Teacher Claims Sweden Cares More and Spends More on Education Than the U.S.–Richard Rider Responds in Dollars and Sense

Richard Rider, San Diego Tax Fighter, Pens a Letter to the Editor at the Union Tribune–Rejected, he shares it with the public anyway, and I’m sharing it here.  We not only spend more, but he points out what does help Sweden out-perform the U.S.  Sweden supports competition, and empowers their population with school choice, showing real commitment to putting students first:

Dear U-T Editor:

This is an expanded version of a letter I submitted to the SAN DIEGO U-T. Didn’t run, but no need for my research and insights to go to waste. Here ya go.

—–

Dear Editor:

Teacher Sharon Collins’ letter selflessly calls for higher taxes for education, citing socialist Sweden as her shining light.
http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/jun/21/letters-sd-schools-teachers-labor-pact/?print&page=all
She didn’t do her homework.

She thinks Sweden values education more than America because they have a 25 percent sales tax (actually a VAT tax). But that high tax tells us nothing.

For a meaningful comparison, look at education spending per student. Of the 32 OECD counties (the economically advanced countries of the world) providing data, in 2008 Sweden ranks 6th in primary school per student spending, the U.S. 5th. Sweden ranks 9th in secondary school spending, the U.S. ranks 4th.

Sweden spent $9,080 per primary school student. The U.S. spent $9,940. Sweden spent $9,940 per secondary school student — the U.S. spent $12,007.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888932463593

Think that’s not a fair comparison? Compare spending as a percent of GDP. Sweden spends 4.0% of GDP on K-12 education. The U.S. spends 4.1% — without a 25 percent “sales tax.” The OECD average is 3.8%.
http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/education/education-at-a-glance-2011/what-proportion-of-national-wealth-is-spent-on-education_eag-2011-17-en

But here’s the kicker — since 1993 Sweden has had a full-blown school voucher system. ANY parent can take the money spent on public schools and use it for sending their kids to private schools — religious or secular.

All Swedish schools compete for students, making the kids’ education a higher priority than the welfare of the school employees. While controversial when first adopted, education vouchers are now a non-issue in Sweden, as almost everyone supports the common sense choice and competition that this option offers.
http://open.salon.com/blog/richard_rider/2011/01/30/swedens_school_voucher_system_is_a_model_for_america

Inadvertently, teacher Collins picked an interesting subject on which to “school” us. Class dismissed.

Richard Rider

Drugs, Govt Corruption, Public Sector Unions’s Advantage on CA November Ballot Initiatives: Gadfly Radio

Tuesday, June 26,  Stephen Downing, Retired Deputy Chief of Police, and 20 Year Vet with L.A.P.D., and an active voice with  LEAP, joins Martha Montelongo, with Ben Boychuk, Associate Editor with City Journal.

Tune in LIVE at 10:00 a.m. PDT on CRNtalk.com or on USTREAM TV’s CRNStudioLive!”

High Speed Rail, Pubic Sector Unfunded Pension Liabilities, and Public Education are all huge costs with lots of waste, fraud and abuse.   How does our policy of drugs compare to these other issues?  Is it anywhere near as important?

What are the costs and benefits of our current policies?   Can we do better?

Governor Brown’s Pro-tax initiative, submitted later, than other initiatives that have not yet been verified, is verified for the ballot, and  California Forward‘s reform initiative is yet to be officially approved, pending signature verifications and certification.   Coincidence?    The deadline for all initiatives to go on the November General Election ballot is June 28th.  It looks very suspicious.

 

Related links for the show:
A former L.A. cop calls for legalizing drugs:
‘Prohibition is not the answer and it will never be the answer, because it does not and will not work,’ says Stephen Downing. He favors legalizing, regulating and controlling illicit substances.

Cudahy Mayor David Silva Among Three City Officials Who Took Bribe From Marijuana Dispensary, Says U.S. Attorney
By Simone Wilson

The Government Performance and Accountability Act
Californians need to know what they are getting for their tax dollars and what government is achieving. If approved by California voters through the ballot measure process, this proposal will position both state and local governments to effectively manage California’s fiscal affairs to promote concrete results Californians want and value for their tax dollars.

