More Failed Stimulus Proposals from Obama Administration: Increase Wasteful Education Spending

In a vain effort to try to stimulate the economy, the Obama administration reportedly wants to dump more money into school construction, even though “K-12 facilities spending” is “up 150 percent in two decades,” including monumentally wasteful spending such as the $578 million spent on L.A.’s RFK high school. Obama also wants to dump more money into “K-12 employment” that “has been growing 10 times faster than enrollment for forty years.” In so doing, President Obama has turned a deaf ear to experts who say it makes no sense to increase education spending further. (Much federal education spending is wasted, like the $130,000 in stimulus money spent on a book that demonized white people and promoted racial stereotypes.)

Most education spending does not qualify as a “stimulus,” since it has no short-term economic payoff, and thus can’t jump-start the economy. During the Great Depression, President Roosevelt, a pioneer of “stimulus” spending, actually cut federal education spending, as historian Gordon Lloyd has noted. (See Gordon Lloyd, The Two Faces of Liberalism: How the Hoover-Roosevelt Debate Shapes the 21st Century (2006).) While Roosevelt spent lots of money on other things, and spent more than any other President before him, even the big-spending Roosevelt realized that education spending does nothing to end recessions, and does not jump-start the economy, even if it might be helpful to the economy in the long-run. The Obama administration does not have a clue about how to revive the economy. It claimed that Obama’s $800 billion stimulus package would deliver a short-run “jolt” that would quickly lift the economy, but unemployment rose very rapidly after its passage, and it destroyed thousands of jobs in America’s export sector and elsewhere while outsourcing thousands of energy jobs to foreign countries like China.

Today, infinitely more money is spent on education than was spent on education in President Roosevelt’s day, and a vastly higher percentage of it is wasted, so cutting education spending would be good for America over both the short run and the long run. “Over the last few decades,” education spending “per student has nearly tripled” in inflation-adjusted terms “while test scores at the end of high school are flat.” Cutting education spending would help the economy by redirecting money that is currently wasted on useless degree programs, diploma mills, and ideological fads to more productive sectors of the economy that are currently starved for cash. It would also result in some young people getting a useful job rather than wasting years getting a government-subsidized degree in a useless college major (thanks to an educational arms race for credentials fueled by government subsidies, 5,057 janitors now have advanced degrees like Ph.D’s; 317,000 waiters and waitresses have liberal arts degrees;  and”17,000,000 Americans with college degrees are doing jobs that . . . require less than the skill levels associated with a bachelor’s degree.”  Due to credential inflation, the “master’s degree has become the new bachelor’s degree,” serving as the entry-level degree in some occupations that once didn’t even require a college degree).

The Obama administration wants to send 8 million more people to college, ignoring the credit-rating agency Moody’s, which recently reported on the declining value of liberal-arts majors.

College students seem to learn less and less each year: 36 percent of college graduates learn little or nothing, many courses require little reading, and today’s students  spend “50% less time studying compared with students a few decades ago.”

Some colleges seem to focus on anything other than learning — like their obsession with “diversity.”  Earlier, I wrote about college students selling sex to pay for their inflated tuitions.  Now, there’s another way to use your sex life or fantasies (real or imaginary) to pay for your tuition: Elmhurst College is now asking students if “you consider yourself a member of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered) community?”; if you answer yes, you may qualify for a scholarship designed to promote “diversity.” (Some state colleges in California have advertised sexual-orientation-based scholarships for gays as well, which appears to violate the California state constitution’s equal-protection clause, which applies strict scrutiny to sexual-orientation-based classifications (see In re Marriage Cases (2008)), and treats discrimination as presumptively unconstitutional even when it is against the majority rather than the minority (see Connerly v. State Personnel Board (2001).)

The University of California claims to have cut spending “to the bone,” but it is expanding spending on its vast “diversity” apparatus:

The University of California at San Diego, for example, is creating a new full-time “vice chancellor for equity, diversity, and inclusion.” This position would augment UC San Diego’s already massive diversity apparatus, which includes the Chancellor’s Diversity Office, the associate vice chancellor for faculty equity, the assistant vice chancellor for diversity, the faculty equity advisors, the graduate diversity coordinators, the staff diversity liaison, the undergraduate student diversity liaison, the graduate student diversity liaison, the chief diversity officer, the director of development for diversity initiatives, the Office of Academic Diversity and Equal Opportunity, the Committee on Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Issues, the Committee on the Status of Women, the Campus Council on Climate, Culture and Inclusion, the Diversity Council, and the directors of the Cross-Cultural Center, the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Resource Center, and the Women’s Center.