Nationalizing the curriculum despite the law

The federal government is forbidden, by law, to establish a national curriculum for the public schools.  So, instead, the Department of Education is orchestrating a “voluntary” movement by dangling federal money to the states that go along.  So far, 45 states are on board, creating a de facto national curriculum.  Peter Wood of the Chronicle of Higher Education, no less, calls foul:

Before 1965, the federal government more or less left the matter entirely to the states, but that year President Johnson championed legislation, the Elementary and Secondary School Act (ESEA) that put the federal government in the business of funding portions of school districts’ budgets. The framers of the bill, aware that one thing leads to another, put in stiff statutory limitations that prohibited federal involvement with the K-12 curriculum.

Lots of federal legislation affecting the schools has followed over the years but all of it has stuck to the principle that the curriculum is a no-go area for federal authorities. The General Education Provisions Act (GEPA), the Department of Education Organization Act, and the No Child Left Behind Act were solidly aligned on this point. As GEPA put it:

No provision of any applicable program shall be construed to authorize any department, agency, officer, or employee of the United States to exercise any direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum, program of instruction, administration, or personnel of any educational institution, school, or school system…

There are no acts of Congress that create significant loopholes in these prohibitions, and none that offer up a contrary principle inviting the federal government to step into curricular matters.

These laws have been a source of frustration for would-be education reformers, left and right, who often have often been drawn to the idea that with the benefit of a little federal government muscle they could, at last, cut through the seaweed that has so far choked every effort to reform the nation’s public schools.

The Obama administration, facing the same legal obstacles as all its predecessors, chose a novel tactic. It orchestrated a program under the auspices of National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) which proposed standards that the states would be free to adopt. But “free” came with some sweeteners. The Race to the Top dangled hundreds of millions of dollars among those states that chose to adopt the Common Core. As for those states that chose not to…they face some interesting consequences too. I wrote about this last year in “The Core Between the States.”

Eitel and Talbert’s nineteen-page analysis of the legal standing of the Common Core State Standards mounts a powerful case that the Obama administration has overstepped itself. The Road to a National Curriculum does its most devastating work by quoting from Department of Education documents that lay out in plain language the effort to use federal resources to achieve results prohibited by statute. One such document, for example, explains, “The goal of common K-12 standard is to replace the existing patchwork of State standards that results in unequal expectations based on geography.”

Whether you think that is a worthy goal is beside the point. Over the last fifty years Congress has repeatedly told the executive branch of the U.S. government “keep out” of the school curriculum.

via The Core Conundrum – Innovations – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Wood points out that whether one favors a national curriculum or not, this is surely a violation of the law.

What would be the advantages of a national curriculum?  (Would it be likely to lift academic standards and improve learning for the entire country?)  What would be the disadvantages?  (Wood thinks it would squelch what bright spots there are and drag all schools down into mediocrity.)   What other issues do we need to be concerned about?

HT:  Jackie

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Spaulding

    It would lead to everyone having the same amount of dumb. Which is in the best interests of the democratic party to keep as much of the electorate as ignorant as possible and incapable of independent thought so that students will just believe what their masters want them to. This will also create an electorate that is democratic party voters in perpetuity.

  • Spaulding

    It would lead to everyone having the same amount of dumb. Which is in the best interests of the democratic party to keep as much of the electorate as ignorant as possible and incapable of independent thought so that students will just believe what their masters want them to. This will also create an electorate that is democratic party voters in perpetuity.

  • Random Lutheran

    Don’t think that this isn’t attractive on a bipartisan level; the GOP would just give us a different flavor of dumb.

  • Random Lutheran

    Don’t think that this isn’t attractive on a bipartisan level; the GOP would just give us a different flavor of dumb.

  • LAJ

    We would soon be like Canada with the government dictating even what homeschools teach.

  • LAJ

    We would soon be like Canada with the government dictating even what homeschools teach.

  • Kirk

    @1 IT’S A CONSPIRACY!!!1!one

    Anyways, I literally know nothing about the laws surrounding curricula, but this notion of the federal government using incentives to bring states in line with federal policy doesn’t seem that novel. In fact, it happens all the time. Why do you think every state’s drinking age is 21?

  • Kirk

    @1 IT’S A CONSPIRACY!!!1!one

    Anyways, I literally know nothing about the laws surrounding curricula, but this notion of the federal government using incentives to bring states in line with federal policy doesn’t seem that novel. In fact, it happens all the time. Why do you think every state’s drinking age is 21?

