As the Arizona debate closes (2/22/2012), I hear the same rhetoric on the first debates of late 2011 on the economy, immigration, balancing the budget, limiting government, and the Middle East, but with four instead of eight. There is a lot to consider, but I have discovered one bone of contention I do have with my fellow Republicans. It has to do with proposals for the federal government to shed some of its baggage that runs up the deficit and [dumping] it on the states. I blogged back in December 2011 that no big government means no big government, passing the woes and debts onto the states is not the answer.
Health care, Social Security, and education were the prime examples. The suggestion that federal government eliminate these services as federal entitlements and have the states take over was mulled over by the final four. Hate to break it to you, but states, counties, cities, and towns have deficits of their own. Turn it over to the states, the money the federal government saves on administering the programs it will end up spending on federal aid to the states setting the fed’s finances back to square one. There is a case to be made with respect to education. Although I am pro-education, Ron Paul was right in stating that the federal government has no constitutional obligation to education; not what teachers and boards of education want to hear, but factually accurate. Standards aside, the scenario is the federal government would get out of the education business turning it over to the states. The states, unable to finance it, would then turn it over to the local branches of government. The states would have to aid to the local boards of education, taking us back to square two; then the states would need federal aid to provide state aid to the locals, back to square one. As I said on my last article, the only bridge open is the private sector.
To make an example out of education, the government should be involved in one and only one capacity, standards setting. Standards setting does not require an entire dedicated department with a few thousand or even a few hundred employees, just one Education Minister. The federal education minister would not have absolute authority nor would he or she need it—he or she would be in conference with fifty-one [state] education ministers for the fifty states and the District of Columbia. Education would be owned, operated, and financed by private sector companies. That’s right, private sector companies like General Electric, Proctor and Gamble, Aetna Insurance, Pratt and Whitney and the like who have a vested interest in educating our youth. The ministers would endure reading and math skills, that Shakespeare is read in senior year in high school, that science and computer technology are as much part of the standard curriculum as reading, writing, and arithmetic. But private sector companies would pay for classroom materials, books, computers, and would pay teachers’ salaries. Most likely a non-union environment, but the private sector could provide a much better package than any teachers’ union ever could. Why is this better?
It is with great pride that I tip my hat to a man named John Higgins, CEO of a company called Neutex, a manufacturer of LED light bulbs. Mr. Higgins went against the grain, as it were and closed a factory in China; that’s right, I said China. He is relocating his manufacturing operation and opening a factory in Detroit, Michigan USA; you heard right, he is moving manufacturing into the United States! Though China’s new $6.00 an hour minimum wage is still a lot less than what you pay an American, Higgins claims American workers are more productive than Chinese workers. Halleluiah! Manufacturing! Right here in the United States! Private Sector Jobs! Catching on, folks?
No question about it, this is priority one, factory workers are the epitome of the middle class and need to be taken care of first. But what about the white collar workers they will need in their corporate offices, also located in Detroit? Families of young people spend thousands and thousands of dollars for a college education for their offspring they will be sending into the working adult world, so they can earn more money and do better than factory work. In the 1990s, into the turn of the twenty-first century, I got my email and Internet services from Earthlink. I would call tech support and would get some guy in India, whose accent was difficult to comprehend on the cordless phone technology of the day. It is just as important that Neutex has a made in America Office too, setting precedence for companies similarly inclined. Can the private sector run education in America efficiency and proficiently? Absolutely! Their future depends on it as does America’s. The good news is many call centers are moving back to the states since many problems can be resolved online and call centers are getting more complex questions.
I hope the next president has the good sense to turn over government services to the private sector, not to state and local governments. As I said in December, no big government means no big government!