Streams of denial and free babysitting

Former presidential speechwriter Peggy Noonan brings a flair to her essays which few can match, but we can borrow one of her alliterative devices and describe three outpourings of a trend.

The topic is factual denial. Usually it's driven by political ideology, specifically when the facts and statistics of the situation disagree with the accepted template of one's belief. Here, for example, are three streams of denial involving the statistical facts surrounding the 1.) historical performance of the U.S. Federal Reserve (supposedly stabilizing the national currency) 2.) the historical performance (or not) record of the Head Start pre-K program and 3.) the historical roots of the subprime housing-mortgage debacle.

The Fed was established in 1913 as a progressive initiative for government to cure the supposed failure of the private banking system at keeping the value of American currency stable, a task it had been given ever since the first and second (private) banks of the United States had been so charged, and then "fired" from by President Andrew Jackson.

Ever since, we've been taught that the Fed - a quasi-governmental agency - has peformed far better than, say, Morgan or Chase banks, but here are the rarely reported facts:

From 1774 to 1913, the dollar depreciated from par to $1.23, or 23 percent. From 1913 to 2007, it depreciated from $1 to $21.60, or 95 percent. In 94 years of governmental oversight, almost 4 times as much damage was done as under 139 years of private-sector oversight. Read the statistics for yourself at www.eh.net.

Then there's the supposedly miraculous educational power of pre-K public education, for which there's been a 40-year long demonstration on display. It's called Head Start.

Head Start ranks right up there with smaller-class size (supposedly for improved student achievement), school district consolidation (supposedly for improved educational efficiency) and diluted graduation requirements (supposedly for improved student and staff self-esteem) as public education myths. These myths quite literally don't measure up, but they are preached as if they did.

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