  • formerly just steve

    Great! Maybe then all children would have access to the kind of stellar educational system that kids in the District of Columbia have. Wouldn’t that be something!

  • formerly just steve

    Great! Maybe then all children would have access to the kind of stellar educational system that kids in the District of Columbia have. Wouldn’t that be something!

  • Jon

    And it’s why we used to have 55mph as the national speed limit, too.

    But why is it a bad idea? Because it allows the federal government to intrude on what should be left to the states. It is an example of the ever-lengthening tentacles of the federal government that allow which ever party is in charge to direct things rightly left to the states.

  • Jon

    And it’s why we used to have 55mph as the national speed limit, too.

    But why is it a bad idea? Because it allows the federal government to intrude on what should be left to the states. It is an example of the ever-lengthening tentacles of the federal government that allow which ever party is in charge to direct things rightly left to the states.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    It really isn’t new for education either. You are kidding your self if you don’t think the same things were happening with No Child Left Behind. The same incentives were still there to adopt the nationally recommended curriculum. I think the only difference now is who is president and who do people like more.

    Spaulding and Random Lutheran hit pretty close to the mark. It has become the club to bring everybody in line with my way of thinking. And that means teaching them only a certain few things and ways to think. So, in essence creating the right kind of ignorance that those in charge see as beneficial to the State.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    It really isn’t new for education either. You are kidding your self if you don’t think the same things were happening with No Child Left Behind. The same incentives were still there to adopt the nationally recommended curriculum. I think the only difference now is who is president and who do people like more.

    Spaulding and Random Lutheran hit pretty close to the mark. It has become the club to bring everybody in line with my way of thinking. And that means teaching them only a certain few things and ways to think. So, in essence creating the right kind of ignorance that those in charge see as beneficial to the State.

  • Joe

    Kirk – historically speaking it is a very novel idea. And the 21 year old drinking age is a good example of proving that point. That decision to bribe states to adopt a 21 year old drinking age actually generated a US Supreme Court case. This was in the 1980′s (during the Reagan administration no less) not in the early years of the republic. The holding – while the federal gov’t can’t legislate a specific drinking age, they can withhold federal highway money from states that don’t go along with the federal gov’ts “request.” The court required some level of connection between the purpose of the money and the federal gov’t’s “request.”

    GWB – did the same disservice to then the notion of federalism with the No Child Left Behind Act. Of course, wrt to education there is a bigger more, fundamental question – which of the enumerate powers allows the federal gov’t to spend any money on education? Before you can get to the legality of the terms of the bribe it would seem you ought to deal with the whether they can legitimately spend on the subject in the first place. (Of course they’ll point to the apparently limit less commerce clause).

  • Joe

    Kirk – historically speaking it is a very novel idea. And the 21 year old drinking age is a good example of proving that point. That decision to bribe states to adopt a 21 year old drinking age actually generated a US Supreme Court case. This was in the 1980′s (during the Reagan administration no less) not in the early years of the republic. The holding – while the federal gov’t can’t legislate a specific drinking age, they can withhold federal highway money from states that don’t go along with the federal gov’ts “request.” The court required some level of connection between the purpose of the money and the federal gov’t’s “request.”

    GWB – did the same disservice to then the notion of federalism with the No Child Left Behind Act. Of course, wrt to education there is a bigger more, fundamental question – which of the enumerate powers allows the federal gov’t to spend any money on education? Before you can get to the legality of the terms of the bribe it would seem you ought to deal with the whether they can legitimately spend on the subject in the first place. (Of course they’ll point to the apparently limit less commerce clause).

  • http://www.facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    The Federal Gov’t coerces the States in all manner of causes by dangling the threat of removing Federal Funding fir not complying.

    In my opinion, this practice ought to be struck down as unconstitutional on the grounds that the Federal Gov’t has no legitimate constitutional interest in what is trying to be coerced. Also, provision of Federal Funding for various programs in the first place (like funding for States’ child protective services departments, for example) is often not a constitutionally legitimate use of federal tax dollars.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    The Federal Gov’t coerces the States in all manner of causes by dangling the threat of removing Federal Funding fir not complying.

    In my opinion, this practice ought to be struck down as unconstitutional on the grounds that the Federal Gov’t has no legitimate constitutional interest in what is trying to be coerced. Also, provision of Federal Funding for various programs in the first place (like funding for States’ child protective services departments, for example) is often not a constitutionally legitimate use of federal tax dollars.

