Thursday, July 7, 2011

Luxury Items Create Real Jobs

President Obama continues to display an astonishing lack of understanding about how the rich create jobs for ordinary Americans by purchasing luxuries like jet planes. We discussed this very thing after the president suggested that ATM machines actually reduce jobs, and it's a bit surprising that he would stumble into the same pit again so soon after the last chastening he received.

Anyway, rather than cover the same ground as in the earlier post I'll defer to Michael Ramirez:

These are real jobs, it should be noted, not the artificial, temporary kind favored by Mr. Obama and created with stimulus money at a cost of $238,000 per job.

The Failure of Liberalism

In one short essay at National Review Online Victor Davis Hanson summarizes the complete failure of liberalism both here and abroad. After examining the economic crisis in Europe, precipitated by three generations of leftist policy, he turns his attention to the U.S.:
Here in the United States, we await the imposition of Obamacare, despite the fact that the public does not want it, the nation cannot afford it, politicians regret it, and companies seek exemption from it. Our current pace of $1.6 trillion annual deficits, for all the talk of Keynesian gymnastics, is unsustainable — and even acknowledged as such by those who are most responsible for the latest round of fiscal irresponsibility.

As we near 50 million Americans on food stamps, another year of 9-plus percent unemployment, and the third $1 trillion–plus budget deficit, even statists are beginning to see that statism does not work — a fact brought home not just by the disaster in Greece, but also by the growing divide between a successful red-state paradigm and California-like blue-state doldrums. What saves the United States for now is only the fact that, unlike California, it can print money — plus the fact that there is no red-state version of America to flee to.

On the immigration front, there will still be some quibbling, but the liberal argument for open borders has been lost, both here and in Europe. The United States simply cannot afford any longer the $50 billion that flows to Latin America each year in remittances, coupled with multibillion-dollar costs for providing social services to seek parity for illegal aliens, in addition to vast new outlays in education and criminal justice.

California elites swear that a multimillion-person community of illegal aliens has nothing to do with our near-bottom ranking in public-school math and science scores, but privately even the most die-hard unionist teachers confess that it does. When Los Angeles has more resident Mexican nationals than do most cities in Mexico, and when the liberal paradigm of the salad bowl in lieu of the melting pot is into its fifth decade, then it is logical, not aberrant, that tens of thousands in the Rose Bowl would not merely cheer a Mexican soccer team over a home-team American one (understandable, though regrettable, garden-variety ethnic chauvinism), but trump that by booing even the mention of the United States.
Hanson goes on to describe the failure of liberal foreign policy, education policy, and the fact that many of the most influential liberals don't really believe their own rhetoric:
We live in an age in which advocates do not believe in their own advocacy: A “planet is doomed” Al Gore refuses to fly economy; a statist John Kerry won’t pay taxes on his yacht unless he is caught; an anti-war Barack Obama won’t honor the War Powers Act he once deified; and the liberal congressional and media establishment will not put their children in the D.C. schools that are the reification of their own ideology.

In short, the generation that came of age in the 1960s succeeded in bringing to life the Frankenstein’s monster it designed in its own image — but suddenly it seems terrified of the very thing it created.
Hanson pretty much swishes a three pointer in this column. Like the government functionaries in totalitarian countries whose leader has died but who seek to hide his demise from the people, statism is everywhere in various stages of senescence despite its acolytes' sunny insistence that it's really in ruddy good health.

Disgrace to the Profession

Young teachers having little luck finding a job might consider moving to Atlanta where there's soon likely to be a hundred or more openings for elementary and middle school teachers.

It appears that almost two hundred teachers and administrators have been caught in a massive cheating scandal in which teachers were changing their students' grades on standardized tests in order to render the results less embarrassing to the district. The scandal reaches all the way to the top and includes the district superintendent.

The Atlanta Journal and Constitution reports:
Across Atlanta Public Schools, staff worked feverishly in secret to transform testing failures into successes.

Teachers and principals erased and corrected mistakes on students’ answer sheets.

Area superintendents silenced whistle-blowers and rewarded subordinates who met academic goals by any means possible.

Superintendent Beverly Hall and her top aides ignored, buried, destroyed or altered complaints about misconduct, claimed ignorance of wrongdoing and accused naysayers of failing to believe in poor children’s ability to learn.

For years — as long as a decade — this was how the Atlanta school district produced gains on state curriculum tests. The scores soared so dramatically they brought national acclaim to Hall and the district, according to an investigative report released Tuesday by Gov. Nathan Deal.

In the report, the governor’s special investigators describe an enterprise where unethical — and potentially illegal — behavior pierced every level of the bureaucracy, allowing district staff to reap praise and sometimes bonuses by misleading the children, parents and community they served.

The voluminous report names 178 educators, including 38 principals, as participants in cheating. More than 80 confessed. The investigators said they confirmed cheating in 44 of 56 schools they examined.
How can adults teach children that it's wrong to cheat when so many of them do it themselves? If this is the quality of educator that Atlanta's children are learning from it's little wonder that scores are so low that cheating is needed to raise them to meet standards. On the other hand, it seems that to their credit many of the teachers objected to having to change answers but were coerced and intimidated by their administrators into doing so. According to the AJC article a number of those administrators face felony charges:
For teachers, a culture of fear ensured the deception would continue. “APS [Atlanta Public Schools] is run like the mob,” one teacher told investigators, saying she cheated because she feared retaliation if she didn’t.
These people, like their colleagues in Wisconsin who defrauded the taxpayers by securing phony doctor's excuses during the budget debate in Madison last spring, are an embarrassment to public school professionals everywhere and have no business in any position where they work with kids or collect a salary and benefits paid by the taxpayer. They should be fired, decertified, and deeply ashamed of themselves.