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3 charts that show just what’s happened to the tax code since 1979

Image Credit: St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank

Image Credit: St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank

Great study on debt and taxes from the St. Louis Fed. Lots of insightful charts and facts. Here are a few:

1. From 1979 through 2000,  all of the changes in the tax code before the Bush tax cuts effectively reduced the average tax rate for the bottom 80 percent of earners and raised the average tax rate for the top 20 percent. Hence, these tax changes appear to have redistributed the tax burden to the higher-income earners.

2. In contrast, the Bush tax cuts reduced average tax rates for all income levels. However, these cuts reduced the average tax rates more for higher-income earners: From 2000 to 2007, the average tax rates declined by 3.1, 1.9, 1.7, 2, and 2 percentage points from the highest to the lowest quintiles, respectively.

3. The lowest-income earners have benefited the most from all tax law changes since 1979; the average tax rate declined by 1.3, 3.9, 4.2, 4.5, and 6.8 percentage points from the highest to the lowest quintiles, respectively.

4. Moreover, since 2001 the lowest 40 percent of income earners have had zero or negative individual income average tax rates. Hence, 60 percent of income earners account for 100% of personal income tax revenue.

5. The average Social Security tax for all quintiles increased until early 1993. The average Social Security tax rate continued to increase for the lowest-income earners but either leveled off or declined for everyone else. The top 5 percent of income earners has had the lowest average social insurance tax rate over the entire period and the tax rate has been relatively constant. The highest and lowest income quintiles had nearly identical average tax rates from 1979 to 1995, when the highest quintile’s average tax rate began to decline.

51 thoughts on “3 charts that show just what’s happened to the tax code since 1979

  1. now how about listing the top 3 spending categories, entitlements, DOD and general govt right now and in 2000.

    Ronald Reagan RAISED taxes once he realized he cut too much and we were headed into deficit.

    Under Bush, we cut taxes and ignored in when we headed into deficit.

    • Reagan was snookered by the Democrats, who promised to cut spending in order to get the tax increase, but lied. The problem is that government keeps taking a bigger percentage of GDP through spending and regulations. The only recent exception is the Gingrich/Clinton period 1994-2001, when the federal government percentage of GDP fell to 18%, and the budget almost achieved genuine balance. We need to return to 18% federal government, and chop the cost of regulations severely.

      • Measuring by GDP allows evasion of hard realities and the hard realities are that we take in about 1.5 trillion in income taxes and we spend that much on DOD alone.

        We spend another trillion + on entitlements.

        our problem is the deficit and the 16T debt not what percent of govt is of GDP because right now our tax revenues are about the lowest they’ve been in decades and our GDP is nothing to write home about either.

        My problem here is that we argue about GDP percentages and run away from our deficit and debt.

        We have no choice but to fix the deficit and there is no way to fix it with cuts alone. That’s a reality. The question is what will we do to balance the budget or will we continue to argue about what percent of GDP spending is?

        I see the GDP issue as basically evading the revenue vs expenditure realities.

        Where is the credible cut-only budget proposal if it is a doeable thing?

        Ryans does not balance until 2030. By that time the 16 trillion will be 30 trillion so that not a credible cuts-only budget.

        where is the credible cuts-only budget? It does not exist because it’s not possible.

        why do we pretend otherwise?

      • he cut tax rates and revenues did increase but unlike Reagan, when spending increased more than the increased revenues, Bush did nothing while Reagan went back to the tax code and got the additional money to pay the bills and not let the budget go into deficit..

        that’s the truth,

  2. 1. From 1979 through 2000, all of the changes in the tax code before the Bush tax cuts effectively reduced the average tax rate for the bottom 80 percent of earners and raised the average tax rate for the top 20 percent. Hence, these tax changes appear to have redistributed the tax burden to the higher-income earners.

    Rates don’t matter much when there are loopholes that allow you to avoid paying taxes. Reducing rates while closing those loopholes could mean that people wind up paying more. The idea is not to get so hung up on the rate remaining the same that you get a higher effective rate but to cut both tax revenues and spending so that the economy could grow.

    • Apparently you missed the “effectively” part of that point. It includes the effects of the loopholes, at least until it drives the AGI into negative territory.

      • Actually, I didn’t. The word effectively did not cover effective tax rate for individuals and there is no discussion of effective tax rates, which the GOP wants to see go up even as the tax rates supposedly remain the same. If that is the GOP position how are Republicans different than Democrats? In both cases people who are supposedly ‘rich’ will wind up paying more to the government. The only difference will be about whether you limit deductions, as the GOP would, or increase rates, as Obama argues.

        My point was that effective rates did not really fall for most people, including many who supposedly got reduced rates in the bottom 20%. The huge increase in SS taxes in the early 1980s was a huge hit to earnings as FICA taxes exploded and the total FICA take was around 15% of income up to a certain amount. Yes, the Bush cuts in the early 2000s reduced the tax rates but only because taxes were deferred to the future as deficits exploded. Someone is still on the hook for the spending that was not funded by tax revenue and will wind up paying either by accepting lower pension benefits than were funded by contributions, by a higher tax payment in the future, or by a loss of purchasing power.

        That is the problem with the GOP. It has no real ideas and does not stand on principles that it is willing to defend. By choosing a candidate who would not cut real spending and who kept clamouring for more military involvement above GOP primary voters ensured that the one of the weakest presidents in history would attract a sufficient number of independent voters that would ensure his victory.