  • DonS

    The huge disadvantage of a national curriculum is the removal of even more control of the education process from parents. Parents have a fundamental right, acknowledged by the Supreme Court, to direct the upbringing of their children. Obviously, their education is a key component of that upbringing, which is why homeschooling, for example, is legal in all 50 states. Historically, public schools were locally controlled, funded by local property taxes, giving parents a significant say in the curriculum and other distinctives of their local schools. They can run for school boards, attend board meetings, pass local referenda, etc., and have a say in how their children are educated.

    Beginning in the 1970′s states began funding local school districts. This was a good development in some ways, in that it evened out the disparities between low-wealth and high-wealth districts, ensuring that schools in poor areas had adequate funding for education. However, it was bad, in that state education bureaucracies, dominated by teachers unions, sprang up to dole out that money, with many strings attached. They saw it as an opportunity to “improve” education compared to what those local yokels were doing. So, now they take your property tax money and give a portion back to you, with restrictions on how each pot of money can be spent, rather than just allowing you to keep most of your property tax money locally, restriction-free, and just supplementing poorer districts. The system would work much better if the state education department were limited to receiving and re-distributing the property tax money state-wide, in block grants without restrictions.

    The move to begin further subsidizing local education at the federal level is a horrible one, entirely driven by teachers unions and their desire to entrench union priorities in the curriculum. There is no legitimate reason whatsoever to interfere with the states in this area, and certainly no legitimate Constitutional authority for doing so. Abolishing the Education Department would cut the deficit by about $100 billion annually.

  • DonS

    The huge disadvantage of a national curriculum is the removal of even more control of the education process from parents. Parents have a fundamental right, acknowledged by the Supreme Court, to direct the upbringing of their children. Obviously, their education is a key component of that upbringing, which is why homeschooling, for example, is legal in all 50 states. Historically, public schools were locally controlled, funded by local property taxes, giving parents a significant say in the curriculum and other distinctives of their local schools. They can run for school boards, attend board meetings, pass local referenda, etc., and have a say in how their children are educated.

    Beginning in the 1970′s states began funding local school districts. This was a good development in some ways, in that it evened out the disparities between low-wealth and high-wealth districts, ensuring that schools in poor areas had adequate funding for education. However, it was bad, in that state education bureaucracies, dominated by teachers unions, sprang up to dole out that money, with many strings attached. They saw it as an opportunity to “improve” education compared to what those local yokels were doing. So, now they take your property tax money and give a portion back to you, with restrictions on how each pot of money can be spent, rather than just allowing you to keep most of your property tax money locally, restriction-free, and just supplementing poorer districts. The system would work much better if the state education department were limited to receiving and re-distributing the property tax money state-wide, in block grants without restrictions.

    The move to begin further subsidizing local education at the federal level is a horrible one, entirely driven by teachers unions and their desire to entrench union priorities in the curriculum. There is no legitimate reason whatsoever to interfere with the states in this area, and certainly no legitimate Constitutional authority for doing so. Abolishing the Education Department would cut the deficit by about $100 billion annually.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    As a teacher I can speak to the practical side of this (illegal) legislation: it will do nothing at all. Since the teachers are put on the spot almost every time for poor student performance (not students misbehaving, or students not studying, or parents not holding kids accountable, etc), there will be no change in any progress. Until a student is held responsible for his education, it will not change.

    For that matter, education should be considered a privilege, not a right.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    As a teacher I can speak to the practical side of this (illegal) legislation: it will do nothing at all. Since the teachers are put on the spot almost every time for poor student performance (not students misbehaving, or students not studying, or parents not holding kids accountable, etc), there will be no change in any progress. Until a student is held responsible for his education, it will not change.

    For that matter, education should be considered a privilege, not a right.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    As Americans, we are, of course, enamored of blaming or crediting everything on the President. (As an aside, this kind of thinking appears to be increasingly getting us the king we’ve always pretended to have, but that’s a discussion for a different day.)

    But surely it’s obvious that fault also lies with the state leaders, as well. They’re the ones giving in to this bribe, as it were! While nobody wants to voluntarily give up money that would otherwise be coming their way, you’d think that at some point, some state leader would decide it’s not worth it. That they want to make their own decisions about education, drinking age, speed limits, and pretty much everything else.

    Wouldn’t you expect that some particularly “conservative” would be the first to take this step and break the chains?But, whoops, it’s the conservative states that benefit the most from all that federal funding!

    Let’s look at the states that voted the most Republican in the 2008 elections and see what they got in terms of federal spending received per dollar of taxes paid, shall we? (Positive figures are the percent of funding received over taxes paid, plus the ranking thereof, with #1 being the state that gets the most funding per tax dollars paid).

