Earlier this week, Mitt Romney criticized Obama’s “jobs plan” for being the same old same old: more teacher, more cops, more firefighters. The Left, of course, pounced, claiming that Republicans hate education, safe streets, fireproof houses, baseball and apple pie. Russ Robert’s response exposes how vapid this thinking is:
I didn’t follow the Romney narrative. But he was on to something even if he indeed did backtrack–Obama wants to grow the public sector and so does Krugman. They both want more teachers (and police and firefighters, presumably.) The current level is never optimal. More is better. It doesn’t matter if the number has grown dramatically lately. More is better. Similarly, we never spend enough on education. So if you want to spend less on education, that means you’re against education. The fact that there is little evidence that spending more actually produces more education is ignored. Spending on education is presumed to produce more education. Similarly, adding teachers and reducing class size means more education even if there is little evidence of this effect.
Precisely. We have allowed the debate to be defined this way. We even rank states by per-pupil education spending, as though spending money were the entire goal of the public education system. Oh wait, spending money is the primary goal of the public education system. That it can educate kids is a happy side effect.
The thing is that Krugman, at least, knows this is bullshit. He’s an economist, for Smith’s sake. Car makers employ far fewer workers than they used to. Does that mean our cars are worse than they were fifty years ago? Farming used to occupy the majority of Americans; now it’s about 2%. Do we have less food? Would doubling the number of Congressmen produce better legislation? Would doubling the number of lawyers produce more justice? Sometimes, you need more people. But sometimes the problem is far far deeper than just not having enough hands on deck.
The idea that the education sector can never have enough teachers is a fallacy. No one know the ideal number of teachers or the ideal class size. We do know that massive increases in the later and decreases in the former have produced no progress. The car is stalled on the side of the road and all the liberals can think of is, “put in more gas”.
They’re just not thinking any more; they’re reacting. They are falling on their old dogma because they have no ideas anymore. Obamacare was their biggest idea in the last decade and even that was stolen from Mitt Romney. And so all the Left has is this perpetual endless call for more, bigger and more powerful government. They can not imagine anything else.