        It is time that the AEI and other similar institutions recognised the writing on the wall and rejected the failed ideas of the false ‘conservatives’ that have dominated GOP discussions over the past few decades. It is time that real conservatives joined with real classical liberals and libertarians and chose the path of limited government.

          • the other thing to keep in mind is that the lowered AGI is what most states also use and finally in most locations, on child receives about 10K in funding for school so two kids nets the family a 20K subsidy in addition to the tax refund.

          • What is missed are the FICA taxes paid by the workers and their employers. Add to that the taxes that the family pays out to the federal government each time it buys gasoline, alcohol, or tobacco, the duties it pays when it buys shoes and clothing for the kids, or the extra costs that it must pay when it buys products that have a regulatory burden imposed on them, and you are looking at a family that still winds up paying taxes in one form or another.

            What you are missing is the fact that one could have a one worker family not all that long ago and live comfortably because the total cost of living was lower than it is now.

          • true. but a family of 4 – with 2 kids gets 20K in school subsidies and most do not come close to paying that much in sales, income and property taxes to cover that subsidy.

            On the Federal tax side – look at EIC and the child tax credits which completely cover the taxes that would normally be paid on the reduced amount.

            Neither credit is paid by the way unless the file is working at a job.

          • true. but a family of 4 – with 2 kids gets 20K in school subsidies and most do not come close to paying that much in sales, income and property taxes to cover that subsidy.

            LOL…The family is forced to put the kids into schools where incompetent PC teachers indoctrinate them to be good soldiers and follow government edicts. This is partially paid out of property taxes or from higher rent that covers the property taxes. The $20K ‘subsidy’ is not a benefit. It is a penalty.

          • re: ” The $20K ‘subsidy’ is not a benefit. It is a penalty”

            not the the vast majority of people who support the public school system for THEIR kid who has a wide variety of courses and activities to participate in.

            the folks like you are far, far fewer in number.

            the reason the schools are so expensive is the “extras” that parents advocate for. The schools in Europe basically offer only core academic courses and are far less expensive.

            our schools are expensive because parents want a lot of “extras”.

          • not the the vast majority of people who support the public school system for THEIR kid who has a wide variety of courses and activities to participate in.

            Really? I thought that your kids went to school to learn. When you look at their performance in comparison to kids from other countries they do not do very well.

            the reason the schools are so expensive is the “extras” that parents advocate for. The schools in Europe basically offer only core academic courses and are far less expensive.

            Right. Video surveillance, metal detectors, drug sniffing dogs, and courses in marching band are very expensive but essential. And those poor European kids do not have soccer or basketball teams. That is why they are so much fatter and in less shape than American kids. :)

            our schools are expensive because parents want a lot of “extras”.

            Right….parents in the US want metal detectors and computers where kids can check their Facebook accounts while European parents have to do without the surveillance systems, armed security guards, and tubas that the fat kids can play in band.

            All joking aside, in Europe the money goes with the student, not the school. As such parents can choose which school to send their kids in. And that means competition for students and better programs.

          • We spend more money because we offer a lot more courses beyond core academic courses – and that means salaries.

            And most parents over here want the wide range of courses and activities – that most get for cheap for their property taxes verses the actual cost per kid.

            In Europe – people live in much more modest circumstances than here and pay quite a bit less in taxes and have focused schools are more limited but more core academics and less extras.

            I don’t know about the money “following” the kid – you’ll have to show this but I do know that schools that teach the core academics are public.

            cameras, metal detectors, etc, etc do not cost much anyhow compared to salaries.

            the bottom line is that in this country – people with kids – impose costs to taxpayers at 10K per kid and up.

            when we talk about “takers” and “parasites”, the 10K needs to be also accounted for in that discussion.

          • We spend more money because we offer a lot more courses beyond core academic courses – and that means salaries.

            No it does not mean salaries and better jobs. It means one other way to avoid dealing with the reality of students who can’t do basic math or read properly.

            You can’t dance around this issue my friend. The problem is not the parents but the bureaucracy that will not let good teachers do what they do best and tolerates incompetent teachers who should be fired. It is the lack of competition because the funding is not attached to the students.

          • ” No it does not mean salaries and better jobs. It means one other way to avoid dealing with the reality of students who can’t do basic math or read properly.”

            how would you explain Europe producing high achieving students in public schools with less money?

            “You can’t dance around this issue my friend. The problem is not the parents but the bureaucracy that will not let good teachers do what they do best and tolerates incompetent teachers who should be fired. It is the lack of competition because the funding is not attached to the students.”

            not attached to students in 15 other countries with public school that best our scores – either.

            the difference is they concentrate on core academics and let the parents pay for extras and yes.. if a teacher is not good at teaching core academics they get rid of them.

            How many teachers in an average high school teach core academics verses other things?

            How many parents in the US do not want their kids taking core academics for fear they’ll get bad grades and then not get into the college they want?

            the fault is ours – the kids cost 10K each and are badly educated because of our SYSTEM – our ENTIRE SYSTEM from coast to coast – as compared to the ENTIRE SYSTEMs of the 15 countries that beat us.