    Wyoming: +11% (#23)
    Utah: +7% (#29)
    Idaho: +21% (#20)
    Oklahoma: +36% (#15)
    Alabama: +66% (#7)
    Mississippi: +102% (#2)
    Louisiana: +78% (#4)
    Arkansas: +41% (#14)
    South Dakota: +53% (#8)
    Nebraska: +10% (#25)
    North Dakota: +68% (#6)
    Alaska: +84% (#3)
    Tennessee: +27% (#19)
    South Carolina: +35% (#16)
    Kentucky: +51% (#9)
    West Virginia: +76% (#5)

    So the states that, in theory, might be most idealogically opposed to federal meddling are, in reality, the ones suckling most at the federal teat (with the possible exception of Utah, which is in the lower half, but still gets more out of the federal goverment than it pays in).

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    As Americans, we are, of course, enamored of blaming or crediting everything on the President. (As an aside, this kind of thinking appears to be increasingly getting us the king we’ve always pretended to have, but that’s a discussion for a different day.)

    But surely it’s obvious that fault also lies with the state leaders, as well. They’re the ones giving in to this bribe, as it were! While nobody wants to voluntarily give up money that would otherwise be coming their way, you’d think that at some point, some state leader would decide it’s not worth it. That they want to make their own decisions about education, drinking age, speed limits, and pretty much everything else.

    Wouldn’t you expect that some particularly “conservative” would be the first to take this step and break the chains?But, whoops, it’s the conservative states that benefit the most from all that federal funding!

    Let’s look at the states that voted the most Republican in the 2008 elections and see what they got in terms of federal spending received per dollar of taxes paid, shall we? (Positive figures are the percent of funding received over taxes paid, plus the ranking thereof, with #1 being the state that gets the most funding per tax dollars paid).

    Wyoming: +11% (#23)
    Utah: +7% (#29)
    Idaho: +21% (#20)
    Oklahoma: +36% (#15)
    Alabama: +66% (#7)
    Mississippi: +102% (#2)
    Louisiana: +78% (#4)
    Arkansas: +41% (#14)
    South Dakota: +53% (#8)
    Nebraska: +10% (#25)
    North Dakota: +68% (#6)
    Alaska: +84% (#3)
    Tennessee: +27% (#19)
    South Carolina: +35% (#16)
    Kentucky: +51% (#9)
    West Virginia: +76% (#5)

    So the states that, in theory, might be most idealogically opposed to federal meddling are, in reality, the ones suckling most at the federal teat (with the possible exception of Utah, which is in the lower half, but still gets more out of the federal goverment than it pays in).

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @12 What is the source you used for the numbers?

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @12 What is the source you used for the numbers?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DLit2C (@13), the tax data came from Tax Foundation. It’s slightly old (2005).

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DLit2C (@13), the tax data came from Tax Foundation. It’s slightly old (2005).

  • Joe

    tODD – do agree that the state’s share in the blame for taking the bribe. But I think their blame is less than the one making the bribe because they are largely powerless at the federal level to prevent these bribes from becoming policy. They are given a take it our leave it choice. I would prefer they left it, but then they also have to deal with finding an alternate funding source. Not a great spot to be in.

    You know what would go a long way to ending much of this trashing of federalism? Returning the Senate to the states. The direct election of senators – removed the states only actual check on the power of the federal gov’t. Prior to 1913, senators (in most states) were selected as the founders intended – by the legislatures of of the states. Repeal the 17th amendment and return the senate to its rightful place as the guardian of the states’ sovereignty and much of this may be avoided.

  • Joe

    tODD – do agree that the state’s share in the blame for taking the bribe. But I think their blame is less than the one making the bribe because they are largely powerless at the federal level to prevent these bribes from becoming policy. They are given a take it our leave it choice. I would prefer they left it, but then they also have to deal with finding an alternate funding source. Not a great spot to be in.

    You know what would go a long way to ending much of this trashing of federalism? Returning the Senate to the states. The direct election of senators – removed the states only actual check on the power of the federal gov’t. Prior to 1913, senators (in most states) were selected as the founders intended – by the legislatures of of the states. Repeal the 17th amendment and return the senate to its rightful place as the guardian of the states’ sovereignty and much of this may be avoided.

  • formerly just steve

    Of course, conservatives are guilty of what they decry. Liberals are guilty of what they decry. So all is fair game. Nobody can say what is good or bad. Let’s just do whatever.

