My rough draft letter to President Elect Biden that will be mailed on March 5, 2021! (Part 45) Milton Friedman and Education

March 5, 2021

President Biden c/o The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

The federal government debt is growing so much that it is endangering us because if things keep going like they are now we will not have any money left for the national defense because we are so far in debt as a nation. We have been spending so much on our welfare state through food stamps and other programs that I am worrying that many of our citizens are becoming more dependent on government and in many cases they are losing their incentive to work hard because of the welfare trap the government has put in place. Other nations in Europe have gone down this road and we see what mess this has gotten them in. People really are losing their faith in big government and they want more liberty back. It seems to me we have to get back to the founding  principles that made our country great.  We also need to realize that a big government will encourage waste and corruptionThe recent scandals in our government have proved my point. In fact, the jokes you made at Ohio State about possibly auditing them are not so funny now that reality shows how the IRS was acting more like a monster out of control. Also raising taxes on the job creators is a very bad idea too. The Laffer Curve clearly demonstrates that when the tax rates are raised many individuals will move their investments to places where they will not get taxed as much.

I have written about 66 heroes of mine in the House of Representatives that voted “no” on the Obama/Biden debt ceiling increase request in 2011. I believe we must have representatives that will vote to restore our freedom and that means voting to cut spending and lower taxes like the Patriots of long ago wanted. Today the Tea Party represented my views the most closely.  Lord knows I have written a lot about that in the past. . I have praised over and over and over the 66 House Republicans that voted no on that before. If they did not raise the debt ceiling then we would have a balanced budget instantly.  I agree that the Tea Party has made a difference and I have personally posted 49 posts on my blog on different Tea Party heroes of mine.

I have written and emailed Senator Pryor over, and over again with spending cut suggestions but he has ignored all of these good ideas in favor of keeping the printing presses going as we plunge our future generations further in debt. I am convinced if he does not change his liberal voting record that he will no longer be our senator in 2014.

I have written hundreds of letters and emails to President Obama in the past, and I must say that I have been impressed that he has  had the White House staff answer so many of my letters. The White House answered concerning Social Security (two times), Green Technologieswelfaresmall businessesObamacare (twice),  federal overspendingexpanding unemployment benefits to 99 weeks,  gun controlnational debtabortionjumpstarting the economy, and various other  issues.   However, the Obama/Biden policies have not changed, and by the way the White House after answering over 50 of my letters before November of 2012 has not answered one since.    The Obama/Biden administration was  committed to cutting nothing from the budget that I can tell. I am hoping your administration,  President  Biden, will be more open minded and look at the facts.

 I have praised over and over and over the 66 House Republicans that voted no on that before. If they did not raise the debt ceiling then we would have a balanced budget instantly.  I agree that the Tea Party has made a difference and I have personally posted 49 posts on my blog on different Tea Party heroes of mine.

THIS BRINGS ME TO ONE OF MY BIGGEST ECONOMIC HEROES AND IT IS THE LATE MILTON FRIEDMAN. Friedman had such revolutionary policies such as eliminating welfare and instituting the negative income tax and putting in school vouchers.

The problem in Washington is not lack of revenue but our lack of spending restraint. This video below makes that point.

Sooner or later we are going to find out that the school voucher system that Milton Friedman came up with around 1960 is the best way to lower the costs in the schools and get our kids a better education through pure competition. Ronald Reagan believed in Milton Friedman’s ideas but was unable to get much done in this area while he was president. Here is a great paper by Friedman on the voucher system from June 9, 2005:

Milton Friedman

Little did I know when I published an article in 1955 on “The Role of Government in Education” that it would lead to my becoming an activist for a major reform in the organization of schooling, and indeed that my wife and I would be led to establish a foundation to promote parental choice. The original article was not a reaction to a perceived deficiency in schooling. The quality of schooling in the United States then was far better than it is now, and both my wife and I were satisfied with the public schools we had attended. My interest was in the philosophy of a free society. Education was the area that I happened to write on early. I then went on to consider other areas as well. The end result was “Capitalism and Freedom,” published seven years later with the education article as one chapter.

With respect to education, I pointed out that government was playing three major roles: (1) legislating compulsory schooling, (2) financing schooling, (3) administering schools. I concluded that there was some justification for compulsory schooling and the financing of schooling, but “the actual administration of educational institutions by the government, the ‘nationalization,’ as it were, of the bulk of the ‘education industry’ is much more difficult to justify on [free market] or, so far as I can see, on any other grounds.” Yet finance and administration “could readily be separated. Governments could require a minimum of schooling financed by giving the parents vouchers redeemable for a given sum per child per year to be spent on purely educational services. . . . Denationalizing schooling,” I went on, “would widen the range of choice available to parents. . . . If present public expenditure were made available to parents regardless of where they send their children, a wide variety of schools would spring up to meet the demand. . . . Here, as in other fields, competitive enterprise is likely to be far more efficient in meeting consumer demand than either nationalized enterprises or enterprises run to serve other purposes.”