            In your world ALL of our schools have bad, overpaid teachers and NONE of the 15 schools have bad, overpaid teachers… so it’s OUR TEACHERs that are the fault.

            when we think that – we’re living in a dream world fending off the reality that we have bad academics because that’s what we really want.

            we do not want tough academics.. they “hurt” the kids chances of getting into their favorite college and the ones that are not going to college, we don’t care about anyhow.

            this is US …compared to EUROPE and JAPAN and Australia/New Zealand… etc…

            the problem is US – not the teachers. Most teachers do exactly what they are told; they teach exactly what they are told to teach. And if the school is hiring instructors for photo journalism and not hiring Calculus teachers – people train up for the jobs being offered.

            It’s absurd to think that Europe, Japan, etc have only GOOD teachers and most of ours are BAD. It’s our little crutch we use so we don’t have to face the truth.

          • how would you explain Europe producing high achieving students in public schools with less money?

            Parents have more choices because the money is attached to the child, not given to the district. That means that bad schools have no students and are forced to close because they cannot compete with the better schools.

            not attached to students in 15 other countries with public school that best our scores – either.

            How do you know that? It seem to me that you are incapable of understanding and know little about most of the topics that you comment on. In a place like Singapore and in many European countries the student chooses the high school that s/he attends and the funding is attached to the student. That means that bad schools are quickly starved of money.

          • the difference is they concentrate on core academics and let the parents pay for extras and yes.. if a teacher is not good at teaching core academics they get rid of them.

            As shown in the youtube piece referenced above, you are wrong as usual. There are rubber rooms in which pedophiles and criminals who teach your kids have to spend their day because they cannot be fired. As for American parents, they are just as free to send their kids to take extra courses just as Asian and European parents do. But, unlike Asian and European parents, Americans put up with schools that cannot teach kids how to read and do math properly.

          • ” But, unlike Asian and European parents, Americans put up with schools that cannot teach kids how to read and do math properly.”

            nationwide?

            and in Europe and Asia – Nationwide – they don’t have the same issues?

            I can see one school or one teacher but you talking about thousands of schools and hundreds of thousands of teachers that are “pedophiles” and “criminals”?

            How can socialist Europe do a better job NATIONWIDE than we do NATIONWIDE?

            what you are saying makes no sense what-so-ever guy.

            you’re parroting propaganda as usual and refusing to see the realities – as usual.

            do you have such a problem with reality that you must retreat every time?

            our problem is not bad teachers or pedophiles or criminals – NATIONWIDE – so systemic that our whole entire school systems are that way.

            People move to specific neighborhoods to have their kids attend schools that they love with teachers they have high praise for – no criminals, no pedophiles,, but they do not focus on core academics… in part because parents do not want their kids to “fail”.

            the reason we do not beat Europe is academic achievement is because most folks don’t even realize that we are so behind … as long as they like their school and their teachers…. all is well.

          • nationwide?

            No, Larry. Education is a local issue. I imagine that there are some small towns where there is accountability to parents. But most students have very similar problems with bad schools that do not teach what they should and ignore the real world needs in a competitive economy. This is why the US needs so many foreign postdocs in mathematics and the sciences.

            and in Europe and Asia – Nationwide – they don’t have the same issues?

            No, they do not. European parents are a bit less tolerant of outright incompetence than American parents. Their kids may turn out to be socialists but they have better math and language schools, particularly at the higher grades.

            I can see one school or one teacher but you talking about thousands of schools and hundreds of thousands of teachers that are “pedophiles” and “criminals”?

            The teacher unions protect by seniority in most states. That means incompetent teachers and teachers that have some serious problems are pain not to teach.

            How can socialist Europe do a better job NATIONWIDE than we do NATIONWIDE?

            Because in Europe the money goes with the kid and parents can choose the schools. That means that bad schools will see a collapse in enrolment and will lose funding. When there is competition the results are better.

            what you are saying makes no sense what-so-ever guy.

            Of course it does, and the test results prove it. You throw around words like socialist without realizing that your own system has far less competition than Sweden, Belgium, or Singapore. In those countries high school students can pick which schools they want to go to and if they have the marks they will get spots in those schools. In the US there are school police that look for kids going to schools in districts that they do not live in.

            You are getting exactly what you deserve my friend because your voters let the interest of teachers play a bigger part in the story than the interest of your children. That is why the US is great at cheerleading competitions but so pathetic at math competitions. Luckily, the homeschoolers and private schools have saved the day so far.

          • “No, Larry. Education is a local issue. I imagine that there are some small towns where there is accountability to parents. But most students have very similar problems with bad schools that do not teach what they should and ignore the real world needs in a competitive economy. This is why the US needs so many foreign postdocs in mathematics and the sciences.”

            Most schools are 1/2 local funded and 1/2 State funded with about 1/10th fed funding usually for at risk kids. And locally there IS accountability and in most localities – parents willingly vote for about 1/2 of their total taxes to pay for schools.

            “and in Europe and Asia – Nationwide – they don’t have the same issues?

            No, they do not. European parents are a bit less tolerant of outright incompetence than American parents. Their kids may turn out to be socialists but they have better math and language schools, particularly at the higher grades.”

            there is much more to it than that. European schools concentrate on core academics for BOTH college-bound AND non-college-bound kids.

            remember in academic achievement comparisons and rankings, we’re not talking only about some bad schools with “bad” teachers – we’re talking nationwide. there is more going on than “bad” teachers.

            “The teacher unions protect by seniority in most states. That means incompetent teachers and teachers that have some serious problems are pain not to teach.”

