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This commentary was first published in the Minnesota Free Market Institute Weekly Update. For your free subscription, click here.
Neal McCluskey of the Cato Institute (“Feds in the Classroom“) alerts us to a truly disturbing consequence of the federal government’s intervention in education. The U.S. Constitution provides no grant of authority for federal involvement in education. As the founders recognized, a government that has no moral authority to mandate how people worship has no moral authority to indoctrinate people as to how or what to think. The commonality of freedom of religion and freedom of education, blurred by the No Child Left Behind Act, is about to be obliterated by President Obama’s September 8 address to the nation’s school children.
It’s unfortunate that some opponents of federal government-directed health care jumped on the ‘Death Panel’ metaphor instead of the substance of the proposed legislation. Whether the federal legislation intends it or not, a government-directed plan necessarily requires bureaucrats to make life and death decisions that are more far-reaching and more complex than the hyperbolic ‘pulling the plug on grandma.’
Say you were tasked with managing the cost of newborn-care under the proposed “public option” health care plan; What would you do? Should the public health plan allow spending billions of tax dollars on technology and treatment attempting to save low-birth-weight infants when that practice has a high probability of complications yielding a relatively low survival rate with a high probability of ongoing medical and other expenses associated with survival?
In a response to my Pioneer Press column of July 17, Dave Mindeman on the mnpACT! blog falls into the partisan trap with the “so what” argument that figures don’t lie and the choice facing legislators is tax increases or unallotment and clearly Stinson’s research clearly shows unallotment is bad. To give Mr. Mindeman credit, in between insults he makes the Keynesian economic argument, but he ignores the point of my column, or more accurately, disrespects the idea of reform – an interesting position for a “progressive.” He more or less denies the concept of tradeoffs, or at best he minimizes it. So, let’s look at the Keynesian argument and the tradeoffs it entails.