Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at thinking, intelligent individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

"No matter how vast your knowledge or how modest, it is your own mind that has to acquire it." Ayn Rand

31 July 2008

Congress: Do they read anything but their fan mail?

Tuesday night a congressional conference committee voted 40-4 for legislation to reauthorize the Higher Education Act. The House and the Senate were expected to vote on this legislation today. How many members do you suppose will have read the 1,158 pages before voting on it? How many will have carefully considered the consequences of each and every paragraph of that legislation?

Yet this legislation will affect the lives of every American. It will affect the quality of education, the cost of education, taxes, contribute to the power of teacher's labor unions, contribute to the corruption of Congress, interfere with local controls of public schools, and interfere with private school management. So, is it at all responsible for any Congressman to vote for such legislation without having read and very carefully evaluated it?

You will say that of course they do not have time to read and think everything through that they act on. Well, if this is so, and it is, then the powers exercised here should be exercised where such due deliberation will be given and where those who fail to carry out the mission can be readily identified and will be allowed to fail. We need to have an education system where someone will then step up and volunteer to replace the failed education manager. Where but the private market could we ever expect that that might happen? But at least when education was a local government management issue by and large, if a county school system was bad, one could opt to live in another county with a better managed school system. If the state colleges were bad, one could choose to live in another state or go to a private college. Now, the school system problems are more and more going to be nationwide and managed by a Congress with so many irons in the fire that nobody even notices what they do to education, least of all them.

Did you know that the bill requires colleges to have a plan so that students will be able to download music and movies legally? Special financial aid is also included for graduate programs at colleges in areas with large minority populations. But principally the bill will make it easier to borrow more money for college and colleges will find it easier to keep increasing tuitions at rates far above the rate of growth of the economy.

This legislation is also projected to cost another $452 billion. But, it is not necessary to read it before voting for it. Does this have something to do with only 9% of Americans approving of the job Congress is doing? And with 52% believing that Congress is failing to do its job?

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