Articles of interest

Education, health care, Kansas school funding, unintended consequences.

Charter schools: Two studies, two conclusions

This Washington Post article looks at two recent studies of charter schools to try and determine whether they perform better or worse than regular public schools. Kansas, in effect, has no charter schools. They’re allowed by state law, but local boards of education must approve them. Few are approved, as the education establishment, including the teachers union, is firmly opposed to charter schools. Most charter schools operate on a much lower budget than regular public schools. As Kansas tries to work its way out of a tight budget, charter schools could provide a way to create diverse educational opportunities at lower cost.

Health Care is Not a Right

(Competitive Enterprise Institute) A discussion of why there is no right to health care, at least not in a country that understands the true meanings of rights. “Whereas genuine rights protect citizens from state coercion, the ‘right to health care’ serves to justify state coercion against a particular part of the population: those who pay taxes. Moreover, by their very nature, such positive demands cannot be clearly defined and hence are capable of infinite expansions. As one need is satisfied, others arise.”

School Districts: Extra Funds Cannot Replace Legislative Budget Cuts

A story from KAKE Television about Kansas State Board of Education member Walt Chappell and the huge fund balances that Kansas schools are holding. Chappell says that some of the money in these funds could provide a way to get through a year of reduced funding from the state. The Kansas Association of School Boards, a group that advocates for more school spending and tax increases to support it, disagrees.

Bush Was a Big-Government Disaster

A Reason Magazine editorial took a look backwards at the George W. Bush presidency: “Bush’s legacy is thus a bizarro version of Ronald Reagan’s. Reagan entered office declaring that government was not the solution to our problems, it was the problem. Ironically, he demonstrated that government could do some important things right—he helped tame inflation and masterfully drew the Cold War to a nonviolent triumph for the Free World. By contrast, Bush has massively expanded the government along with the sense that government is incompetent.”

The Henry Ford of Heart Surgery

The Wall Street Journal article The Henry Ford of Heart Surgery: In India, a Factory Model for Hospitals Is Cutting Costs and Yielding Profits reports on a new model for reducing health care costs: economies of scale. “By driving huge volumes, even of procedures as sophisticated, delicate and dangerous as heart surgery, Dr. Shetty has managed to drive down the cost of health care in his nation of one billion. His model offers insights for countries worldwide that are struggling with soaring medical costs, including the U.S. as it debates major health-care overhaul.”

Cash for Clubbers

An example of unintended consequences at work: The Wall Street Journal found that the cash for clunkers program worked for something else, too: “We thought cash for clunkers was the ultimate waste of taxpayer money, but as usual we were too optimistic. Thanks to the federal tax credit to buy high-mileage cars that was part of President Obama’s stimulus plan, Uncle Sam is now paying Americans to buy that great necessity of modern life, the golf cart. … This golf-cart fiasco perfectly illustrates tax policy in the age of Obama, when politicians dole out credits and loopholes for everything from plug-in cars to fuel efficient appliances, home insulation and vitamins. Democrats then insist that to pay for these absurdities they have no choice but to raise tax rates on other things — like work and investment — that aren’t politically in vogue. If this keeps up, it’ll soon make more sense to retire and play golf than work for living.”

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