I wrote earlier today about President Obama’s appearance at the Catholic-Evangelical Leadership Summit on poverty at Georgetown, where he singled out Fox News for criticism of its news coverage. He did eventually get around to talking about poverty:
“Those who are doing better and better, more skilled, more educated, – luckier – having greater advantages are withdrawing from the commons,” he said. “Kids start going to private schools….
But wait! President Obama went to a ritzy private school in Honolulu, and his daughters attend Washington’s toniest private school, Sidwell Friends. Was Obama engaging in a rare moment of self-criticism? Of course not. He continued:
…kids start working out at private clubs instead of the public parks, an anti-government ideology then disinvests from those common goods and those things that draw us together.”
That led fewer people to care about public institutions, Obama explained, leading to government cuts to important public functions – making the nation less equal.
Obama insisted that there needed to be more investments in public schools, public universities, public early child education and public infrastructure, insisting that funding these organizations both “grows our economy and spreads it around.”
Government cuts? What government cuts? Let’s take education, the most important item on Obama’s list. I think pretty much everyone knows that there has been no decline in spending on education; on the contrary. Spending on education has constantly climbed, without any corresponding improvement in quality. This chart comes from the Department of Education. Click to enlarge:
Enrollment has been stagnant, particularly at the elementary and secondary levels, to per-pupil spending has steadily increased. Again, click to enlarge:
The United States spends considerably more per pupil than the average OECD country, more in fact than any country except Switzerland and Norway:
So where is the “disinvestment”? Where is the “anti-government ideology”? Obama’s comments represent rank ignorance; either that or cynical demagoguery. In truth, the cure for poverty is well known: graduate from high school, get a job–any job–and get married. But the real solution doesn’t fit the left’s agenda.
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