The most expensive public high school in American history recently opened in Los Angeles. It cost $578 million.
This represents more infrastructure insanity. Because by investing huge amounts of money in extravagant projects such as this, we are adding to the money that is being wrongly spent while increasing the public debt. Because when large amounts of money go to such spending, it is not being directed at crucial infrastructure projects like roads and bridges.
Here in Massachusetts, our city wants to build an expensive new high school. There is nothing wrong with the old one. It opened in 1970 and it still is the same old place with classrooms and a library, offices, a cafeteria, an auditorium and athletic facilities. No problem. It is perfectly functional.
But suddenly we are supposed to need an enormously expensive new school. And that is part of socialism – to unnecessarily but routinely indebt the citizens to the public bureaucracy, in this case the public schools. Meanwhile we are ignoring crucial infrastructure like roads and bridges. Then the public is supposed to be alarmed at the state of the roads and bridges and cough up more tax money.
In our city, there is a very heavily-traveled underpass where the road goes underneath the train tracks. For several years, the road at that spot was in terrible shape with cars and trucks needing to slow to 5 MPH just to navigate it, often single file in each direction. Then it finally was fixed, certainly in just a few hours; it was a simple paving job. But for years, it went unfixed, while out town fathers talked about building an expensive new high school. This neglect of the underpass was one of many ways that the Democrats who control the city have created the perception that the city is financially strapped so that the citizens would agree to new tax increases.
And indeed the city is strapped. But it’s not so bad that we couldn’t pave the busy underpass.
Yet now the ‘study’ alone for the new high school is going to be conducted with $200,000 that our city does not have. The mayor is going to “borrow” it, and that study money certainly will be spread among consultants, engineers, and other “experts” all associated with or friends of the Democrat party.
What is going on here?
It is classic socialism. We are being convinced by Democrats that we need to spend more and more and more. And all that spending will increase the need for more tax money and at the same time will funnel more cash, status and power to favored groups connected with the Democrats (favored private contractors, labor unions, public school teachers etc.) and increase government power.
At the same time, the ever-increasing taxes that need to be raised to pay for all this spending is pushing productive citizens and businesses away from places like Los Angeles and Massachusetts. It is a vicious cycle.
Just look at the horrendous waste in the Obama stimulus bill. After countless news reports and documentaries about out “infrastructure crisis” over the last twenty years, complete with pictures of crumbling bridges and pot-holed highways, vast amounts of the stimulus money were wasted studying ants (yes, there was money to study ants…) and building tunnels for turtles in Florida. And, in other cases, building extravagant new high schools then taxing people and businesses heavily to pay for it.
So is there an “infrastructure crisis”?
Yes, indeed. But don’t expect Democrats to fix it. Because they never really fix anything. They will continue to allow the ‘infrastructure crisis’ to fester to call for more taxes, while spending more and more and more money on unnecessary projects so as to keep the people in a perpetual state of uncertainty and fiscal anxiety. The people who actually pay taxes, that is.
Then Democrats portray themselves as wonderful, generous people who ‘care about’ everyone and everything. Using Other People’s Money, of course, to enrich themselves and their friends, of course.
In an article in the Washington Examiner about the LA school, writer Mark Hemingway noted that despite an ongoing budget crisis in Los Angeles with mayor Antonio Villaraigosa at one point threatening to shut down city services two days a week to make ends meet, the $578 million Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools K-12 complex will house 4,200 students.
Naturally, a massive boondoggle like this appropriately has the Kennedy name attached. In fact the school has been built on the site of the Ambassador Hotel, where Kennedy was assassinated in 1968. And being a huge government project in a Democrat stronghold, you can just imagine the corruption, payoffs, featherbedding and kickbacks that surely made the project three times as expensive as it should have been.
The school is part of Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) which is one of the most troubled in the country where in the last decade officials spent $3.5 million trying to fire just seven incompetent unionized teachers out of 33,000. Yet only four were fired, during legal trials that lasted an average of 5 years.
The district has a 33% dropout rate and the second worst high school graduation rate in the entire nation. Of the 39 worst schools in California, 23 are in the LAUSD.
But that doesn’t stop them from spending $578 million on an elite school. And this comes in an area where fewer and fewer low-income citizens even are paying much in taxes, or any taxes at all, including many illegal aliens.
So it is no wonder that productive, taxpaying citizens are leaving California. Because poor, underachieving people are being given educational mansions while productive people are being driven from their modest homes by relentless taxes.
Such extravagant education spending in LA has no connection with achievement. In 2008, the city opened the $377 million Edward R. Roybal Learning Center, a heavily Hispanic school, that since has earned a 1 rating out of 10 on the Academic Performance Index compared to all California high schools, and a 3 out of 10 compared with demographically similar schools.
Meanwhile Matt Welch at Reason.com wrote about the Kennedy complex:
All of these things are terrible, perhaps even criminal, but here’s something as infuriating as it is almost totally undercovered in the media. The LAUSD, during this… project… has … been razing entire neighborhoods in order to educate them, even as enrollment numbers in the public school system have been falling through the floor. (end of excerpt)
Wow. Just amazing isn’t it. Or perhaps it is expected. Because after all, it is socialism at work.
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