    Yes, if would be fantastic if we were all morally and ideologically consistent. But we’re not. What does that mean other than that we’re not?

  • formerly just steve

    Of course, conservatives are guilty of what they decry. Liberals are guilty of what they decry. So all is fair game. Nobody can say what is good or bad. Let’s just do whatever.

    Yes, if would be fantastic if we were all morally and ideologically consistent. But we’re not. What does that mean other than that we’re not?

  • DonS

    tODD @ 12: That is indeed a convenient argument, particularly if you are not a conservative and stand to benefit from its implementation. The same argument is made against conservatives with respect to Social Security, and it’s just as much nonsense in that context.

    What you are asking is that conservative states (none of which are monolithically conservative, just as blue states aren’t monolithically liberal) continue to pay the high taxes required to fund an expansive government education program, but stop taking any expenditures from that program. In other words, pay in, but take nothing out, and essentially ask your own taxpayers to pay a second time at the state and/or local level for the same service. That’s a nice deal for the blue states, isn’t it? ;-) Win-win.

    That happens occasionally, you know, such as when Florida and some other states refused to take any high speed rail funding, knowing that high speed rail as it is currently conceived is an utter and useless boondoggle. But the problem is the existence of the program, including the high federal taxes that result, not just the benefits. If a governor or legislature refused, on principle, to accept available federal funding for education, that state would quickly shift from red to blue, given the propensity of public education unions in every state, with their immense political muscle, and the fact that a shift of 10% of moderate voters from one side to the other shifts the power balance from one party to another in practically every state.

    As individuals, we can, of course, act in accordance with this principle. Our family does, in respect to public schools. We pay thousands of dollars to fund them, and then pay that money again to fund their private education. But it doesn’t work at the state level because of the realities of politics.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 12: That is indeed a convenient argument, particularly if you are not a conservative and stand to benefit from its implementation. The same argument is made against conservatives with respect to Social Security, and it’s just as much nonsense in that context.

    What you are asking is that conservative states (none of which are monolithically conservative, just as blue states aren’t monolithically liberal) continue to pay the high taxes required to fund an expansive government education program, but stop taking any expenditures from that program. In other words, pay in, but take nothing out, and essentially ask your own taxpayers to pay a second time at the state and/or local level for the same service. That’s a nice deal for the blue states, isn’t it? ;-) Win-win.

    That happens occasionally, you know, such as when Florida and some other states refused to take any high speed rail funding, knowing that high speed rail as it is currently conceived is an utter and useless boondoggle. But the problem is the existence of the program, including the high federal taxes that result, not just the benefits. If a governor or legislature refused, on principle, to accept available federal funding for education, that state would quickly shift from red to blue, given the propensity of public education unions in every state, with their immense political muscle, and the fact that a shift of 10% of moderate voters from one side to the other shifts the power balance from one party to another in practically every state.

    As individuals, we can, of course, act in accordance with this principle. Our family does, in respect to public schools. We pay thousands of dollars to fund them, and then pay that money again to fund their private education. But it doesn’t work at the state level because of the realities of politics.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    One of my high school age parishioners posted this to her face book page. I think it needs to be shared here.
    “Drop out of school before your mind rots from exposure to our mediocre educational system. Forget about the Senior Prom and go to the library and educate yourself if you’ve got any guts. Some of you like Pep rallies and plastic robots who tell you what to read.”
    ― Frank Zappa
    Frank and I went to the same school, in different eras, but it seems nothing changed. I took his advice.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    One of my high school age parishioners posted this to her face book page. I think it needs to be shared here.
    “Drop out of school before your mind rots from exposure to our mediocre educational system. Forget about the Senior Prom and go to the library and educate yourself if you’ve got any guts. Some of you like Pep rallies and plastic robots who tell you what to read.”
    ― Frank Zappa
    Frank and I went to the same school, in different eras, but it seems nothing changed. I took his advice.

  • SKPeterson

    Todd – Weigh the federal expenditures relative to the percentage of federally owned lands including military bases. That will account for much of the outlay relative to taxes paid in, I suspect.

  • SKPeterson

    Todd – Weigh the federal expenditures relative to the percentage of federally owned lands including military bases. That will account for much of the outlay relative to taxes paid in, I suspect.

  • SKPeterson

    Also, I suspect that Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama are recipients of federal largesse coming from the twin impacts of Katrina and the Gulf oil spill. Louisiana also gets an inordinate amount of money related to keeping the lower Mississippi River in channel as a contributing factor.

