Sunday, February 22, 2009

CATS Crowd Really Getting Desperate

The “Keep CATS at All Costs” crowd is clearly getting desperate. Their latest shot, fired from the pen of Jack D. Foster, former secretary of education and humanities and a major architect of KERA, is a prime example.

While our economy shatters and we need government to reign in costs before we all go bankrupt, this education worthy proposes creating a vast new education assessment bureaucracy. This potentially huge agency would be staffed by “testing specialists,” who would emerge from who knows where, to run tests “at regular intervals” in every single classroom in this state.

See Foster’s incredibly out of touch test change proposition for yourself here.

Can you even begin to imagine how many extra people would be required to do this?

For starters, just think about the huge new per diem and travel costs this bureaucratic monster would suck up from our extremely strained state resources.

Then, think about how this would have to work. Will the tests be administered at the same time everywhere? If so, then a truly huge staff is indeed required.

If the testing is staggered, how can we insure that students and schools don’t pass test questions back and forth? Even if there is no cheating, how can we insure that the staggered admission tests are adjusted so that students who take them later don’t get an advantage simply from having spent more days in class? Would we need different tests for different days? That’s a hugely expensive proposition.

And, doesn’t this testing concept force us to adopt a statewide curriculum to insure that all classrooms cover exactly the same material in the same timeframe before the testers arrive?

This is just a short list of problems I see with this idea. CATS is too expensive now, but just wait if this incredibly bad idea is adopted by our spend-all-we-can-get, Draudmobile-Minded educators.


Hempy said...

If you were really as concerned about taxes and government spending, then you ought to be all for Alexander Hamilton's proportional tax that would tax the movement of all moneys. In Federalist Paper 12, Hamilton wrote:

"The ability of a country to pay taxes must always be proportioned, in a great degree, to the quantity of money in circulation, and to the celerity with which it circulates. Commerce, contributing to both these objects, must of necessity render the payment of taxes easier, and facilitate the requisite supplies to the treasury."

However, you seem to be more simplistic minded as is the feudalistic Cato Institute.

"Chris Edwards of the Cato Institute details the excessive complexity of the federal tax code principally due to the personal and corporate income taxes, and how consumption based tax reform would eliminate the excessive burden of tax compliance." (IPI Conference, Washington, DC 2/12/2002)

This is nothing more than a sales tax scam that is blatantly unfair. Alexander Hamilton called such tax scams as "oppressive," and "operates unequally and injuriously to the industrious poor…"

Hamilton's 1791 report to Congress on manufactures, states:

"There are certain species of taxes, which are apt to be oppressive to different parts of the community, and, among other ill effects, have a very unfriendly aspect towards manufactures. All poll or capitation fixes are of this nature. They either proceed according to a fixed rate, which operates unequally and injuriously to the industrious poor, or they vest a discretion, in certain officers, to make estimates and assessments, which are necessarily vague, conjectural, and liable to abuse. They ought, therefore, to be abstained from in all but cases of distressing emergency.

"All such taxes (including all taxes on occupations)…are, unavoidably hurtful to industry."

There's some more of those American values and ideals that are the bane of conservatives, whose economic philosophy is rooted and grounded in feudalism.

Richard Innes said...


Aside from the fact that the blog doesn’t talk about taxes, just out of control spending, I am surprised by your infatuation with Hamilton’s scheme. That amounts to a sales tax, which is considered to be a regressive tax by just about everyone I know.

Hempy said...

Hamilton's proportional tax would tax bank-laundered drug money, which amounts to $1.5 trillion a year. Taxed at a 5% rate, that would generate about $75 billion to the treasury.

The derivatives market, valued at $531 trillion, if taxed at a 5% rate, would generate about $26.55 trillion to the treasury.

With that kind of revenue flowing into the treasury, there'd be no "out-of-control-spending."

Now if you want to call that a sales tax, fine. But sales taxes are usually levied on consumption. That's what the Cato Institute was talking about.

A proportional tax can begin at 0% and max out at some point. I used 5% as an example. That would not only generate sufficient revenue to the treasury, but would also lower taxes on everyone including businesses.