Sunday, February 24, 2008

In praise of oil companies, and a strong condemnation of government-employed teachers.

I'm rather tired of the annual ritual where politicians grant awards to a particular teacher "of the year." I am not sure why teachers deserve any greater respect than other professionals within society. For one, I personally think (without irony) that oil company executives are in greater need of praise than government-employed teachers. For one thing, oil company executives do the impossible everyday. Oil company executives search throughout the world, sometimes in inhospitable and dangerous locations (think Venezuela, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and the Sudan), to find oil, drill for it, and move it halfway around the world back to the United States. From there, their companies refine the oil, comply with complicated and contradictory environmental and tax-regulated regimes, and yet provide a product for which they take a measly 9% profit on their efforts, which is actually less than that which the government earns from taxing just the purchase of the gas (nevermind the corporate income tax). Further, the purchase of gas is also relatively easy and can be deemed a huge success: customers can use their ATM or credit cards or cash -- 24-hours a day. No matter what the circumstances--whether during the heat of a war, or boiling words from Iran--the oil is there, available for customers to purchase it. That's a success in my book. ExxonMobil, in particular, deserves praise for the record profits generated last term. Why? Well, the beneficiaries -- the owners of Exxon Mobil, represent many everyday individuals--mom and pop stockholders, pension funds--including those which fund the retirement of the run of the mill incompetent teacher.

The other great virtue of oil companies is that there greatness is here for everyone to see right now. There is never any discussion that all that is needed is "more money" in order for a gas station to be fully operational. They are all operational right now -- in all 50-states. Gas companies do not beg for more money. They charge and compete with one another, and customers compete for the lowest price. Also, if one happens to choose not to use an automobile (and there are people like that in some cities)--they don't have to pay for Exxon Mobil to stay in business, and they won't be asked to.

A COMPARISON: the parasitic government-run (so-called "public") school: force instead of voluntarism.

Government-run schools fail in literally every city in America. From Detroit, Baltimore, New York, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Miami, Dallas, Denver and Houston, the dropout rate is above 50%! The dropout rate is another way of saying the failure rate. Yet, despite how poor these government-run schools operate, there are always more calls for more funds. Many senior citizens who have homes have to rent out part of their home to strangers -- just so that they can pay the property tax to pay for failing, government-run schools. Thus, in contrast to the oil companies, even if you do not have children, you still have to pay tax dollars to fund failing schools -- even if the students are not citizens or even legally within the United States! Yet, at the same time, every year, politicians always select teachers to "praise" for their remarkable teaching ability. But shouldn't that be standard? We take for granted that every gas station works properly. It would be similar to praise a few gas stations that barely worked -- by giving them an honor -- with more than 50% of them were failing. Can you imagine a politician awarding a particular gas station as one that "barely worked" -- but at least, it is doing "its job" remarkably "well"--at least, in contrast to the others? Hard to imagine, but that's exactly what we do with teachers.

Rather than being a noble profession, teachers are parasitic individuals who must use the resources of the most productive members of society. That is because in order to earn a salary, they must receive tax dollars from the productive class (the taxpayers) in order to work in the unproductive, parasitic sector, which is failing by overwhelming margins (above a 50% failure rate). No private business has anything close to a remarkable 50% failure rate. Pharmaceutical companies would be sued for having an even 1% failure rate.

The time has come in which the government-run schools should be abolished, unleashing the private sector to teach and inform the next generation.