On Meet the Press this morning the topic was education. But, before the panel discussion on education, David Gregory interviewed Michael Bloomberg. The Bloomberg interview was not enlightening, but one aspect is worth mentioning to shed light on Centrist double-talk which results from a lack of a principled core. Bloomberg correctly identified the current lack of economic expansion and hiring as a failure of confidence due to businesses not knowing what's coming next with either taxes or regulations, and consumer lack of confidence due to the uncertainty of the labor market -- but, after saying this, Bloomberg was uncritical of the current administration, saying at least they are trying things even if they don't work. Bloomberg, because he maintains a middle-road approach, fails to recognize that it's the "trying things" that have eroded confidence, because these "things" being tried are interventions in the market which create uncertainty regarding what "things" will be tried next.
The roundtable discussion on education was also unenlightening, with guests Donna Shalala, Bob Bennett, Tavis Smiley and the Shriver fellow who believes we need inspiration. The guests proferred the same old platitudes that I've heard for decades regarding education -- we need more money, more government involvement, more help for inner city kids, more parental involvement, better teachers, better preparation for the workforce. The education problem in America has been talked to death and a mountain of money has been thrown at education, yet education remains in a state of crisis, especially in large cities. There was the obligatory call from Bennett for trying what works and eliminating what doesn't work, but this never seems to happen -- the same old system is poked and prodded and gouged and tweaked, but the system survives and remains an obstacle to successful education outcomes. It's time to talk seriously about the damaging effects of the welfare state on education and to look at private solutions. Until the nation demands systemic changes both to the welfare state and education, education will not change. This is the direction that's resisted and it's what prevents real solutions from developing locally. As long as the federal government is directing education, political games will prevent real solutions.