Academia, Government, and Malinvestment

In the real world, preschools and day care centers are plenteous. The market is one of near-perfect competition, where rates are competitive, competitors are always coming and going, and there isn’t a lot of quality variance: most preschools fundamentally suck, and the “better” ones are often lesser evils. Preschool workers–as a group–do not make a lot of money. If they pull above $10 per hour, it’s a bonanza.

And yet, there are colleges with entire education tracks–early childhood education–designed to prepare students for jobs with such economic limitations.

Making matters worse, we have a government that encourages this. Here’s a real-life example of how this has played out. Names have been changed to protect the guilty.

Let’s say that our federal government has $1 million in grant money available for initiatives in “early childhood education”.

Let’s say we have a university: BSU. The initials “BS” can mean whatever the reader wishes.

BSU decides to compete for the grant, proposing the development of an early childhood education center–i.e. a state licensed “preschool”–that will be staffed with faculty, highly-experienced teachers, and students. This will allow students to gain work experience as they work toward teacher certification, and will allow for a high-quality competitor to traditional day care and preschool centers.

BSU receives the grant, and spends the $1 million to build the complex, hire the director, train staff, and ensure that the facilities comply with state licensing requirements. The workers are supposedly the best of the best: they have a minimum of 5 years of experience, and they are paid $12 per hour.

The center at BSU opens on April 1. Their rates average about $50 per week more than the average preschool in the area.

After a month of being open, the number of children enrolled: ZERO!

So let’s get this straight, folks: We, the taxpayers, have provided $1 million in funding to a college, so they can hire overpaid workers and staff, price their services out of the market, and encourage students to accrue a mountain of debt as they enter a profession that–after 5 years of experience–they will pull down $12 per hour if they get a really good break. Making matters worse, they have NO CHILDREN ENROLLED after being open for a month.

When you consider that this is what college education–with few exceptions (such as the STEM fields)–has devolved into, the reality becomes all the more sobering.

Boehner, Ryan, Obama, and The Never-Ending Fiscal Cliff Charade

Conservatives had better wake up, smell the napalm, and identify the real enemy to their lives and livelihoods.

It isn’t President Obama. Sure, he is no hero to the Constitution. Sure, he cares not about personal liberties or free markets. Sure, he opposes gun rights, supports abortion (even at taxpayer expense) and gay “marriage”. But let’s be honest here: he’s not selling anyone out. In fact, Obama is promoting the very agenda he has promised from day one.

Nor is it Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is recovering from a plane crash in Iranbout with the stomach flu that resulted in a concussion. Sure, she’s a socialist liberal repackaged as a moderate. But…seriously? She is the Left’s version of Pat Buchanan, only not as skilled a wordsmith. Every time she gives a speech, she pisses off more people than she inspires. This is why she couldn’t beat a one-term Senator for the nomination of her own Party in 2008.

Nor is it Sen. Dianne Feinstein (R-CA) or her ilk. Sure, she’d ban–and confiscate–every firearm in America if she could get away with it. But–seriously–if any such gun ban gets passed, it will take far more than her to get it done.

That leads me to the very enemy of the American people: the political leaders who will sell everyone down the river, as they speak of their great accomplishments. They will piss on your back, and tell you it’s raining.

I’m talking about those who claim to be on your side. Like Rep. John “Sobbing Johnny” Boehner (R-OH). Like Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Like Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI). These are the “conservatives” who gave us TARP. They are the “conservatives” who gave us the bailouts of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, AIG, General Motors, and Chrysler. They are the “conservatives” who gave us Medicare Part D under Bush, and lifted nary a finger when Bush expanded government beyond all recognition.

My point here is that your real enemies are not your enemies; they are your “friends”.

Sadly, there are very few friends of the Constitution in either House of Congress. Of those–such as Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)–few have made a forceful case for immediate, drastic spending cuts and a fundamental reduction in the size and scope of government. Even Sen. Paul has spoken in terms of balancing the budget slowly, when in fact the problems are so severe that major cuts must be made now. (Note: Rand Paul needs to make his case now. If he walks the straight and narrow, he will be the best anti-establishment chance since Reagan.)

If The Fiscal Cliff Charade–which gives us over $600 billion in taxes but only $15 billion in spending cuts–is a portrait of things to come, things are not looking good.

The President wants to take up gun control as soon as this Cliffhanger has passed.

If the GOP response here is any indicator of how they will handle the Second Amendment, I’d say we need to get ready for our “friends” to roll over on us.

Wisconsin Recall Election

Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) will face a recall election tomorrow. What is driving the election: public-sector labor unions.

Walker–during his campaign–promised to curb the powers of public sector unions in order to bring the state budget into balance. He has kept his promise: like Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ), he has taken on the teacher unions in order to make tough–bur necessary–spending cuts.

Teacher unions–and other public employee unions–are understandably angry. No one enjoys having their compensation frozen or cut. No one likes having their health benefits curtailed, or having to pay more of a premium for insurance than they did before. Especially given the price inflation that government keeps telling us doesn’t really exist.

Still, public employees, who–with few exceptions–produce nothing economically, must face the music: fairly or unfairly, their pension guarantees, and health care guarantees, are worth the paper on which they are written. Those promises are only as good as the power of the guarantor to deliver on them.

