As the Liberal Curriculum took over our Public Schools an Educational Decline Began

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 2nd, 2012

Week in Review

Thanks to the recent election in the US we know what’s important to women.  Birth control and abortion.  And we know what’s important to young people.  Thanks to two states decriminalizing marijuana.  So with our young people focusing more on sex and getting high is it any surprise that they’re not studying hard in high school to go on to college?  No.  And it’s no surprise that the United States has fallen from first to fourteenth in graduation rates.  And why Europeans and Asians outperform Americans on tests.  For young Americans just have other things on their mind than school (see Downward mobility haunts US education by Sean Coughlan posted 12/2/2012 on BBC News Business).

Andreas Schleicher, special adviser on education at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), says the US is now the only major economy in the world where the younger generation is not going to be better educated than the older.

“It’s something of great significance because much of today’s economic power of the United States rests on a very high degree of adult skills – and that is now at risk,” says Mr Schleicher.

“These skills are the engine of the US economy and the engine is stuttering,” says Mr Schleicher, one of the world’s most influential experts on international education comparisons…

It’s easy to overlook the dominance of US higher education in the post-war era – or how closely this was linked to its role as an economic, scientific and military superpower…

The spiralling cost of higher education in the United States is often cited as a barrier – and the collective student debt has exceeded a trillion dollars…

The rising cost of higher education is a deterrent. And there is a wider question of finance for higher education at state level.

He also says there is another “dirty little secret” of US higher education – that too many people who enrol at university fail to graduate – which pushes down the graduation rate in international comparisons.

Everyone can agree that the high cost of education is a problem.  But we never seem to blame our schools for the high prices they charge.  We’ll attack health insurance companies.  Hospitals.  Pharmaceutical companies.  We attack and regulate these industries to combat their high prices.  Yet we do nothing to the colleges and universities that charge high prices.  Other than try to help them charge high prices by subsidizing the high cost of tuition.

And those low graduation rates?  That’s pretty sad.  Considering that since many students today are taking the easy degree programs.  So their educational responsibilities don’t intrude on their partying time.  Getting useless degrees in disciplines like gender studies.  Instead of science and engineering.  Degrees that are actually useful in a high-tech economy.

This decline in American education excellence just so happens to coincide with the rise of multiculturalism in our public schools.  Outcomes-based education.  And getting participation ribbons instead of trophies for winning.  When the liberal agenda took over the educational curriculum.  So instead of teaching students reading, writing and arithmetic we’re teaching them about global warming and the evils of capitalism.  And how it’s okay if Heather has two mommies.

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The Long Wait Times and Rationing of the NHS will soon be coming to Obamacare

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 2nd, 2012

Week in Review

Today it’s the NHS (see NHS cracks ‘beginning to appear’ by Nick Triggle posted 11/28/2012 on BBC News Health).

The King’s Fund review – dubbed a mid-term report for the coalition government – raised concern about A&E [accident and emergency departments] waits and finances…

The NHS has been asked to make savings of about 5% annually in the coming years, at a time when demands are rising…

A&E waiting times have risen since 2009, although still remain within the target of 95% of patients being seen within four hours, the report said.

It also raised concerns about the growing number of emergency admissions among the elderly and those with long-term conditions.

And the report flagged up the increasing number of NHS trusts facing financial difficulties.

King’s Fund policy director Anna Dixon said: “There are huge risks, particularly in ensuring that quality of care does not suffer with the further financial squeeze.”

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said there were already signs of this, claiming services, such as cataract surgery, were being rationed.

He said evidence Labour had gathered showed an estimated 52,000 people were being denied treatments, leaving them in “pain and discomfort”…

Health Minister Lord Howe suggested many of these pressures were related to the ageing population.

Tomorrow it will be Obamacare.

Longer wait times (a 4-hour wait in an emergency room is an acceptable waiting time).  Financial problems.  Rationing.  Denial of treatments.  All courtesy of an aging population inundating emergency rooms with elderly patients.

Welcome to national health care.  Welcome to Obamacare.

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Multinationals choose to Pay their Income Taxes in Countries with less Confiscatory Tax Rates

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 2nd, 2012

Week in Review

Do tax rates matter?  Do businesses make decisions based on income tax rates?  Yes.  They do (see MPs call for tax crackdown on multinationals by Tom Bergin posted 12/3/2012 on Reuters).

A committee of MPs has called on government to crack down on multinational companies that make substantial sales in Britain but pay little tax here, echoing demands from leaders across Europe for measures to tackle corporate tax avoidance…

“Global companies with huge operations in the UK generating significant amounts of income are getting away with paying little or no corporation tax here. This is outrageous and an insult to British businesses and individuals who pay their fair share,” said Margaret Hodge, who chairs the PAC…

Amazon pays little income tax in the UK because it channels UK sales through Luxembourg, which offers some of the lowest effective tax rates in Europe…

The French government said last month that it was discussing new measures to tax internet companies such as Amazon and Google, which minimises its tax bill by booking sales through an Irish subsidiary.

These high tax rate countries look at these multinationals as tax cheats.  The domestic businesses look at them as getting an unfair tax advantage.  The multinationals simply choose to pay their income taxes in low-tax countries.  They’re not avoiding paying their income taxes.  They’re just paying them in countries with less confiscatory tax rates.

These countries aren’t getting away without paying any local taxes.  Most of these countries have a sales tax.  A VAT tax.  And other taxes and fees.  For every cup of coffee Starbucks sells a percentage of that sale goes to the state.  Just not as much as the state would like.  Who would prefer something closer to all of it.  But the more they raise their tax rates the less tax revenue they collect.  Because businesses and rich people avoid high-tax states.  And take their income to countries with less confiscatory tax rates.