Though the article, and then “Capitalism and Freedom,” generated some academic and popular attention at the time, so far as we know no attempts were made to introduce a system of educational vouchers until the Nixon administration, when the Office of Economic Opportunity took up the idea and offered to finance the actual experiments. One result of that initiative was an ambitious attempt to introduce vouchers in the large cities of New Hampshire, which appeared to be headed for success until it was aborted by the opposition of the teachers unions and the educational administrators — one of the first instances of the oppositional role they were destined to play in subsequent decades. Another result was an experiment in California’s Alum Rock school system involving a choice of schools within a public system.

What really led to increased interest in vouchers was the deterioration of schooling, dating in particular from 1965 when the National Education Association converted itself from a professional association to a trade union. Concern about the quality of education led to the establishment of the National Commission of Excellence in Education, whose final report, “A Nation at Risk,” was published in 1983. It used the following quote from Paul Copperman to dramatize its own conclusion:

“Each generation of Americans has outstripped its parents in education, in literacy, and in economic attainment. For the first time in the history of our country, the educational skills of one generation will not surpass, will not equal, will not even approach, those of their parents.”
“A Nation at Risk” stimulated much soul-searching and a whole series of major attempts to reform the government educational system. These reforms, however extensive or bold, have, it is widely agreed, had negligible effect on the quality of the public school system. Though spending per pupil has more than doubled since 1970 after allowing for inflation, students continue to rank low in international comparisons; dropout rates are high; scores on SATs and the like have fallen and remain flat. Simple literacy, let alone functional literacy, in the United States is almost surely lower at the beginning of the 21st century than it was a century earlier. And all this is despite a major increase in real spending per student since “A Nation at Risk” was published.

* * *

One result has been experimentation with such alternatives as vouchers, tax credits, and charter schools. Government voucher programs are in effect in a few places (Wisconsin, Ohio, Florida, the District of Columbia); private voucher programs are widespread; tax credits for educational expenses have been adopted in at least three states and tax credit vouchers (tax credits for gifts to scholarship-granting organizations) in three states. In addition, a major legal obstacle to the adoption of vouchers was removed when the Supreme Court affirmed the legality of the Cleveland voucher in 2002. However, all of these programs are limited; taken together they cover only a small fraction of all children in the country.

Throughout this long period, we have been repeatedly frustrated by the gulf between the clear and present need, the burning desire of parents to have more control over the schooling of their children, on the one hand, and the adamant and effective opposition of trade union leaders and educational administrators to any change that would in any way reduce their control of the educational system.

We have been involved in two initiatives in California to enact a statewide voucher system (in 1993 and 2000). In both cases, the initiatives were carefully drawn up, and the voucher sums moderate. In both cases, nine months or so before the election, public opinion polls recorded a sizable majority in favor of the initiative. In addition, of course, there was a sizable group of fervent supporters, whose hopes ran high of finally getting control of their children’s schooling. In each case, about six months before the election, the voucher opponents launched a well-financed and thoroughly unscrupulous campaign against the initiative. Television ads blared that vouchers would break the budget, whereas in fact they would reduce spending since the proposed voucher was to be only a fraction of what government was spending per student. Teachers were induced to send home with their students misleading propaganda against the initiative. Dirty tricks of every variety were financed from a very deep purse. The result was to convert the initial majority into a landslide defeat. This has also occurred in Washington state, Colorado and Michigan. Opposition like this explains why progress has been so slow in such a good cause.

The good news is that, despite these setbacks, public interest in and support for vouchers and tax credits continues to grow. Legislative proposals to channel government funds directly to students rather than to schools are under consideration in something like 20 states. Sooner or later there will be a breakthrough; we shall get a universal voucher plan in one or more states. When we do, a competitive private educational market serving parents who are free to choose the school they believe best for each child will demonstrate how it can revolutionize schooling.

*Mr. Friedman, chairman of the Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation, is a senior research fellow at the Hoover Institution and a Nobel laureate in economics.

Thank you so much for your time. I know how valuable it is. I also appreciate the fine family that you have and your commitment as a father and a husband.

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher III, 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander, AR 72002, ph 501-920-5733,

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By WALTER WILLIAMS

—-

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