Sunday, April 26, 2009

American Stinker

The article below is garbage. There are so many flaws, so much conclusion jumping, I'm not even sure where to begin...

Weissberg's outright rejection of what he calls "Say's Law" is unsubstantiated and flat-out untrue. Few people demanded cell phones before they became available en masse. Same with iPods. In some instances, supply DOES create demand. Henry Ford commented that if they had listened to what the public wanted, they would have built faster horses.

Second, Weissberg mischaracterizes what "demand" actually means. To say "I'd like a cheeseburger" is not demand in the economic sense. To say "I'll pay $5 for a cheeseburger" IS demand. What advocates of free market solutions to education point out is that the unionized government monopoly destroys demand (backed by money, in the economic sense) by confiscating private funds which could otherwise go to the private sector. Absent this abhorrent seizure of national wealth, parents would have insatiable demand backed by real dollars.

Today's "choice" schemes only apply to those privileged few able to support the unionized government monopoly AND their own private needs. Ironic and hypocritical from a political party self identified with working class Americans.

The idea that parents must be satisfied with the monstrosity that is public education because they're not all flocking to Sylvan is preposterous. It would be like saying people prefer Ford to Porsche because more people own Fords. (Apologies to Ford, as they do in fact deliver a decent product unlike our public schools).

Weissberg goes on to state that "Ironically, free-market reformers mistakenly believe that only the state can permit free-market solutions". Untrue and idiotic. Free market reformers aren't asking government to somehow "permit" free-market solutions. They're asking government to stop obstructing the free market. Creating a third rate school system propped up by seizing private property is the most egregious form of market interference one can imagine. The unions and their puppets don't oppose school choice because they fear it will fail. They oppose it because they fear it will succeed and thereby expose the system for what it is: a multibillion dollar entitlement parasite.

Weissberg's article is so dumb, so ill-conceived and so contrary to what is obvious that it almost seems like a shill article. I certainly hope not, but I have seen first hand how desperate educrats have become in discrediting an end to their gravy train.

Jim Peschke

The above was in response to the American Thinker article titled Demand, Not Supply Drives Educational Achievement by Robert Weissberg.

Free market conservatives passionately insist that school choice will solve America's education woes. So as schools proliferate and competition heats up, academic achievement will soar just as fierce market competition has delivered better and cheaper computers and TVs. This seductive analogy is, unfortunately, hardening into unchallenged dogma. Worse, it misdiagnoses the problem. It is demand, not supply that drives academic attainment. In economic terms, Say's Law -- supply creates demand -- is wrong and Keynes -- demand creates supply -- is correct. If youngsters and parents truly desired academic excellence, the market would happily supply it. Absent demand, no amount of supply, regardless of price, can whet appetites for learning.

To read the rest of the article go to American Thinker.

Cathy Peschke

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