Jerry’s June 20 Miracle
by Joe Mathews

California Forward Waits and Waits
By Joel Fox

High court rebukes union speech assault
June 22, 2012
By Steven Greenhut

Tax Initiative gets approved, but what’s the hold up on Reform Initiative that was submitted earlier?

In California Forward Waits and Waits, Joel Fox writes:

Is today the day the Secretary of State will announce if the California Forward governance reform initiative has the signatures necessary to appear on the November ballot? Time is running out. The constitutional deadline for achieving ballot status is Thursday. Supporters of the measure are demanding to know why the count is not done yet.

They have good reason to be curious. Even though the end date for a random sample verification of signatures for the California Forward measure is July 2 – after the constitutional deadline to make the ballot – the recent approval of the governor’s tax measure raises questions.

Click to read the story

A Life Long Republican, and Top Cop 20 Years on the Force Says for Safety Sake, Legalize drugs.

What if the best way to combat drug abuse, danger and violent crime is to legalize, and regulate?

Life-long Republican, Stephen Downing,  spent 20 years with the Los Angeles Police Department.

He started as a street cop and rose to deputy chief. Along the way, as commander of the Bureau of Investigations, he oversaw the Administrative Narcotics Division. Today, he insists that for the sake of cops, and in the interest of logic and public safety, the United States ought to legalize drugs, starting with marijuana.

Is he nuts?   Is he a immoral?  Unethical?   Does he have no respect for law and order?   Does he hate families?   Does he not care about children and their safety and exposure to drugs and drug abuse?   Why does he say what he says?   Find out, tomorrow on Gadfly Radio, at 10 am.   GadflyRadio.com

Related link:
A former L.A. cop calls for legalizing drugs
‘Prohibition is not the answer and it will never be the answer, because it does not and will not work,’ says Stephen Downing. He favors legalizing, regulating and controlling illicit substances.
June 17, 2012|Steve Lopez
 

Well It Looks Like Law Makers in Sacramento Do Have a Limit to How Much They Will Bend to Public Employee Union Dictates

Steven Greenhut on California Lawmakers Pushing Back Against Police Secrecy

June 22, 2012

It’s dangerous to read too much into some small signs of sanity at the California state Capitol, writes Steven Greenhut, but the death of two obnoxious police-secrecy bills in recent days remind us that there are indeed some limits to the groveling that California legislators will do to earn the favor of law-enforcement unions.

View this article.

California’s Legislators play fast and lose with taxpayer money, services, and resources they’re elected to protect

They make Wall St Shysters like JP Morgan’s Jaime Dimon look like alter boys.

In  California’s Bad Bet Makes JPMorgan’s Look Minor,  David Crane writes:


California legislators on Sept. 10, 1999. They decided that investment gains would cover 100 percent of the cost of retroactive pension increases they granted that day to hundreds of thousands of state workers.

The politicians made the wrong bet — and the result has been a penalty to California’s budget that has averaged $2 billion a year ever since and that will cost the state billions more for decades to come.

Promising that “no increase over current employer contributions is needed for these benefit improvements,” and that the state pension fund would “remain fully funded,” the proposal, known as SB 400, claimed that enhanced pensions wouldn’t cost taxpayers “a dime” because of healthy investment returns. The proposal went on to assert that it “fully expects” the state’s pension costs to remain below $766 million a year for “at least the next decade.”
 

Click here to read the article.

Marcia Fritz, Fix Pensions Now: “We Can’t Afford to Party Like it’s 1999,” Joins Gadfly Radio to talk Dollars and Sense

Tuesday, June 19, on Gadfly RadioMarcia Fritz, C.P.A., and an active voice for Fix Pensions First | FixPensionsFirst.com, joins Martha Montelongo, with CalWatchDog‘s managing editor, John Seiler, and Ben Boychuk, Associate Editor with City Journal.

Tune in LIVE at 10:00 a.m. PDT on CRNtalk.com or on USTREAM TV’s CRNStudioLive!”

