"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Rising Above the Gathering Storm of Corporate Socialism

Back in October when Rising Above the Gathering Storm was made available, I noted then that this scare document would be used to blame a pre-fab crisis on the schools while pushing forward a plan to use tax dollars to fund corporate R&D. Here are a couple of the self-serving recommendations contained in that report that would now seem to have priority over the desire for more math science teachers, or more engineering majors:
  • Policy-makers should provide tax incentives for innovation that is based in the United States. The Council of Economic Advisers and the Congressional Budget Office should conduct a comprehensive analysis to examine how the United States compares with other nations as a location for innovation and related activities, with the goal of ensuring that the nation is one of the most attractive places in the world for long-term investment in such efforts.
  • The Research and Experimentation Tax Credit is currently for companies that increase their R&D spending above a predetermined level. To encourage private investment in innovation, this credit, which is scheduled to expire in December, should be made permanent. And Congress and the administration should increase the allowable credit from 20 percent to 40 percent of qualifying R&D investments.

Almost before the ink was dry on Rising Above . . ., these recommendations were being realized--and the ruse of educational failure, used so effectively with A Nation at Risk, now seem like an unnecessary backdrop for the stage center feeding frenzy that cannot wait for any of the other players. With the whole neo-con house of cards threatened by an unending stream of lies, law-breaking, and corruption scandals, the corporate socialists running America's corporations want theirs now--and that is what they are getting.

With Bush out front making his own horrid variety of anti-thought a subject that has long ceased to be a laughing matter, tax cutting and tax credits for research are on cruise control through Congress, and more are being announced daily.

So while the President peers into microscopes at magnet schools and makes jokes to high schoolers about how stupid he is, keep in mind that the $136 billion that is being shoveled out of the federal treasury over the next ten years is not intended for school children, but for the R&D that corporations are unwilling to fund for themselves. Here is how it breaks down, according to an ABC News piece:
. . . Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez said that of the $5.9 billion the president has requested for the program in next year's budget, only $910 million would support research. Most of the money would go to private industry in the form of tax breaks.

In 2007 alone, industry would get $4.6 billion in tax breaks for research and development. Over 10 years, that would become an $86 billion tax break.

According to the administration, the tax break is necessary to encourage "bolder private sector investment in technology." And it pointed out that an earlier research and development tax break had expired. . . .

As part of the initiative, the president outlined a plan to train an additional 70,000 advanced placement teachers in math and science over the next five years. And over the course of the next eight years, the initiative would encourage 30,000 people trained in math and science to become adjunct high school teachers. In his comments in Minnesota today, the president said he would ask Congress to appropriate the money necessary to train these teachers.

But Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings said Wednesday that only $380 million would be earmarked for the education component of this effort. And the plan outlined no funding for the president's ambitious education goals beyond 2007.

What more is there to say?

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