Never let the facts get in the way of your ponderous pontification

There is simply no point in arguing with steel-trap logic.

Under the syllogistically undeniable headline, “Uncertainty is bad, but so is mediocrity,” Las Vegas Review-Journal left-listing columnist Steve Sebelius recounts a few quotes from Monday’s UNLV 2014 Economic Outlook in which experts warned that the potential passage in November of a margins tax on businesses is not good for the economy because it creates uncertainty.

But then he bulls his way forward with certitude and confidence, boldly saying the state’s public education system needs more money to improve the level of performance of high school graduates, which will be better for the economy than a tax that sucks the profit out of doing business in Nevada.

The Education Initiative proposes a 2 percent margins tax on all Nevada businesses that gross more than $1 million a year.

“Certainty may be good for business, but it’s not always a good thing. It’s almost certain that if we keep running our schools the way they’re being run now, we’ll continue to reap the disappointing results we’ve seen up until now,” Sebelius writes. “It’s almost certain that if we don’t provide future businesses with an educated workforce capable of performing in new, high-tech jobs, businesses that offer those jobs will continue to set up shop elsewhere.”

Who can argue with that? It sounds reasonable. It sounds logical. It makes sense.

It simply isn’t based on any factual evidence whatsoever.

This is what throwing ever more money at public education in this country has so far accomplished:

Cato Institute graphic.

Tried and true, right?

The only thing that has a chance of improving education outcomes in this country is competition and choice.

And don’t think for a minute that Nevada hasn’t already been pouring more and more money into its public education system:

NPRI graphic using National Center for Education Statistics at the U.S. Department of Education.

Also to no avail:

NPRI graphic, and, yes, it should read eighth grade.

Besides, there is no assurance any of the margins tax revenues would ever be spent on education.

But those are just pesky facts.

7 comments on “Never let the facts get in the way of your ponderous pontification

  1. Steve says:

    There is more to this than education.
    Nevada is just beginning to diversify its business base. New ventures are moving here. More are in the process of considering the move.
    A very high percentage of these outfits are looking to leave their current high tax and regulatory locals.
    Trying to increase education in front of this potential influx of new business is akin to predicting the future. There is no way to know what skills and trades these new companies will need once they are established and begin looking to hire local talent.

    Additionally, it is fact business’s rely on other business for daily operations, supply’s and services. If these are not available locally then new business finds it more costly to move here and they will locate to other places that have them.

    What the education community needs to do is use current resources to teach and train current students for skills and trades the current new business’s already use. By targeting education for this business others will see this and know Nevada is serious about keeping taxes low and providing an educated workforce as its identified and needed. And education will benefit by keeping graduates here, paying taxes well into the future. All it takes is RESPONDING to business instead of trying to PREDICT it.

    By trying to predict the future needs of future business all they are doing is putting the cart before the horse. Only once established and in full swing, these new endeavors may be taxed at higher rates. Increasing taxes before they decide where to move only helps them decide not to move here.

    To his credit Sebelius does appear to decry using the initiative process to increase taxes.
    He also seems to understand the education system needs to change, though he does not offer any ideas other than throwing more money into the poorly performing system we have now.

    I say things need to change with education in response to needs in the community not the other way around. For evidence of the proper course one only needs to look at what prompted the establishment of any of this countries universities. Start with MIT, 1861 in RESPONSE to US industrialization not the other way around!

    Education is developed to support communities, not to create them.

  2. Athos says:

    Our system is broken. A strong private sector is needed to to ensure our liberties from the tyrants in government (our “public” servants!).

    What better way to shackle us then with thousands of pages of regulations, and confusing tax policies. Hard to believe that the Declaration of Independence had only 1,458 WORDS. And the Supreme Law of the Land (US Constitution, not “Rules for Radicals”, petey!) had just over 4500 words, concisely written and easy to understand (unless you’re John Roberts).

    Education needs to ask the questions “What is just by nature?” and “What is unjust?” Only psychopaths create their own reality. (Just look at our national budget!!)

  3. Rincon says:

    There’s a statistical anomoly that deserves attention. Since 1960, our GDP per person (adjusted for inflation)has increased about 4-5 times. So when we adjust for inflation, we make the implicit assumption that education should increase in cost at the same rate as everything else. Does anyone seriously think that it’s possible to educate a child for 1/5 of the human effort that it did in 1960? The same applies to many service industries such as medical care. We spend far less per mile on gasoline in our cars than we did in 1960 for example, which increases productivity. Similar achievements in education would be difficult to achieve due to its labor intensive nature.

  4. Milty says:

    Rubin Murillo, the president of the Nevada State Education Association, was the guest on Nevada Newsmakers on November 6. The host of the show, Sam Shad, asked Mr. Murillo if the $800M the margins tax was projected to raise was per annum or per biennium. Mr. Murillo didn’t know.

    Mr. Mitchell sent a note to Mr. Shad citing the NSEA’s own website that said that the $800M figure was per annum.

    If the NSEA’s own president doesn’t have clue how much money is supposedly going to be raised by this tax, then it’s a pretty good bet that the money won’t be put to any useful purpose once it’s collected.

  5. Athos says:

    Maybe Murillo can take a trip with President Pinocchio to Hawaii with some of the money!

    Rin, are you saying our education costs have only gone up by a factor of 5 since the 60’s? The real cost, both in labor and $$, has been amplified by the intrusiveness of Federal “guidelines” in education “standards”.

    And this has been going on since the 60s. Remember the brainstorm idea of putting kids on a bus, taking them out of their neighborhood school, and having them educated in another school to promote educational equality? What a crock that was! Even my little brother (in 5th grade) could see switching the teachers around, instead of the kids, was a far easier and less expensive way to achieve this goal.

    And of course, corporal punishment was banned. Just “reason” with the little heathens, don’t scare them! DC has NEVER, and will never be the answer to our problems. They really ARE the problem.

    Just another one of Jimmy Carter’s failed ideas that we’re still suffering under, since ’79. End the Department of Education.

  6. Rincon says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more, Athos. I was only pointing out that the numbers are not quite as ridiculous as they seem at first blush. Paying a big premium for a master’s degree, excessive use of counselors, long distance bussing, section 9, etc. There’s a lot of waste.

  7. Traiteur Rabat Regal; Traiteur de ronome au Maroc

    This is my expert

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