and more extreme rhetoric to make up for the less and less extreme actions.

Election promises become so extreme that we have politicians on one side promising, anti-Canute-style, to lower the ocean, and on the other, to outright disband entrenched government agencies.

It is unlikely they ever meant it, but Trump seems to be calling their bluff. It isn’t just that he’s appointing people like Rick Perry and Betsy DeVos; it’s that he’s appointing them specifically to agencies they have claimed—in Perry’s case, during a presidential election run—that they would like to disband.

If Rick Perry refuses to get rid of the Department of Energy, and Betsy DeVos refuses to get government out of parents’ education choices, that says a lot more about establishment politicians than it does about President Trump.

I would love to see Trump’s nominees reduce the federal government’s giant boot print on local energy and education decisions. But unlike Trump, Trump’s choices are mostly traditional politicians. I can’t see them reducing the power of their own agencies. Or, in Perry’s case, distributing its functions to other agencies and putting himself out of a job. Perry was a good governor, and I’d love to be wrong about him. But I’ll be surprised if I am.

Same with DeVos. She’s right about how government-run schools work in this extremely uneducated meme. The original answer to DeVos calling government schools a monopoly, before I messed with it, was:

No, Betsy, Public Education is not a monopoly. Public Schools are run by locally elected School Boards. They have open meetings and all their financials are accessible to the public. Every public school is a valued asset owned by the taxpayers of the community. Schools are not an “industry” or a “market.” They are a place where neighborhood children come together to learn.

It’s an indictment of our education system that someone who went through it thinks government-run schools that force everyone to buy into them are not monopolies. Whoever wrote this doesn’t have any idea what a monopoly is. Most monopolies had public meetings, and public financial statements. Many even had elections for their boards. What makes something a monopoly is whether or not you can take your money and use it instead on a competitor’s offering. Private monopolies at least give you the option of not purchasing the monopoly’s product, as unlikely as that might be. Government monopolies—such as schools—force you to pay for the monopoly’s service or product whether you want it or not. It’s the ultimate lack of accountability.

Teachers usually complain about federal interference in local education; apparently, they now prefer it. They—or their unions—are opposing an Education nominee who complains about federal interference in local education.

Without competition, every organization becomes administrator-heavy to the detriment of the organization’s focus. Teachers complain about this all the time; they complain about bloated administrations, and they complain about the pointless paperwork that their administrations and government bureaucrats force them to fill out. Their union reps, meanwhile, ensure that they get more bureaucrats and more paperwork by fighting any attempts at reform.

Everywhere school choice has been tried, in the United States and in Europe, the competition has not only made children’s education better, it has made public schools better, too.

Not all public schools are dead ends. But the ones that fail to teach the most basic facts about what makes a monopoly, probably are.

But will Betsy DeVos reduce her own power and reduce federal regulations on local educators and resources? It would be great if she did. It would be great if Betsy DeVos reformed our crazy mnonolithic educational system, even though doing her job right means putting herself out of a beltway job.

But I’m not holding my breath.

In response to Election 2016: Another fine mess you’ve gotten us into.

  1. <- Divisiveness tells
  2. Incorrecting DeVos ->