VAST RIGHT WING CONSPIRACIES? Betsy's Page links to the latest "Nation at Risk" update, this time covered by the Washington Times. A Hoover Institution study, funded by San Francisco's Koret Foundation, covered by the Washington Times, that specifically finds fault with the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, might well be research grinding pre-selected axes. None of which exonerates the teacher unions, by the way. The most recent infomercial from Sandra Feldman, president of the AFT, advocates health insurance programs for uninsured workers instead of tax cuts for the rich. That's erroneous thinking: the point of tax cuts is to stimulate economic growth. The untested hypothesis is whether the lower rates bring in tax revenues. Whether some of those revenues ought to be spent on health insurance programs is a separate issue. And if you're looking for a dissertation topic, consider whether or not the failures of the common schools to teach students is affecting the supply of physicians. (That's not as easy as it looks: meddling by lawyers, legislatures, and HMOs also affects the return on a medical degree, incorporating some of the same incentives that keep native U.S. students out of graduate programs.)

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