Related links for the show:
Viewpoints: When it comes to pensions, we can’t afford to party like it’s 1999 | Fix Pensions First

April 16th

By Marcia Fritz

The Legislature has until June 28 to put a constitutional amendment on the November ballot that would require all state and local government employees to contribute one-half the cost of their pensions. Future employees would be eligible for a hybrid plan that includes a defined benefit (pension) component, but with limits. The balance of the governor’s plan can be enacted through legislation.

Paying half of pension costs won’t be a shock to teachers and state employees – most pay half or close to half today. But thousands of local government employees retire at 55, collect six-figure pensions and lifetime health care benefits, and contribute nothing to their retirement plans.

Voters douse most tax-increase fires | CalWatchDog
June 15, 2012

By Dave Roberts

“…Despite fire tax proponents spending $177,000 (to zero spending by opponents), the tax hike failed to gain a majority of the vote, let alone the two-thirds required to pass.

It was always going to be a tough sell asking for an additional $2,200 per home over 10 years when most people have lost 39 percent of their net worth in the last three years and many are still staggering from the aftershocks of the Great Recession. But the district board decided to go for it anyway, doing the bidding of the firefighters union as it seeks to increase salaries, benefits and jobs.

Fire tax hikes were not that popular throughout the state. In addition to the failure of the East Contra Costa tax hike, a $100 tax hike in Higgins, a $40 hike in North Auburn-Ophir, a $79 tax in Placer Hills and a $59 tax in Crest all failed.

There were two successful fire tax measures: a $150 tax in Newcastle and a four-year extension of a $65 tax in San Mateo County.

Steven Greenhut: ‘Reforms’ will raise California taxes | The Orange County Register
June 16, 2012
By Steven Greenhut

SACRAMENTO – God help California from its current crop of wealthy “moderates” who believe that the only thing that will save our state is a dose of higher taxes. They continue to embrace electoral rule changes that ultimately will undermine the Republicans’ supposedly hard line against tax hikes.June 5 saw was the first election to use the “top two” primary system, a form of open primary designed specifically to elect more candidates who resemble former state Sen. Abel Maldonado and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the two politicians most responsible for its implementation. These are two of the least-effective and least-principled Republicans to attain higher office in recent years, so let this serve as a warning about what is to come.

The emerging California Fusion Party | CalWatchDog
By Wayne Lusvardi
June 18, 2012

Political fusion is an arrangement where two parties on a ballot list the same candidate. Fusion has been outlawed in many states.

A version of fusionism emerging in California is this under the new Top Two system, which voters approved under Proposition 14 back in 2010. The majority party floods election ballots with at least two of its candidates. Then it only allows the minority party to influence election results by endorsing one of the major party’s candidates. Another name for political fusion is cross-endorsement…

Now, the Union Pushback: Following big victories for public-pension reform in California, the union empire takes to the courts.
by Steven Greenhut – City Journal
June 12, 2012

The nation’s public-sector unions have become so emboldened by years of political victories, and so insulated from voter concerns, that they apparently never considered the possibility that voters, given a clear choice, would turn against them. Last Tuesday was as close as the nation gets to a clarifying election, the result of union overreach in Wisconsin and union intransigence in California. “Election results in California and Wisconsin this week are being viewed as a turning point for organized labor—to its detriment,” reported the Los Angeles Times, echoing a story line repeated nationwide.

Steve Greenhut’s Take on the 2012 Fullerton Recall–People taking their governments back

Libertarian columnist Steve Greenhut wrote a recap on the Fullerton Recall, and put it in the context of people taking their governments back. He had lots of good things to say about the Recall and FFFF.org, and the FFFF.org folks posted the piece on their website. It’s definitely an inspiring and instructional story.

“…A campaign-sign slogan captured the essence of the recall: “Failure to lead.” And the final hit mailer against the buffoons, focused on the absurd city-worker compensation packages that exploded during their watch, reinforcing that these officials were not leading the city, but following the demands of union workers.