            Again , what do you not understand about “nationwide” that includes many states that do not have teacher unions?

            “How can socialist Europe do a better job NATIONWIDE than we do NATIONWIDE?

            Because in Europe the money goes with the kid and parents can choose the schools. That means that bad schools will see a collapse in enrolment and will lose funding. When there is competition the results are better.”

            please provide some credible evidence of this claim.

            what you are saying makes no sense what-so-ever guy.

            “Of course it does, and the test results prove it. You throw around words like socialist without realizing that your own system has far less competition than Sweden, Belgium, or Singapore. In those countries high school students can pick which schools they want to go to and if they have the marks they will get spots in those schools. In the US there are school police that look for kids going to schools in districts that they do not live in.”

            I use the word “socialist” and “pubic schools” because you use both terms pejoratively in other contexts.

            “You are getting exactly what you deserve my friend because your voters let the interest of teachers play a bigger part in the story than the interest of your children. That is why the US is great at cheerleading competitions but so pathetic at math competitions. Luckily, the homeschoolers and private schools have saved the day so far”

            Most voters – at the local level ARE HAPPY with their schools and teachers as most of them are not urban core schools. Cheerleading is what parents WANT – much more so than rigorous core academics.

            How do you know that homeschoolers and private schools compare with the top ranked European public schools?

          • Most schools are 1/2 local funded and 1/2 State funded with about 1/10th fed funding usually for at risk kids. And locally there IS accountability and in most localities – parents willingly vote for about 1/2 of their total taxes to pay for schools.

            The first part is about right but the second clearly isn’t. Most parents are not as happy with the quality of education received. They vote for whatever option they think will improve education but never seem to get the improvement that they want.

            http://www.gallup.com/poll/1612/education.aspx

            there is much more to it than that. European schools concentrate on core academics for BOTH college-bound AND non-college-bound kids.

            Which is what your schools are supposed to do and claim to do.

            remember in academic achievement comparisons and rankings, we’re not talking only about some bad schools with “bad” teachers – we’re talking nationwide. there is more going on than “bad” teachers.

            Yes Larry, it is the complete monopoly and lack of choice for parents. In other countries the money is attached to the student and parents have choices. That makes schools compete and forces teachers to be accountable not only to parents but to other teachers wanting to keep their jobs. That is not the case in the US.

            Again , what do you not understand about “nationwide” that includes many states that do not have teacher unions?

            Which states do not have teacher unions? Which states allow competition between schools for students and give the parents choices?

            Without competition there is no incentive to improve because failure is rewarded with more money and more goodies for teachers. That is not the case for most of the developed world.

            please provide some credible evidence of this claim.

            How is it that you only provide opinion while I give you links to support my statements and you ask for more evidence? Go to the report on education that I linked and you will see exactly what I mean. American parents have less choice. If you lived in Singapore your kids would apply to the high-school of their choice. If they had the grades they would be admitted to that school. Under such a system bad schools lose students and close down. The same is true, which you will find out if you look at the video, for most of Europe. Even Finland, which is being touted by the socialists as an egalitarian system with little choice, allows students to apply to high schools of their choice.

            what you are saying makes no sense what-so-ever guy.

            Only because you do not respond to facts or logic. It makes perfect sense to most people. Do you really think that the quality of your food would improve if you had to buy it from the same store as other people in your area? Then why do you think that it will improve if you had to send your kids to the same school as other people in your area?

          • Most schools are 1/2 local funded and 1/2 State funded with about 1/10th fed funding usually for at risk kids. And locally there IS accountability and in most localities – parents willingly vote for about 1/2 of their total taxes to pay for schools.

            The first part is about right but the second clearly isn’t. Most parents are not as happy with the quality of education received. They vote for whatever option they think will improve education but never seem to get the improvement that they want.

            http://www.gallup.com/poll/1612/education.aspx

            the poll is not about how people feel about the school their kid is in.

            It’s the parents who vote for MORE comprehensive programs with increased local funding and taxation.

            “there is much more to it than that. European schools concentrate on core academics for BOTH college-bound AND non-college-bound kids.

            Which is what your schools are supposed to do and claim to do.”

            agreed but the parents who advocate for their kids and control priorities and resources are usually kids that are college-bound while kids who are not do not have as effective advocacy.

            “Yes Larry, it is the complete monopoly and lack of choice for parents. In other countries the money is attached to the student and parents have choices. That makes schools compete and forces teachers to be accountable not only to parents but to other teachers wanting to keep their jobs. That is not the case in the US.”

            bull feathers. it comes down to LOCAL schools where LOCAL taxpayers have a very high ability to hold them accountable if they are unhappy with them.

            “Which states do not have teacher unions? Which states allow competition between schools for students and give the parents choices?”

            it’s very diverse but the achievement results are about the same because the curriculums are seldom rigorous enough, in part, because parents do not want their kids to get “bad” grades.

            “Without competition there is no incentive to improve because failure is rewarded with more money and more goodies for teachers. That is not the case for most of the developed world.”

            is it the case in the countries that beat us?

            “please provide some credible evidence of this claim.

            How is it that you only provide opinion while I give you links to support my statements and you ask for more evidence? Go to the report on education that I linked and you will see exactly what I mean. American parents have less choice. If you lived in Singapore your kids would apply to the high-school of their choice. If they had the grades they would be admitted to that school.”

