Ed and Fed: an empirical evaluation

Neither Ed nor Fed will willingly address the empirical evidence of the (in)effectiveness of its respective missions. In a recent Rutland newspaper story, superintendent Mary Moran wrote glowingly of "Our excellent public schools" without mention of the actual student proficiency rates: according to NAEP test scores, Vermont (of which Rutland is a not-unusual part), students are posting scores in the low 200s out of 500-meaning that well over half of vermont's students can't make proficient which means they can't function at grade level. This is excellent?

Similarly for the Fed, which won't go near its 95-year-old track record, the empirically observed long-term pattern of diluting currency value out of 95 percent of its purchasing power, so that debt incurred now can be cheaply repaid later with inflation-devalued dollars by government, which is of course the unspoken motivation for Fed economists who clearly knew better in past years and know better now.

The present Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said blithely to CNN on Nov 28 that "America needs a strong, non-political, and independent central bank [that's his Fed and his job, of course] with the tools to promote financial stability and to help steer our economy to recovery without inflation."

Stability, eh?

Just how and why Vermont educators can straight-facedly declare that their empire has produced "achievement excellence" and Federal Reserve economists can similarly assert that their empire has produced "currency stability" in stark contrast to all the empirical evidence against them, I know not. I do know, that during my years at a 30-student-average-class-size probably non-excellent junior high school, we learned, almost as an English side-bar, that "empire" and "empirical" come from different Romance-language word roots. Don't quiz your recent grad on that. Likewise, the history shows that, in the 124 years of no-Fed monetary management before 1913, private banking caused a currency devaluation of only 12%. It takes a lot of chutzpah for the ed and Fed folks to declare otherwise, and to assert that they've earned and deserve continuing citizen loyalty, trust, and support. Etymology clue: chutzpah comes from non-Romance-language roots.

Retired Vermont school architect Martin Harris watches the fur fly in the north from his fortress of solitude in Tennessee.

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