It was time for a change, and the pension-abuse issue, bolstered by these leaders’ duck-and-cover routine after the Thomas killing, was enough to spark the recall. They were bounced by nearly 2-1 margins, so it wasn’t a fluke. And the ground had been plowed by Bushala and his merry band of local-minded libertarians, thanks to their Friends for Fullerton’s Future blog. Granted, the three soon-to-be-ex-council members provided plenty of side-splitting fodder…”

Click here to read the full op-ed

If they don’t come up with a budget today, no paycheck, but if it’s a wasteful fraud, S&P downgrades CA’s credit rating. Up Against the Wall!

Standard & Poor’s is threatening to downgrade California’s outlook if lawmakers don’t balance the budget without gimmicks. “We are  being disciplined by our lenders who will downgrade us for fudging,” said Assemblywoman Diane Harkey, R-Dana Point.

Bad old  Wall Street bankers are forcing California to clean up its financial mess in order to prevent a catastrophic economic tsunami.

California’s economy is nearly one-eighth of the entire country’s gross domestic product. It totals 30 percent of the debt carried by all 50 states, according to Gabriel Petek, an S&P analyst. Petek, interviewed by FOX Business, said that California is overly reliant  on personal income taxes, and that the state’s tax structure is behind the deficit because of this reliance.

In 2009, the Legislature voted to allow the state to pay … (click here to go to S&P forces Democrats to balance budget | CalWatchDog

No matter how much it hurts, how many more jobs it kills, how less competitive it makes CA businesses, clean energy now, outrageous costs be damned.

The problem is that the state’s target for renewable energy generation is far ahead of the market for such energy. In fact, private R&D funding for renewable energy is $1 billion less than it was 10 years ago, according to the state energy commission.

That’s because, for all the promise of renewable energy, the price of electricity generated by solar, wind, geothermal and other renewable sources remains higher than the price of electricity generated by natural gas and nuclear power, which, between them, continue to generate 70 percent of the Golden State’s electricity.

That’s why lawmakers have mandated an artificial share of the state’s electricity market to renewable energy. That also is why the state government continues to directly and indirectly subsidize renewable energy.

Click to read more, at  State promotes renewable energy at all costs | CalWatchDog

Pleasant Hill police chief retires, says CA pension so lucrative “it doesn’t make sense to keep working.”

Pleasant Hill police Chief Pete Dunbar to retire – ContraCostaTimes.com

Post CA & WI Primaries Analysis with Wayne Lusvardi and John Seiler of CalWatchDog

Tuesday June 12, on Gadfly Radio,  Wayne Lusvardi joins Martha and John Seiler, managing editor of CalWatchDog, to discuss the election results of the  pension reform initiatives in San Diego, and  San Jose, the failed recall of Scott Walker in Wisconsin, the victorious recall of three sitting city council members and the election of their replacements,  in Fullerton, CA, a spectacular story.   and  some of the hot and contentious candidate races that developed  in last week’s CA Primary Election.

Ben Boychuk, Associate Editor with City Journal is away, on assignment. 

Tune in LIVE at 10:00 a.m. PDT on CRNtalk.com or on USTREAM TV’s CRNStudioLive!”

 

Some Related Links:  for more, check out CalWatchDog.com  Ask me questions on Facebook,
Pension reform or double-dip storm in San Diego and San Jose?

June 6, 2012 By Wayne Lusvardi A pension reform ballot proposition was passed by the voters in the city of San Diego by a margin of 66.2 percent in favor to 33.8 percent opposed.. A similar pension reform measure in the city of San Jose is lead…

Beware the California Pension Reform Foxes
Liberal downfall of San Diego falsely blamed on conservatives
State voters did the right thing | CalWatchDog
By Steven Greenhut
June 11, 2012 By Steven Greenhut SACRAMENTO — Several years ago, Fullerton Councilman Dick Jones cornered me at a political event, asked my opinion on.
CalWatchDog

RealClearPolitics – Public Unions’ Icarus Moment
by Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post
The Lauzen Plan: How to Rein In a $3 Trillion Rogue Pension Elephant – Forbes by Ralph Benko

There is a simple, humane and practical solution to Illinois’s threatening insolvency: the “Lauzen Plan.” If tried successfully and emulated it promises to staunch the red ink threatening the viability of many states and municipalities. Lauzen is leaving the state Senate, after 20 years of service there, where he, together with other legislators of integrity, consistently predicted, and tirelessly formulated solutions to, the cascading fiscal catastrophe now manifesting. The officials blithely ignored or aborted the solutions.