            I provide links easily… as you know… but I’m not sure what link you provided to support your claims that
            the money goes with the kid – in schools that beat us – and that’s why they beat us.

            “Under such a system bad schools lose students and close down. The same is true, which you will find out if you look at the video, for most of Europe. Even Finland, which is being touted by the socialists as an egalitarian system with little choice, allows students to apply to high schools of their choice.”

            we allow that here under NCLB and people in the US actually move to neighborhoods where they like the schools. You know that.

            “Only because you do not respond to facts or logic. It makes perfect sense to most people. Do you really think that the quality of your food would improve if you had to buy it from the same store as other people in your area? Then why do you think that it will improve if you had to send your kids to the same school as other people in your area?”

            what you are advocating, in terms of competition, I AGREE WITH but the standards for private schools and home schooling are not the same as our public schools much less the other schools in the world that beat us,,

            I’d be totally in favor of non-public schools if they had to meet that standard.

            but here’s a question for you.. Say we do that – do you think the kids are entitled to public funding? Why?

            Do you really advocate for NO PUBLIC ScHOOLS and NO Public funding of schools? be honest.

          • the poll is not about how people feel about the school their kid is in.

            No, the poll is about the quality of education that their kids get. Since most kids get their education in their schools there is a connection that you do not seem to grasp.

            It’s the parents who vote for MORE comprehensive programs with increased local funding and taxation.

            Because they are told that there is not enough money and have no idea just how wasteful the school boards are. But they are getting the idea as the economy fades and their kids wind up illiterate, jobless, and living at home.

            agreed but the parents who advocate for their kids and control priorities and resources are usually kids that are college-bound while kids who are not do not have as effective advocacy.

            BS. All parents want their kids to learn better. The poor parents are even more vocal because their kids get the worst teachers and the worst education. The schools can’t teach them as much in three years as a private institution like Sylvain can teach them in a week or two. That is because the schools don’t try and don’t care about the kids as much as they do about the teachers’ unions.

            bull feathers. it comes down to LOCAL schools where LOCAL taxpayers have a very high ability to hold them accountable if they are unhappy with them.

            If your local school is crap you are stuck. In Europe, Singapore, and even socialist Canada you can move your kid to another school without much difficulty. Some of my friends did not like their public school performance so they moved the kids to publicly funded French immersion programs or to the local Catholic School Board schools. If your kid goes to the Catholic School the money goes with him/her. In the US that is not the case for the vast majority of states.

            it’s very diverse but the achievement results are about the same because the curriculums are seldom rigorous enough, in part, because parents do not want their kids to get “bad” grades.

            Note that when you were asked to back up a statement that you made you avoided the question entirely?

            I provide links easily… as you know… but I’m not sure what link you provided to support your claims that
            the money goes with the kid – in schools that beat us – and that’s why they beat us.

            I provided you with a link to a one hour television program that looked into the differences between your education system and that in other countries. And if you have Google it is very easy to find the information that you need. Of course, you write about stuff that you do not have much knowledge about all the time and remain ignorant long after you have been provided with sufficient leads to educate yourself.

            we allow that here under NCLB and people in the US actually move to neighborhoods where they like the schools. You know that.

            Poor people can’t move. In other countries they do not have to move to send their kids to better schools.

            what you are advocating, in terms of competition, I AGREE WITH but the standards for private schools and home schooling are not the same as our public schools much less the other schools in the world that beat us,,

            It is not the ‘standards’. It is the teachers and what is being taught. As for home schooled kids they learn much more and much faster. In the summer I ran into a 13 year old girl who had completed her math equivalency already and was taking online university courses. I tutor a grade 8 girl in math. The curriculum is at the grade 11 and she has scored 100% in all of the homework and was in the top 10% on the test I provided. My friend’s son finished his high school equivalency at 16 while living in a house in Turkey. The kid was operating a service that provided boat tours of the Eastern Mediterranean and managed to take on-line courses in geology and mathematics while he was working. Not only that he wound up being certified in deep water diving, welding, electrical, and pipe fitting while he was doing everything else. He now runs a mining outfit in Columbia while his little brother has some type of business in Burma and seems to have accumulated rental properties in Morocco. It is amazing how much kids can learn when they are given the opportunity and are allowed to pursue their interests.

            The public school standards are a joke. So are private school standards that limit themselves to replicating what the public schools teach.

          • I’d be totally in favor of non-public schools if they had to meet that standard.

            As I wrote above, the standards are a joke. If you limit kids they will remain illiterate and incompetent.

            but here’s a question for you.. Say we do that – do you think the kids are entitled to public funding? Why?

            No. All funding should be private. The only way to pay for stuff by the public sector is to rob workers, savers, and investors. That is not ethical or moral.

            Do you really advocate for NO PUBLIC ScHOOLS and NO Public funding of schools? be honest.

            Yes, I do. But I also point out if idiots like you insist on public schools there is no reason why the parents can’t have choices that force the public schools to serve their children and compete for funding.

          • I use the word “socialist” and “pubic schools” because you use both terms pejoratively in other contexts.

            The term are what they are.

            Most voters – at the local level ARE HAPPY with their schools and teachers as most of them are not urban core schools. Cheerleading is what parents WANT – much more so than rigorous core academics.

