Skip to comments.Public Sector Subverting Productive Industry
Posted on 05/16/2002 10:24:53 AM PDT by Stand Watch Listen
In Alexis de Tocqueville's classic work Democracy in America there is a chapter called "What Causes Almost All Americans To Follow Industrial Callings." Alexis de Tocqueville was in the United States from 1831 to 1832. At that time he said Americans "are all led to engage in commerce, not only for the sake of the profit it holds out to them, but for the love of the constant excitement occasioned by that pursuit." He was amazed at the industry not only of the people but the infrastructure they had created to enhance and expand industry.
What has occurred in government since Tocqueville? First, there are now more people working in government than in manufacturing. Second, the educational system, a pivotal institution in any society, has embarked upon teaching through design and neglect that private sector capitalism is the epitome of greed and lacks compassion. Third, many people believe government is the savior of the people from the cruel hands of the private sector. Working conditions and worker treatment by employers needed to be reformed and changed. However, the pendulum has now swung too far through excessive control by government of its citizenry through the power of the purse by taking an ever-larger share of the productive wealth of the country. Fourth, countless laws now enhance the power of government at the expense of freedom and the private sector.
What is the public sector mentality that appears so pervasive in the country? It is the notion and idea that government constantly needs to grow, spend more and more money on education and countless programs without measuring their effectiveness or even in controlling costs. In a sense the practicalities of efficiency, measured outcomes of quality and effectiveness are totally dispensed with and discarded by the public sector. The public sector appears answerable to no one. In our time there is not one instance of a government department or bureaucracy that has had major budget cuts. Government budgets increase no matter what their performance; in fact, budgets increase when failure has been demonstrated. The elected officials appear to have little or no control over public servants and government bureaucracies.
One of the most important changes in the United States is that many educators and public servants have no experience in the private sector. They do not understand the importance of private sector capitalism for the wealth of the nation. Educators often demean, disparage or decry the very system that supports them because they believe in government solving virtually every social problem without recognizing that government by trying to solve one problem often exacerbates another. An example is education. As federal, state and local funding of education has skyrocketed and become immense about $700 billion dollars annually the quality of education has declined. American high school students cannot compete successfully with foreign students in standardized tests, especially in math and science. Some prominent graduate schools in the United States are filled by a majority of foreign students. In the computer industry it has been common to import skilled programmers from lesser developing countries in Asia. And what do educators say today? They need more resources.
De Tocqueville noted, "In the United States, the greatest undertakings and speculations are executed without difficulty, because the whole population are engaged in productive industry, and because the poorest as well as the most opulent members of the commonwealth are ready to combine their efforts for these purposes." Is this the case today? If not, why not? It may be because government at the expense of private initiative is draining the resources of the country. It may be time to also take note of our educational system and place a moratorium on spending and re-evaluate what these educators are actually doing in the classroom. Are they teaching the fundamentals of our founding as a country and also the important principles within the Constitution of the United States? Are they subverting our American heritage for their personal views using socialism to rectify social injustice? Are they teaching expansive government because it personally suits them better? Is there a conflict of interest in teacher and federal employee unions lobbying the government for more resources? Most money for education goes to salaries. Are educators inherently more privileged than the average American whose salary is considerably less than an educator whose job performance of nine months a year may need improvement? The solution may be in having more citizen control supervising education because superintendents and principals often do not succeed. Leaving it to the "professionals" is not totally applicable when public funds are utilized, especially when retired educators are permitted on Boards of Education in a clear conflict of interest. Education impacts upon all of us in society and the public has a right for greater involvement than it currently has in the educational process.
In the 1940s movie Background To Danger, set in Turkey, a young woman says with almost awe to George Raft, the American star of the movie, "It is wonderful to be American, free and independent." We may still say this today, but can we say it tomorrow?
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