Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Reading and malinvestment

Ludwig von Mises of the Austrian School of Economics warned of the unintended consequences of government interventions. In line with his warnings is the misallocation resulting from the malinvestment by government in activities that are not the best use of scarce resources. These malinvestments create capital structures that are not supported by real needs and wants. Bust comes when resources are cutoff or are shifted to the lines that are truly productive from those lines supported by the government interventions.

How in the world does this relate to reading? The answer is quite simple and telling, it's also an excellent lesson in Austrian Economics.

At the same time that Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons by Siegfried Engelmann, Phyllis Haddox, Elaine Bruner, is currently available on Amazon.com for $7.04, the federal and state levels of government are wasting hundreds of millions, if not billions, on Progressive reading strategies that are of little use and are potentially harmful.

Go to Amazon.com and search for 100 Easy Leasons, then sort the customer responses in reverse order of ranking to see the objections to the above book's program. You will find that the objections typically suggest another book or series of books that are themselves reasonably priced and readily available. None of the comments I read said that this book failed to teach reading. And, neither this program nor suggested alternatives rely on continual government resources for R&D. They are programs that are tried and true, successful yet cheap. Products of the free market.

The result of the government expenditures in reading is a capital structure that is nonproductive and wasteful, but is also a dollar-consuming Leviathan. A significant portion of the funding of these programs and departments goes into continual lobbying and PR expenditure. As a result, they grow and grow; a financial Backdraft that consumes tax-dollars and lays waste to the dreams of future generations.

Government has to fear the bust that will inevitably occur when these programs and departments are no longer funded. The result will not just be thousands upon thousands of bureaucrats, administrators, and teachers hitting the street, it will also be the loss of capital invested in private enterprises that exist to remedy the ills caused by the government-funded reading programs.

Should the products of the private sector - Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons , etc - replace those created by interventionist policies, you'll save thousands in yearly tax dollars while student achievement rises. Just be ready to ignore the administrator or teacher holding the cup and the sign that reads, "Will whole-language for food."

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