            I showed a link to a poll on education while you keep giving us your unsubstantiated opinions. There is no objective evidence that American parents are happy that when graduating high school their kids have a 32 percent proficiency rate in math and a 31 percent proficiency rate in reading. Even if you are white and do not care about the pathetic performance of hispanic, native, and black population and you compare their performance against the entire population of students from other countries you still find the average white American ranks behind the kids of 16 other countries. The last time I checked Americans did not cheer the fact that they were 30th or 16th best in anything.

            Try educating yourself and use a bit of logic. You are actually the example that supports my view of how bad the US education system happens to be.

          • ” There is no objective evidence that American parents are happy that when graduating high school their kids have a 32 percent proficiency rate in math and a 31 percent proficiency rate in reading. ”

            The objective evidence is that, at the local level, parents VOTE IN FAVOR OF TAXES on THEIR PROPERTY sufficient to ADD $5,000 to the 5K they get from the State and Feds.

            that’s pretty objective evidence Van.

            Show me where in the US, they’ve done otherwise.

            Parents are voters and could easily de-fund the schools and use that money saved to send their kids to private schools…..

            where have they done that?

          • How do you know that homeschoolers and private schools compare with the top ranked European public schools?

            Because most of the data tells us so.

            http://www.hslda.org/docs/nche/000010/200410250.asp

            And you do understand that when doing a comparison you have to adjust for certain factors like education of the parent, income group, race, etc.,? So when you look at studies pay attention and do not fall into the traps that were laid out for you.

    • “true. but a family of 4 – with 2 kids gets 20K in school subsidies and most do not come close to paying that much in sales, income and property taxes to cover that subsidy.”

      Yeah, but that family of 4 will be paying sales, income, and property taxes for their whole lives. Duh, you can’t just count the yrs their kids are in school.

      “..our schools are expensive because parents want a lot of “extras”.”

      Ah, it’s the parents. It’s not the avalanche of “administrators”, incompetent teachers that can’t be fired, or other things like lifetime pensions for part-time bus drivers. Or “extras” like the pension boosting practices of “padding,” “double-dipping,” “spiking” and other scams government employees use to loot the taxpayers.

      • re: ” Yeah, but that family of 4 will be paying sales, income, and property taxes for their whole lives. Duh, you can’t just count the yrs their kids are in school.”

        true.. do you also count the people who don’t have kids?

        re: “..our schools are expensive because parents want a lot of “extras”.”

        “Ah, it’s the parents. It’s not the avalanche of “administrators”, incompetent teachers that can’t be fired, or other things like lifetime pensions for part-time bus drivers. Or “extras” like the pension boosting practices of “padding,” “double-dipping,” “spiking” and other scams government employees use to loot the taxpayers.”

        the parents do not give a rat’s behind about the “avalanche of administrators” as long as Johnny can take photo journalism or Latin IV to “pad” his HS resume with easy courses that score high grades so he can get into their favorite name brand University.

        My point here is that people who get public school for their kids are among the biggest “takers” not only for the 10K for schools but the tax-write offs from deductions to EIC to child tax credits.

        Among the biggest “takers” are those with kids. I’m not blaming.. I’m saying be honest about it.

  3. re: ” No, they do not. European parents are a bit less tolerant of outright incompetence than American parents. Their kids may turn out to be socialists but they have better math and language schools, particularly at the higher grades.”

    take a look:

    Reading literacy
    1. Finland 546
    2. Canada 534
    3. New Zealand 529
    4. Australia 528
    5. Ireland 527
    6. South Korea 525
    7. United Kingdom 523
    8. Japan 522
    9. Sweden 516
    10. Austria 507
    11. Belgium 507
    12. Iceland 507
    13. Norway 505
    14. France 505
    15. U.S. 504

    and re-consider your statement: ” ‘European parents’ are a bit less tolerant of outright incompetence than American parents.”

    are you not in denial here?

    Japan, South Korea, Canada, New Zealand??

    ALL European Socialists?

    come on Van… can’t you be honest here?

    • take a look:…

      1. Finland 546
      2. Canada 534
      3. New Zealand 529
      4. Australia 528
      5. Ireland 527
      6. South Korea 525
      7. United Kingdom 523
      8. Japan 522
      9. Sweden 516
      10. Austria 507
      11. Belgium 507
      12. Iceland 507
      13. Norway 505
      14. France 505
      15. U.S. 504

      I did. You are #15 in literacy. And in the 30s for math.

      1 Shanghai, China 600
      2 Singapore 562
      3 Hong Kong, China 555
      4 South Korea 546
      5 Taiwan 543
      6 Finland 541
      7 Liechtenstein 536
      8 Switzerland 534
      9 Japan 529
      10 Canada 527
      11 Netherlands 526
      12 Macau, China 525
      13 New Zealand 519
      14 Belgium 515
      15 Australia 514
      16 Germany 513
      17 Estonia 512
      18 Iceland 507
      19 Denmark 503
      20 Slovenia 501
      21 Norway 498
      22 France 497
      23 Slovakia 497
      24 Austria 496
      25 Poland 495
      26 Sweden 494
      27 Czech Republic 493
      28 United Kingdom 492
      29 Hungary 490
      30 Luxembourg 489
      31 United States 487

      and re-consider your statement: ” ‘European parents’ are a bit less tolerant of outright incompetence than American parents.”

