By now you very likely know that the voters of San Francisco have just approved a new business tax designed to raise $300 million per year to finally deliver the coup de grace to the problem of homelessness. In approving this measure, the San Franciscans were undeterred by the abject failure of places like New York, Los Angeles and Seattle to reduce “homelessness,” let alone eliminate it, through comparable massive spending increases. Indeed, all of those places have seen “homelessness” soar right along with the spending supposedly designed to have the opposite effect.
Readers here know well about the pervasive issue of government spending worsening the social problems it was supposedly going to fix. See, e.g., “poverty.” There are enough examples out there to fill this blog and many others. For today, let’s take a look at the fascinating subject of public schools, with a focus on those here in New York City.
Perhaps you recall the wave of teachers’ strikes that swept through Republican-led states earlier this year, including West Virginia, Oklahoma and Kentucky. The claim was that the schools needed additional “resources” to properly educate the kids. In each case the legislators backed down and upped the spending. Of course, most of the money went to the teachers to continue doing exactly what they were doing before (although somewhat higher pay was not necessarily inappropriate in these states). We’ll have to wait to see whether any evidence emerges that the spending increases lead to improved educational results.
But in the meantime, it should be extremely enlightening to see whether the highest spending states achieve superior results in return for their efforts. . . .Read More