My personal message to Travis Kiger, newly elected City Council member  of the City of Fullerton: “Congratulations. I am thrilled with your victory, and the team you are part of.  You’re awesome and inspiring. I thank all of you, and you individually.” and “I want to congratulate you on such a marvelous fantastic thrilling victory. I have followed from before Kelly Thomas, and you had a stage set already. You were able to catch that wave and ride it like champions!
Bravo. I love it.”

What is Jerry Brown saying to Ed reformers in the Democratic Party base? He wants their support for the tax increases first. Keep talking, he says “we” hear you.

How bold are the reformers?  How firm do they stand? Or are they waiting, hoping, and prodding, but do not want to upset the establishment? Do they support the tax increases as necessary for real education reform?

In Tweet if You Love Pension Reform, June 7 in Fox & Hound, Marcia Fritz pitches a Hail Mary pass, a last ditch effort to get the CA Legislature to do the right thing

Fix Pensions First Launches an Urgent Twitter Campaign, and invites everyone to participate. They’ll give you critical facts in small daily doses, so you don’t get blown away, and so you can be compelled to be a part of a last ditch effort to reform pensions at the state level, before it’s too late.

Follow @FixPensions. Take 10 seconds to consider the information on your screen and another 10 seconds to share it. Twitter will take care of the rest.


The legislature has until June 28 to place a constitutional amendment on the November ballot to require public employees to pay half the cost of their pensions, link state retirement ages with federal retirement ages and provide retirement plans to future employees that share the risk of investment losses with taxpayers.

Click here to read the full piece, and see the dramatic graphs to drive home the urgency of this reform critical reform measure.

CalWatchDog’s Wayne Lusvardi sounds a warning bell not to get comfy with the pension reform measures just passed, even if they hold–the outlook is much worse

A pension reform ballot proposition was passed by the voters in the city of San Diego by a margin of 66.2 percent in favor to 33.8 percent opposed.. A similar pension reform measure in the city of San Jose is leading with 89.8 percent of the vote in favor with 37.7 percent of the vote counted.

But the gnawing question remains: Will voters end up with the pension reforms they voted for? Or are these reforms just the proverbial calm before a possible bigger pension storm? Tentative Results of Pension Reform Measures…
Pension reform or double-dip storm in San Diego and San Jose? | CalWatchDog

And Now Act 2 of the Dramatic Situation Between the Runnaway Train, i.e. the Public Sector Union’s Crushing Weight on California & the Battle for Reform

Here’s a link and a excerpt: San Jose’s mayor addresses legal challenges – Public Sector Inc. Forum
By Steven Greenhut on June 6

Pull Quote:

San Jose’s unions didn’t really fight the Measure B pension reform that passed with 70 percent of the vote Tuesday, but they did immediately file a legal challenge. Here is Mayor Chuck Reed’s response to claims that the reform he championed isn’t legal:
“Measure B was carefully crafted to follow California law. San Jose is a charter city and the California Constitution gives charter cities: ‘plenary authority’ to provide in their charters for the compensation of their employees. i San Jose’s City Charter reserves the right of the City Council and the voters to make changes to employees’ retirement benefits: ‘.. the Council may at any time, or from time to time, amend or otherwise change any retirement plan or plans or adopt or establish a new or different plan or plans for all or any officers or employees.’ ii San Jose’s…

Robert Higgs Refutes Paul Krugman, & Primary Election Day in CA on Gadfly Radio

Tuesday, June 5, on Gadfly Radio, Robert Higgs, Senior Fellow in Political Economy for The Independent Institute and Editor of the Institute’s quarterly journal The Independent Review, joins Martha Montelongo, CalWatchDog‘s managing editor, John Seiler, and Ben Boychuk, Associate Editor with City Journal.

Tune in LIVE at 10:00 a.m. PDT on CRNtalk.com or on USTREAM TV’s CRNStudioLive!”