      What is the problem with that statement? Most EU countries have a lot more choice than the US. After all, the students can go to high schools of their choice rather than outright assignment. Even the Finns, who claim not to have choice, allow parents to apply for another school if they do not like where the kids are assigned by the local district. The Finnish education system improved by leaps and bounds when micromanagement at the top levels was stopped in favour for more decentralisation and more local control. This is why their kids do so much better in math and science than American students even after adjusting for race. Most other EU countries have similar choice that is not present in the US system.

      are you not in denial here?

      Japan, South Korea, Canada, New Zealand??

      ALL European Socialists?

      come on Van… can’t you be honest here?

      You must be retarded or something. Japan, South Korea, Canada, New Zealand are not Eu countries and nobody has claimed it. Learn how to read.

      • re: ” You must be retarded or something. Japan, South Korea, Canada, New Zealand are not Eu countries and nobody has claimed it. Learn how to read.”

        those countries beat the US also. Are you ALSO claiming they are run like the European schools that beat us?

        What I was pointing out to you is that a wide, diverse group of schools – around the globe – different kinds of schools and systems – ALL beat us and you continue to say it’s because we have bad teachers and Europe has “choice”. So ask you how the other non-Europe countries ALSO beat us. Same reasons as Europe or other reasons?

        Myself – I do not buy your thesis at all and doubt that EVERY European country allows any kid to attend any school and the reason why is that schools are physical facilities with finite space and once they are full, they are full. Besides that, Europe is not sprawled like we are and auto centric like we are and their kids walk and bike to school unlike ours so I doubt that it’s all that easy for kids to go wherever they wish – not only in Europe but also the other countries that beat us.

        It’s not WHERE we teach. It’s HOW we teach. We simply do not have tough academic standards in this country – in general. In Europe, even if you’re not headed to College, there are tough robust academic standards called “technical track”.

        In this country we have a 20% drop out rate. Over there, much lower.

        everyone of our kids who fails to get an adequate education, is another adult who will end up on entitlements.

        Do you agree with THAT statement?

        • those countries beat the US also. Are you ALSO claiming they are run like the European schools that beat us?

          Yes I am. In most countries there is far more choice for parents than in the US. Even in commie Ontario students have choices of publicly funded French immersion, special art or science oriented schools, or Catholic School board schools if they do not like their local public school choice. The options put pressure on the public schools to compete for students far more than your schools.

          What I was pointing out to you is that a wide, diverse group of schools – around the globe – different kinds of schools and systems – ALL beat us and you continue to say it’s because we have bad teachers and Europe has “choice”. So ask you how the other non-Europe countries ALSO beat us. Same reasons as Europe or other reasons?

          It is the same reason. The bad schools are not tolerated and lose enrolment whenever there is choice for parents.

          It’s not WHERE we teach. It’s HOW we teach. We simply do not have tough academic standards in this country – in general. In Europe, even if you’re not headed to College, there are tough robust academic standards called “technical track”.

          You missed the point that was already provided to you in one of the links. American kids do well in the early grades and are quite competitive against their foreign peers. The problem is that the school system is so bad that the longer they stay in the worse off they get. Which is why home schooling is exploding and why most public school teachers send their own kids to private schools that follow the same curriculum. It is not the curriculum but the lack of accountability.

          In this country we have a 20% drop out rate. Over there, much lower.

          I think your dropout rate is much higher. You graduate a small percentage of kids who have the required math and reading skills.

          everyone of our kids who fails to get an adequate education, is another adult who will end up on entitlements.

          Only if you give them free goodies and offer a consolation prize if they fail to learn the skills they need. Take that incentive away and the education system would be reformed in short order.

          Do you agree with THAT statement?

          No. Entitlements are only available if the country is not broke and has access to easy credit. From what I see the US looks a lot like Greece and Spain right now. And both of those look like they will cut back on the entitlements. You will follow and all those illiterate kids will find that their safety net of free goodies is gone.

          • “those countries beat the US also. Are you ALSO claiming they are run like the European schools that beat us?

            Yes I am. In most countries there is far more choice for parents than in the US. Even in commie Ontario students have choices of publicly funded French immersion, special art or science oriented schools, or Catholic School board schools if they do not like their local public school choice. The options put pressure on the public schools to compete for students far more than your schools.”

            ALL other OCED countries that beat us have more choice and funding that goes with the student and THAT is why they beat us?

            “What I was pointing out to you is that a wide, diverse group of schools – around the globe – different kinds of schools and systems – ALL beat us and you continue to say it’s because we have bad teachers and Europe has “choice”. So ask you how the other non-Europe countries ALSO beat us. Same reasons as Europe or other reasons?

            It is the same reason. The bad schools are not tolerated and lose enrolment whenever there is choice for parents.”

            In ALL countries that beat us?

            “You missed the point that was already provided to you in one of the links. American kids do well in the early grades and are quite competitive against their foreign peers. The problem is that the school system is so bad that the longer they stay in the worse off they get. Which is why home schooling is exploding and why most public school teachers send their own kids to private schools that follow the same curriculum. It is not the curriculum but the lack of accountability.”

            WTF? have you got any credible data here or just spouting self-serving stuff from alternative schools?

            “everyone of our kids who fails to get an adequate education, is another adult who will end up on entitlements.

            Only if you give them free goodies and offer a consolation prize if they fail to learn the skills they need. Take that incentive away and the education system would be reformed in short order.”

            but that’s what happens. all your “solution” would do
            is turn us into a 3rd world country.

