The Failed Policies Of the Past

Guest post by Steve Oliver

The current #Occupier of the White House loves to tell us about the “failed policies of the past…”  But let’s have a look at what the real failed policies of the past are:

The War on Poverty.  According to the Census Bureau, in 1966 the poverty rate was 11.8%.  It has remained in a range between 8.7% and 12.3% for the last 46 years.  Fail.  Giving money to people with no strings attached does not eliminate poverty.  Helping those who cannot help themselves is a moral obligation, but the able-bodied need to work and pay their bills and taxes like the rest of us.  We are told, “We just need more money and we can eliminate poverty and hunger.”  No, you can’t.  When “the dole” pays for cars, computers and cell phones, when food assistance is abused to pay for booze and cigarettes, it is clear the system is an abject failure.

The Federalized, Unionized Public School System.  According to PublicPurpose.com (further links at the page), public schools lag non-elite private schools in nearly every performance indicator while non-elite private schools perform at a lower cost.  According to the PISA Report, the US public education system fails vs. the world as well.  According to the report, the US falls at or below average in 5 of 7 categories, including below average in Math and Science.  But students are really good at “Reflect and Evaluate” and “Non-Continuous Texts” (I don’t think that is much cause for celebration).  But again, we are told by the education establishment and the Federal Government that all they need is more money and the problem will be fixed.  I suggest they show me results with the money they have first.  40+ years of sub-par education by unionized teachers tells me this is also a fail, perhaps and “epic fail”.  As we have seen in Wisconsin, public school teachers are all about themselves, not “the children”.

“Alternative Energy”.  What a disaster this one has been.  Ethanol, solar, wind.  All epic failures with no indication they will every be more than a niche.

It is very difficult to find sources of information on ethanol energy balance that are neither government nor ethanol lobby related.  In 2003, Pimental and Patzak concluded the energy balance for most biofuels was negative.  But even if they are not negative, how good an idea is it to take corn and soybeans out of the world food supply to make a fuel?  Especially when there remains plenty of alternatives in petroleum, natural gas, coal and nuclear.

Solar and wind have been highly subsidized for years, yet fail to make any inroads at all worldwide.  They are both expensive, unreliable and require energy-intensive materials.  The subsidies are rife with corruption and crony capitalism as we have seen with Solyndra.  (Interestingly, if one Googles on the subject of Solyndra, one will find the usual suspects defending continued subsidies and the usual suspects deriding the whole system.)

This is getting a bit long-winded.  There is plenty more to discuss in the real failed policies of the past.  I’ll get back to it later.

Steve Oliver is a Milwaukee area blogger, an all-around good guy. He writes at Beer, Bicycles, and the VRWC (vast right wing conspiracy) and explains: “It’s not that it isn’t happening…We KNOW it’s happening. We just don’t understand the data.” Sure.”

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