That power–once considered immutable–has sustained severe hits. And it’s not just in Wisconsin. California, Illinois, New Jersey, and Kentucky are all facing actuarial imbalances in their public employee pension systems. Where many states used stimulus money to plug holes in their budgets for the last 3 years, that stimulus money has now run out without real economic growth returning to pre-disaster levels.

Making matters worse, budgets were prepared–and promises were made–with the assumption that the revenue pictures would be better than they are.

As a result, you have three ways you can attempt to cover these shortfalls:

(a) raise taxes
(b) cut spending,
(c) some combination of (a) and (b).

(Yes, you can take out debt to defer current obligations at lower rates while you figure out the financial structure you wish to incorporate (a) and/or (b), but that only changes the amounts and/or degree that (a) and/or (b) are used. Ergo, I don’t list that borrowing as a separate choice.)

As for Gov. Walker, I hope he wins, even though–at best–he is a middle-of-the-road version of what needs to happen.

As for the people of Wisconsin: they will get the government they deserve. Gov. Walker has kept his promises, and done the prudent thing. If they reward him by removing him from office, then they will be telling the whole world that they don’t really care about financial responsibility.

If they reject the recall, they will be telling the whole world that they are not going to be intimidated by union dollars.

It’s Not That Bad

Actually, this scandal is far worse than advertised.

(1) The Secret Service–as well as any of the military Special Operations groups involved–is hardly a group of chaste altar boys. Like any other government entity, these entities attract all types. For every Secret Service agent who could be Tim Tebow with an MP-5, there are at least 2 others who are closer to Roissy on the hedonist scale.

This is probably not the first time that Secret Service folks have gone whoremongering. It is the first time they got caught.

(2) Still, that this scandal spans the Secret Service, and at least two branches of the military–I’m willing to guess the Navy SEALs and Army Special Forces–shows that this is probably not an isolated matter. But even if it is, the potential for catastrophe is deep and wide.

(3) Three of the Secret Service agents involved are (were) members of the Counter-Sniper team. Anyone who says that none of the President’s personal security detail was involved, doesn’t get it.

The counter-snipers–in addition to being some of the top sharpshooters in the world–are integral to the development of the President’s security plans. They know when and where the President will be, as they are positioned so they can provide sniper cover for the President. They know security protocol; they can name names. If any of these guys flip–or otherwise get compromised–situations can get very ugly in a hurry.

And no, I’m not talking about the President’s upcoming Colombia visit, although that should be an area of concern.

Oh heavens no…I’m talking about stateside.

As much as I loathe President Obama, the last thing I would ever want to see is a would-be (or actual) assassin get to the President. In my lifetime, RFK was assassinated; President Ford escaped–TWICE–by the skin of his teeth (Had Squeaky Fromme ensured that her .45ACP was chambered, Ford would have been killed.); Reagan nearly died when John Hinckley, Jr. got close-in for a point-blank shot with a .22. Had Hinckley used a .45ACP, Reagan would have died.

Many folks forget that the Gun Control Act of 1968–which led to a VERY abusive local, state, and federal gun control culture–was a reaction to the assassinations of JFK, RFK, and MLK. The situation got so bad that a DEMOCRAT-CONTROLLED Congress and Senate passed the Firearm Owner Protection Act of 1986, and curtailed the extent to which the BATFE can harass citizens.

If Obama gets hit, the road to fascist Police State will expand from a two-lane road to a ten-lane superhighway lacking a speed limit.

Ergo, I want the Secret Service to do a fabulous job.

The TSA Gets Feministed

Irrespective of what you think of feminists, this incident shows you what kind of nutjobs are working at the TSA.

What Jill wishes to do in her own private life is her own business, and–given that she was willing to air details that most would wish to keep private–I’ll give her credit where credit is due: she stuck it to the TSA.

For once, a feminist gets a thumbs up from here.

How Government Policy is Made

During my days at EDS–working on the plant floor in various GM facilities–a UAW worker gave me this. It aptly described how GM made policy, and–as we are seeing now–aptly describes how government policy is made:

In the Beginning was The Plan
And then came the Assumptions
And the Assumptions were without form
And the Plan was completely without substance
And the darkness was upon the face of the Workers
And the Workers spoke amongst themselves, saying
“It is a crock of shit, and it stinketh.”
And the Workers went unto their Supervisors and sayeth,
“It is a pail of dung and none may abide the odor thereof.”
And the Supervisors went unto their Managers and sayeth unto them,
“It is a container of excrement and it is very strong,
such that none may abide by it.”
And the Managers went unto their Directors and sayeth,
“It is a vessel of fertilizer, and none may abide its strength.”
And the Directors spoke among themselves, saying one to another,
“It contains that which aids plant growth, and it is very strong.”
And the Directors went unto the Vice Presidents and sayeth unto them,
“It promotes growth and is very powerful.”
And the Vice Presidents went unto the President and sayeth unto him,
“This new Plan will actively promote the growth and efficiency of this
Company, and in these Areas in particular.”
And the President looked upon The Plan,
And saw that it was good, and The Plan became Policy.

And this…is how Shit Happens.