To spend, tax and regulate, more, to get us out of our economic depression.  That’s what Celebrity  Economist, Paul Krugman calls for.   He ignores the growth, power and corruption of Big Govt and the effect of war economics, and the erosion of liberty, and the devastation on  the small business private sector.

A debate rages across the Atlantic, and here, in the U.S.

Greece already hit breaking point and the news today, as I write,  is people are resorting to barter, to manage in the economic crisis that resulted from the bloated, wasteful unproductive public sector and massive borrowing on public works.

Spain is in even worse shape only the breaking point has yet to hit.  The unemployment for young adults 25 and under is well over 51 percent in Spain.

England is also in severe economic crisis, the current government has recently implemented what they call severe austerity measures, but the situation has only worsened.

In the U.S., several states, with California leading, neck and neck with Illinois, are routinely compared to Greece.

Political and, I must not forget, Nobel Prize Winning Economist, Paul Krugman ( I force myself to omit the quotation marks, for Hayek, too, won a Nobel Price for Economics), has been getting a lot of press of late, in the U.S. but also, abroad, in Europe.

He is and has been promoting his book, End this Depression Now!

He calls for policy that includes much more Government spending, and a deliberate allowance of “some” inflation, to occur.

Krugman mocks those who compare a country’s debt crisis with that of a family that has spent itself into bankruptcy, and would reduce spending to get out of debt.

He dismisses those who call for a return to a gold standard as fool hardy.

And he points to Sweden and Austria, with  government work forces that make up over 50 percent of the economy,  as  models we should follow.  He asserts, these big-government nations  are better off, and are weathering  the storm well, compared to Great Britain, Spain, Greece, Portugal, and the U.S.
This why I loved Ralph Benko’s recent piece,  Unemployment Reality To Paul Krugman: “I Refute It Thus.”

The title alone made me laugh.  A shared sentiment, so cleverly expressed!   I experienced wonderful delight.   But also, I loved the quote:

“After we came out of the church, we stood talking for some time together of Bishop Berkeley’s ingenious sophistry to prove the nonexistence of matter, and that every thing in the universe is merely ideal. I observed, that though we are satisfied his doctrine is not true, it is impossible to refute it. I never shall forget the alacrity with which Johnson answered, striking his foot with mighty force against a large stone, till he rebounded from it — ‘I refute it thus.” — Boswell, Life of Samuel Johnson

 

I refute what Krugman is advocating, but I would like to have Higgs, please explain, in short pithy words with brevity, and clarity.

So much hangs in the balance.

Robert Higgs is the Author of many important works, including “Crisis and Leviathan,” Depression, War, and Cold War, and new, just out in May, in both Hardcover and Paperback,  Delusions of Power: New Explorations of the State, War, and Economy

I received a hardcover copy of  Krugman’s book as a gift, by a concerned and loving friend, and then I bought it as a Kindle version, and then also, as an audio file.    I  want to see Robert Higgs’ books I mentioned above, available in digital, and  audio.

I listened to an audio of his Higgs’s  interview with Tom Woods, and Nick Gillespie and of  presentations he has made on Depression, War and Cold War and Leviathan and I want to hear and learn more.  I hope he sells many books.  His message is profound.

Click here for a collection of articles and videos on Robert Higgs, defying Paul Krugman’s ideas, and Higgs, on Big Government, TARP,   and the impact of war on the economy and small businesses.    This is a a great collection!

Higgs is compelling. He communicates with a deep compassion for and faith in humanity.  We’ll talk with him about Krugman’s assertions in End This Depression Now!

More Related Links:
Krugman: More Economic Destruction Needed To Revive Economy | The Daily Capitalist  (A Refute!)

Paul Krugman, European celebrity – Paul Krugman – Salon.com  (I think “celebrity” is not intended as ironic.)

Krugman in his own words:
Paul Krugman: Mitt Romney Doesn’t Mean Anything He’s Saying: The New York Times columnist talks about Romney, the European austerity trap, and why stimulus isn’t a dirty word
By Tierney Sneed | – US News and World Report  ( This is a  point by point case on Krugman’s  arguments for more, bigger spending and regulating to save us, in 900 words ).