Tuesday, August 30, 2011

George Will Writes Another Column Full of Factual and Logical Errors

Ok, This is Not News, a George Will Column Full Logic and Facts Would Be News

George Will is one of those opinion writers whose almost every word  raises the question, why does this man have a column in a regular daily newspaper?  Mr. Will has been writing, forever it seems like, in the Washington Post and is syndicated nationwide.  He is given a forum on ABC every Sunday morning. 

The current column of Mr. Will inveighs against a ruling that a Colorado school scholarship program that provides scholarships for individual to send their children to private schools, which are religious or sectarian in nature is in violation of the Colorado Constitution,

That document says that “no person shall be required to attend or support any ministry or place of worship, religious sect or denomination against his consent.”

Where Mr. Will thinks taxpayer
money should go

Mr. Will does not recognize that taking a taxpayer’s money to give to a school that teaches religion is requiring the taxpayer to support a religion against his consent. So even though he professes to be a Conservative, he would seem to support government taking taxpayer funds to support religion. Not exactly the Conservative position, is it?

The county in question is Douglas County outside Denver. 

Douglas County’s embrace of choice is notable because the median household income here is $99,522 and only 1.9 percent of families are below the poverty line. The county opted for choice because a few years ago conservatives were elected to the school board, and conservatives are pro-choice about most things — owning guns, driving SUVs, using incandescent light bulbs, etc. — other than killing pre-born babies. Liberals are pro-choice mostly about the latter.

Notice that what you have here according to Mr. Will is not support of religion, but giving parents a choice on education.  Of course Mr. Will fails to point out that parents in this county and indeed in every county in the United States do have that choice. The difference here is not choice, but that Conservatives want a taxpayer to pay for that choice, even if it means supporting a religion with which the taxpayers may disagree.

And notice how Mr. Will cleverly (?) brings in abortion into the argument, even though this issue is totally independent of the abortion issue.  As Mr. Will opines, if one is against the Colorado program, one must be in favor of killing babies. 

One of Mr. Will’s arguments is that this type of program is allowed under the U. S. Constitution.

In 2002, the Supreme Court, considering an Ohio program legally indistinguishable from Douglas County’s, said the Constitution is not violated by a scholarship plan that is “neutral with respect to religion” and involves parents directing government aid to schools by their “own genuine and independent private choice.”

But the Colorado program was ruled unconstitutional under Colorado’s Constitution.  Remember when Conservatives used to argue that states should be free to enact their own standards, you know, not having Washington dictate to them.  Mr. Will must have been absent from Conservative Ideology 101 class the day they covered that.

Here is Mr. Will commenting on the economics of the issue, and getting it totally wrong.

This is not an abstract legal question for Diana and Mark Oakley, whose son Nate, 13, has socialization problems associated with Asperger’s syndrome. Desperately unhappy at a large public school, he is, thanks to his scholarship, flourishing at a small private school.

The Oakleys have taken a line of credit to cover the $11,325 of tuition not covered by the $4,575 scholarship and other aid they have received. Such scholarships cost the county less than the more than $8,000 it spends per public school pupil, so the program frees up money for public schools.

See Mr. Will, the $8,000 per pupil is an average cost.  Costs of operating the schools are fixed costs with respect to small changes in enrollment, so the removal of a child from the public school system does nothing to reduce public education costs (In fact what happens is the average cost per pupil will rise).  So the school system is out $4,575.00 per scholarship with no reduction in costs.  This of course means a lesser education for those left behind in the public school system, but Conservatives really don’t care about those students do they. 

A not too hidden agenda of Conservatives is to ultimately destroy free public education in the United States.  In its place they would have 100% private schools, with government providing part but not all of the costs.  For children who cannot get into the private schools or have enough money to pay the costs, well, too bad, public education is not guaranteed by the Constitution.  And we all know how much Conservatives revere the Constitution, (except when it proscribes against what they want to do.  Then the Constitution is irrelevant.)

The Dismal Political Economist thinks the best way to get rid of programs like this that are so destructive to the public school system is to encourage Muslims to open a private school that teaches and supports Islam.  Once Conservatives in Douglas County find their tax money going to such a school, the life of the program can be measured in days, if not hours.

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