  • SKPeterson

    Also, I suspect that Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama are recipients of federal largesse coming from the twin impacts of Katrina and the Gulf oil spill. Louisiana also gets an inordinate amount of money related to keeping the lower Mississippi River in channel as a contributing factor.

  • Thankful

    Lurking away, but had to mention this as an aside to the 21 issue. This specific issue is an example of how laws can take on a life of their own and the popular consensus is rarely challenged (or may be encouraged).

    “Contrary to popular belief, since the National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984, not all states specifically prohibit minors’ and young adults’ consumption of alcohol in private settings. That is due to the fact that the federal law is only concerned with purchase and public possession, not private consumption, and contains several exceptions.”

    (From Wikipedia, but source material is derived from http://www.alcoholpolicy.niaaa.nih.gov/Underage_Possession_Consumption_Internal_Possession_of_Alcohol.html?tab=maps)

    On Topic, one can extrapolate a bit from the following scripture, i.e., what is your freedom worth: “But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.”
    1 Tim 6:9-11 (KJV)

  • Thankful

    Lurking away, but had to mention this as an aside to the 21 issue. This specific issue is an example of how laws can take on a life of their own and the popular consensus is rarely challenged (or may be encouraged).

    “Contrary to popular belief, since the National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984, not all states specifically prohibit minors’ and young adults’ consumption of alcohol in private settings. That is due to the fact that the federal law is only concerned with purchase and public possession, not private consumption, and contains several exceptions.”

    (From Wikipedia, but source material is derived from http://www.alcoholpolicy.niaaa.nih.gov/Underage_Possession_Consumption_Internal_Possession_of_Alcohol.html?tab=maps)

    On Topic, one can extrapolate a bit from the following scripture, i.e., what is your freedom worth: “But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.”
    1 Tim 6:9-11 (KJV)

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @12

    LOL

    District of Columbia $5.55 return for every $1.00

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @12

    LOL

    District of Columbia $5.55 return for every $1.00

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS (@17), as much as you would seem to lament the current political status quo, your comment does a pretty bang-up job of defending it. “But, they can’t reject federal funds! That would be unpopular! And might even lead to Republicans not getting elected!”

    Wah. Do you care about fiscal responsibility, or about growing federal power over the states? Then at some point, you might have to champion unpopular moves that will be opposed by the unions. I’m sorry to be the one who has to break this news to you.

    So what’s more important: that a state remain “red”, or that a state take measures to begin dismantling the federal “bribe” system and reclaim power from the federal government? Sadly, I believe you’ve already given your answer to this question.

    Which is odd, because you also provided an example of a state, Florida, doing the very thing you seem to be claiming is so politically difficult to do.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS (@17), as much as you would seem to lament the current political status quo, your comment does a pretty bang-up job of defending it. “But, they can’t reject federal funds! That would be unpopular! And might even lead to Republicans not getting elected!”

    Wah. Do you care about fiscal responsibility, or about growing federal power over the states? Then at some point, you might have to champion unpopular moves that will be opposed by the unions. I’m sorry to be the one who has to break this news to you.

    So what’s more important: that a state remain “red”, or that a state take measures to begin dismantling the federal “bribe” system and reclaim power from the federal government? Sadly, I believe you’ve already given your answer to this question.

    Which is odd, because you also provided an example of a state, Florida, doing the very thing you seem to be claiming is so politically difficult to do.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    SK (@19, 20), feel free to do your own research, but I’m not going to (dis)prove your hypotheses for you.

    Also, as I noted, the data I used was from 2005, and as such is unlikely to include any “federal largesse” from Katrina, much less Deepwater Horizon.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    SK (@19, 20), feel free to do your own research, but I’m not going to (dis)prove your hypotheses for you.

    Also, as I noted, the data I used was from 2005, and as such is unlikely to include any “federal largesse” from Katrina, much less Deepwater Horizon.

  • SKPeterson

    The correlations are not exact, but perhaps indicative. I have colleagues who have also noted (you will be shocked by this I know) that federal dollars flow in large amounts from various programs to the districts of Congressmen who sit on various committees responsible for financial allocations. Moreover, the longer a person has been in office, and the more powerful they are in the committee (somewhat adjusted by political party), the more money flows in to their districts.

    A curious case is Nevada. A Blue-Red state with massive federal land ownership, but not in the top 10.

  • SKPeterson

    The correlations are not exact, but perhaps indicative. I have colleagues who have also noted (you will be shocked by this I know) that federal dollars flow in large amounts from various programs to the districts of Congressmen who sit on various committees responsible for financial allocations. Moreover, the longer a person has been in office, and the more powerful they are in the committee (somewhat adjusted by political party), the more money flows in to their districts.