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Higher Marginal Tax Rates cause Millionaires to leave Britain and Reduce Tax Revenues

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 2nd, 2012

Week in Review

The Beatles were part of the British Invasion.  They came to the US, conquered, earned obscene amounts of money and went home.  And when they did the British took about 95% of their earnings.  Prompting George Harrison to write the song Taxman.  “There’s one for you, nineteen for me.  ‘Cause I’m the taxman.”  If you do the math (1 divided by 20) that comes out to a top marginal tax rate of 95%.  Shortly thereafter the Beatles were no longer British.  They became tax exiles.  And they weren’t the last Brits to leave their highly taxed country (see Two-thirds of millionaires left Britain to avoid 50p tax rate by Robert Winnett posted 11/27/2012 on The Telegraph).

In the 2009-10 tax year, more than 16,000 people declared an annual income of more than £1 million [$1.6 million US] to HM Revenue and Customs.

This number fell to just 6,000 after Gordon Brown introduced the new 50p top rate of income tax shortly before the last general election…

Last night, Harriet Baldwin, the Conservative MP who uncovered the latest figures, said: “Labour’s ideological tax hike led to a tax cull of millionaires.

Far from raising funds, it actually cost the UK £7 billion [$11.235 billion US] in lost tax revenue…

Mr Osborne argued earlier this year that the 50p rate was deterring entrepreneurs from coming to Britain.

So many politicians say rich people won’t leave if they raise income tax rates.  But the evidence is that they do.  And who can blame people like George Harrison?  Being a Beatle wasn’t easy.  The band broke up before anyone was older than 30.  Because they couldn’t stand it any longer.  Imagine doing something that you enjoy less and less while giving about 95% of your income to the taxman.  If you’re going to do something you don’t enjoy for the money you will want to at least keep the majority of what you earn.

So, does raising tax rates to confiscatory levels make rich people leave the country?  Yes.  And if they leave what percentage of their earnings does the taxman get?  Zero percent.  So what brings in more tax revenue?  A 95% tax rate taxing no income?  Or a much lower tax rate taxing any income?  The lower tax rate taxing any income, of course.  Because it takes two things to make tax revenue.  A tax rate.  And income to tax.  For a tax rate without income to tax is useless.

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The British create Stem Cells from Blood that don’t have the same Rejection Problems as Embryonic Stem Cells

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 2nd, 2012

Week in Review

Stem cells were all the rage once.  They were going to cure everything.  Even make Christopher Reeve walk again.  Who was paralyzed during an equestrian competition.  And who the Republicans wanted to stay paralyzed.  Apparently.  As they opposed using embryonic stem cells from aborted fetuses.  Worried of the precedent this would give.  Taking a life (an aborted fetus) so another life could live.

This raised a lot of ethical issues on the Right.  But not the Left.  Who looked at it as giving abortions a noble purpose.  Terminating the gestation of the fetus and using the embryonic stem cells to make miracle drugs.  It was a two-for for the Democrats.  Miracle drugs.  And a good reason to abort fetuses.  So it was all you heard about in the news.  The miracle of stem cells.  As long as they were embryonic stem cells, though.  For if it didn’t involve an abortion the Left didn’t seem to care much about it.  Which is a pity because there are some developments on the non-abortion-side of stem cell research (see Stem cells being made from blood by James Gallagher posted 11/29/2012 on BBC News Health).

A patient’s own blood has been used to make personalised stem cells, which doctors hope will eventually be used to treat a range of diseases…

Stem cells are one of the great hopes of medical research. They can transform into any other type of cell the body is built from – so they should be able to repair everything from the brain to the heart, and eyes to bone.

One source of stem cells is embryos, but this is ethically controversial and they would be rejected by the immune system in the same way as an organ transplant.

Researchers have shown that skin cells taken from an adult can be tricked into becoming stem cells, which the body should recognise as part of itself and would not reject.

Yawn.  You hear nothing from the American Left about these exciting developments.  I mean, you’re not hearing anything like the excitement we heard from them when they attacked any politician running for office who opposed the use of embryonic stem cells.  Michael J. Fox, suffering from Parkinson disease, even made a political ad to support a Democrat candidate who ran against a Republican who was opposed to the use of embryonic cells.  But these new developments will pass by quietly in the background.

It makes you think.  Especially with the past election.  Where abortion and birth control dominated the Democrats’ strategy.  They put the fear of God into as many women as possible that if the Republicans won women would soon be back in back-alleys for their abortions.  That birth control would soon become a thing of the past.  That all women would be reduced to being baby making machines.  Suffering through a life of cooking, cleaning and baby-making.  Hell on earth.  Or, in other words, being married.

It worked.  Women voted for President Obama to keep their birth control and abortion.  Even though no one was threatening to take it away.  And even though we’ve lived under 20 years of Republican presidents since the Sixties and not one of them took away their abortion or birth control.  But spreading the lie that the Republicans would do just that should they win election scared enough women to make a difference.  Which clearly shows why the Left was so excited about embryonic stem cells.  It provided a purpose for abortion.  A noble purpose.  To save life.  And how they wished with all of their might that embryonic stem cells delivered what some promised.  They would have loved to have that argument to make.  That abortion was not only a liberating women’s health issue but a noble issue as well.  Sigh.  It just wasn’t to be.  Sure, these new blood stem cells are an exciting development.  But where is the politics in that?

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