            “No. Entitlements are only available if the country is not broke and has access to easy credit. From what I see the US looks a lot like Greece and Spain right now. And both of those look like they will cut back on the entitlements. You will follow and all those illiterate kids will find that their safety net of free goodies is gone.”

            and socialist Europe does not have this problem because ALL of them have school choice and per kid funding that stays with the kid. So even though they are socialist and have more/better entitlements than us they have better education and less drop-out rates?

            Japan? Australia? Singapore? Eastern Europe?

          • ALL other OCED countries that beat us have more choice and funding that goes with the student and THAT is why they beat us?

            That is a big part. The US has a much more centralised approach that ignores local parent and student needs. That does not happen in most other countries where parents and students have more choices.

            Also, your stupidity is showing again. In a complex world there is no one button to be pushed or one lever to be pulled to make things better. You are hoping to find the one thing and there is no way to do that for all cases. This does not mean that we ignore logic and the evidence and keep going the way we have because you cannot afford to lose too many generations before the country falls apart.

            WTF? have you got any credible data here or just spouting self-serving stuff from alternative schools?

            The reference did not come from alternative schools. It was an investigation into why American kids seem to be so stupid and do so poorly. The conclusions were that it was the educational system, not the kids. The fact that you do not like the answers is your problem, not mine. And there is no way to argue against the logic. Competition provides more and better goods. Monopoly provides complacency and contempt for customers.

          • ALL other OCED countries that beat us have more choice and funding that goes with the student and THAT is why they beat us?

            That is a big part. The US has a much more centralised approach that ignores local parent and student needs. That does not happen in most other countries where parents and students have more choices.”

            you make this claim but you do not back it up with credible data.

            “Also, your stupidity is showing again. In a complex world there is no one button to be pushed or one lever to be pulled to make things better. You are hoping to find the one thing and there is no way to do that for all cases. This does not mean that we ignore logic and the evidence and keep going the way we have because you cannot afford to lose too many generations before the country falls apart.”

            nope, I know this is no one thing, I’m asking YOU because you seem to think there is and I certainly do not agree.

            “WTF? have you got any credible data here or just spouting self-serving stuff from alternative schools?

            The reference did not come from alternative schools. It was an investigation into why American kids seem to be so stupid and do so poorly. The conclusions were that it was the educational system, not the kids. The fact that you do not like the answers is your problem, not mine. And there is no way to argue against the logic. Competition provides more and better goods. Monopoly provides complacency and contempt for customers.”

            It was NOT a credible investigation.

            Guy… when someone who is advocating non-public schools “investigates” the very thing he is opposed to – it’s NOT credible.

            You want MORE THAN ONE “study” and you’d like it to NOT come from someone who is “investigating” in a self-serving way.

            You said I’m stupid. Well how stupid is it to reference a biased study as an objective one?

            You’ve made a bunch of claims about how other schools “work” in Europe, Asia, etc and you’ve not provided a single reference to support what you are claiming:

            1. – choice of what school to attend – in ALL the countries that best us in achievement

            2. – money goes with Kid – in ALL countries that best us in achievement.

            provide the info that supports your claims… please.

          • you make this claim but you do not back it up with credible data.

            Did you look at the program that was referenced? I thought not.

          • re: ” Did you look at the program that was referenced? I thought not.”

            this is credible evidence?

            Van – do you know what credible means?

            you are totally speculating guy and you provide almost zero evidence to back up your conjecture.

            I keep asking you to show that all the countries that beat us – have different systems than ours and what do you do… you cite self-serving “studies” done by home school advocates.

            that’s not credible guy.. it’s not even close.

          • It was NOT a credible investigation.

            Got it. When someone who finds that the teachers unions are damaging education he can’t be credible. I got it. The only credible people are those that agree with you that there is nothing wrong with US education and that competition does not matter. Good luck with trying to see and interpret reality.

          • re: ” Got it. When someone who finds that the teachers unions are damaging education he can’t be credible. I got it. The only credible people are those that agree with you that there is nothing wrong with US education and that competition does not matter. Good luck with trying to see and interpret reality.”

            It can be if :

            1. – the “study” is NOT produced by folks who are anti-union

            2. – the “study” is replicated/at least supported by other credible sources – credible meaning – done by people with no dog in that hunt.

            studies done by “pro” …OR “con” organizations are NOT credible.

            If the study you cite was true -it would be true around the world – and it’s not.

            if the study you cite was true – they’d COMPARE ALL or a large number of private school demographics and achievement results – normalized to be comparable to public schools – both in this country and overseas.

  4. 24th in Math:

    1. Finland 544
    2. South Korea 542
    3. Netherlands 538
    4. Japan 534
    5. Canada 532
    6. Belgium 529
    7. Switzerland 527
    8. Australia 524
    9. New Zealand 523
    10. Czech Republic 516
    11. Iceland 515
    12. Denmark 514
    13. France 511
    14. Sweden 503
    15. Austria 506
    16. Germany 503
    17. Ireland 503
    18. Slovakia 498
    19. Norway 495
    20. Luxembourg 493
    21. Poland 490
    22. Hungary 490
    23. Spain 485
    24. United States 483

    Japan, South Korea, Australia, Canada?????

    ALL of them with more “tolerant” parents?

    ALL of them socialist with funding that goes with the kid?

    WTF Van….. ????????

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