    A curious case is Nevada. A Blue-Red state with massive federal land ownership, but not in the top 10.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 23: It’s a broader issue than Republicans vs. Democrats. It’s an issue of governing philosophy. And the move you so coyly suggest would, in a short period of time, entrench big government more firmly in the U.S. than anything else that could be done. It’s a terrible political strategy that would cost conservatives their seats and lead to rampant government spending.

    Do you care about fiscal responsibility, or about growing federal power over the states? Then at some point, you might have to champion unpopular moves that will be opposed by the unions.

    — Agreed. But the better political approach is to tackle the whole problem — taxation and spending — at the federal level. Now, if states could opt out of programs entirely, both their funding and their benefits, it would be different. But to not take the funding while still having to pay the taxes, thus effectively re-distributing your taxpayer’s hard-earned money to other states, in toto, that is political suicide which will quickly unravel everything you are trying to accomplish.

    So what’s more important: that a state remain “red”, or that a state take measures to begin dismantling the federal “bribe” system and reclaim power from the federal government? Sadly, I believe you’ve already given your answer to this question.

    A false choice, that. If the state doesn’t remain red, the dismantling will quickly reverse.

    But, you know that.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 23: It’s a broader issue than Republicans vs. Democrats. It’s an issue of governing philosophy. And the move you so coyly suggest would, in a short period of time, entrench big government more firmly in the U.S. than anything else that could be done. It’s a terrible political strategy that would cost conservatives their seats and lead to rampant government spending.

    Do you care about fiscal responsibility, or about growing federal power over the states? Then at some point, you might have to champion unpopular moves that will be opposed by the unions.

    — Agreed. But the better political approach is to tackle the whole problem — taxation and spending — at the federal level. Now, if states could opt out of programs entirely, both their funding and their benefits, it would be different. But to not take the funding while still having to pay the taxes, thus effectively re-distributing your taxpayer’s hard-earned money to other states, in toto, that is political suicide which will quickly unravel everything you are trying to accomplish.

    So what’s more important: that a state remain “red”, or that a state take measures to begin dismantling the federal “bribe” system and reclaim power from the federal government? Sadly, I believe you’ve already given your answer to this question.

    A false choice, that. If the state doesn’t remain red, the dismantling will quickly reverse.

    But, you know that.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS (@26) said:

    The move you so coyly suggest would, in a short period of time, entrench big government more firmly in the U.S. than anything else that could be done.

    “Coyly”? Do you really think my entire animus here is to champion Democratic electoral victories? If so, you really haven’t been paying attention to my political thoughts. I mean, you and I are, in theory, more or less on the same page here, as to the end goal. But we differ as to tactics.

    Regardless, I remain unconvinced that the status quo you’re effectively defending is superior than trying something — anything — else.

    But the better political approach is to tackle the whole problem — taxation and spending — at the federal level.

    Time was, conservatives believed that problems were best dealt with at the smallest applicable level of government, which was more responsive to citizens and more easily tinkered with. That time is many decades past, of course.

    Still, I see little evidence to justify your belief that ignoring the states’ role in this issue and focusing solely on the federal level will accomplish anything. Obviously, it’s possible to get a state to reject some amount of federal funding — you gave an example of just that. But it seems rather naive to think that you’re going to convince enough people to reverse this problem at the federal level, given that it essentially has overwhelming bipartisan support.

    To wit, how are you not simply defending the status quo by dismissing any notion of states making hard choices and foregoing federal funding?

    I mean, you’ve also demonstrated that you understand how to make such sacrifices at the family level when it comes to education — you and not a small number of others. Even though homeschooling is financially disadvantageous to you, you do it, because it is the better option for your family. Why do you so quickly dismiss a similar approach for states wanting more control over themselves?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS (@26) said:

    The move you so coyly suggest would, in a short period of time, entrench big government more firmly in the U.S. than anything else that could be done.

    “Coyly”? Do you really think my entire animus here is to champion Democratic electoral victories? If so, you really haven’t been paying attention to my political thoughts. I mean, you and I are, in theory, more or less on the same page here, as to the end goal. But we differ as to tactics.

    Regardless, I remain unconvinced that the status quo you’re effectively defending is superior than trying something — anything — else.

    But the better political approach is to tackle the whole problem — taxation and spending — at the federal level.

    Time was, conservatives believed that problems were best dealt with at the smallest applicable level of government, which was more responsive to citizens and more easily tinkered with. That time is many decades past, of course.

    Still, I see little evidence to justify your belief that ignoring the states’ role in this issue and focusing solely on the federal level will accomplish anything. Obviously, it’s possible to get a state to reject some amount of federal funding — you gave an example of just that. But it seems rather naive to think that you’re going to convince enough people to reverse this problem at the federal level, given that it essentially has overwhelming bipartisan support.

    To wit, how are you not simply defending the status quo by dismissing any notion of states making hard choices and foregoing federal funding?

    I mean, you’ve also demonstrated that you understand how to make such sacrifices at the family level when it comes to education — you and not a small number of others. Even though homeschooling is financially disadvantageous to you, you do it, because it is the better option for your family. Why do you so quickly dismiss a similar approach for states wanting more control over themselves?

  • DonS

    tODD @ 27:

    “I mean, you and I are, in theory, more or less on the same page here, as to the end goal. But we differ as to tactics.” — Agreed. We’re talking tactics, and we disagree as to the most effective ones.

    Time was, conservatives believed that problems were best dealt with at the smallest applicable level of government, which was more responsive to citizens and more easily tinkered with. That time is many decades past, of course.

    Well, this statement is a little disingenuous. Conservatives continue to believe problems are best dealt with at the local government level. But, when the problem is with federal government, then you have to approach the solutions at that level.

    Obviously, it’s possible to get a state to reject some amount of federal funding — you gave an example of just that. But it seems rather naive to think that you’re going to convince enough people to reverse this problem at the federal level, given that it essentially has overwhelming bipartisan support.

    Yes. And states should reject funding for boondoggles like HSR, because it makes good sense for the state, particularly if local and state funds are also required, and because it sets an example of responsibility using a program that is not particularly politically significant to most voters. I don’t think I’m naive. I realize that a majority of voters are addicted to federal handouts, and that the establishment generally encourages that addiction to further its desire for power. So, what do you do? Throw up your hands? Or begin to fight back and educate the citizens on the long-term dangers to future generations of the kind of fiscal irresponsibility we are addicted to, as well as developing young politicians who understand the dangers and are willing to take a different road? And, if you decide the latter is the better course, then you need to build the bench — helping these young politicians gain experience by taking lower offices — city council, school boards, county supervisors, assembly, etc., until they are ready to run for a federal office. To pull the pin of the grenade by encouraging these politicians to reject school funding, which, as you acknowledge, is near and dear to the hearts of an overwhelming majority of voters who do not (yet) understand the dangers of this metastasizing federal bureaucracy, destroys the whole approach, and for no good and lasting purpose.

    You may not agree, but that should fully answer your question.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 27:

    “I mean, you and I are, in theory, more or less on the same page here, as to the end goal. But we differ as to tactics.” — Agreed. We’re talking tactics, and we disagree as to the most effective ones.

    Time was, conservatives believed that problems were best dealt with at the smallest applicable level of government, which was more responsive to citizens and more easily tinkered with. That time is many decades past, of course.

    Well, this statement is a little disingenuous. Conservatives continue to believe problems are best dealt with at the local government level. But, when the problem is with federal government, then you have to approach the solutions at that level.

    Obviously, it’s possible to get a state to reject some amount of federal funding — you gave an example of just that. But it seems rather naive to think that you’re going to convince enough people to reverse this problem at the federal level, given that it essentially has overwhelming bipartisan support.

    Yes. And states should reject funding for boondoggles like HSR, because it makes good sense for the state, particularly if local and state funds are also required, and because it sets an example of responsibility using a program that is not particularly politically significant to most voters. I don’t think I’m naive. I realize that a majority of voters are addicted to federal handouts, and that the establishment generally encourages that addiction to further its desire for power. So, what do you do? Throw up your hands? Or begin to fight back and educate the citizens on the long-term dangers to future generations of the kind of fiscal irresponsibility we are addicted to, as well as developing young politicians who understand the dangers and are willing to take a different road? And, if you decide the latter is the better course, then you need to build the bench — helping these young politicians gain experience by taking lower offices — city council, school boards, county supervisors, assembly, etc., until they are ready to run for a federal office. To pull the pin of the grenade by encouraging these politicians to reject school funding, which, as you acknowledge, is near and dear to the hearts of an overwhelming majority of voters who do not (yet) understand the dangers of this metastasizing federal bureaucracy, destroys the whole approach, and for no good and lasting purpose.

    You may not agree, but that should fully answer your question.

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