“If we are spending a trillion dollars to rebuild Afghanistan’s schools, we can’t, you know, put a little taste Baltimore’s way. It’s crazy.”
–Jon Stewart, “The Daily Show,” April 28, 2015
So someone activated a microphone near Comedian Jon Stewart and comedy ensued. Sort of a dog bites man story if there ever were one. I’ll lay off Stewart, The WaPo commendably took out the garbage when it awarded him four Pinocchios. To me, the inaccuracy of his epistemological claim pales in comparison to the forked-up methodology behind the funnyman’s FUBAR.
The implicit assumption that money equals caring underlies this entire discussion and needs to be blown away like a stale beer fart. The people disbursing money care about Lower-Class Baltimore and Afghanistan about the same – that would be none at all. Afghanistan and Baltimore both receive expenditures when either one pisses off or hurts the SWPLs enough to get attention. They each receive money for the same reasons Kennedy kids get lines of cocaine from daddy. Society palliates them before they break something they can’t eat or pay for. And Jon Stewart seems to casually accept the assumption that if we just paid Baltimore a little more; then everything would turn up roses.
Before we blame the overrated entertainer, we should release he’s just snorted up the same nose candy that everyone else gets given in dime bags at any reputable liberal arts college these days. Neither Afghan peasants nor children and families in Baltimore are responsible for their ultimate results. We, who are smarter, whiter and more well-heeled haven’t given either one of them enough of a chance. This hatefully condescending sort of an attitude underlies the entire stupidity of The Great Society.
Baltimore schools spend $17,000 per pupil. They invest maybe 20% of this themselves. The other 80% gets transferred in and never quite seems to translate into ROI. As Alex Tabarrok at Marginal Revolution puts it:
Baltimore schools spend 27% more than Fairfax County schools per student and a majority of the money comes not from the city but from the state and federal government. Thus, when it comes to education spending, Baltimore has not been ignored but is a recipient of significant federal and state aid.
We are in no way helping anyone being “saved” by either The Great Society or our current implementation of Public Education in most American cities. It’s really not working any better than pouring more money into buying off Taliban on the Afghan Plain. Neither seems to work any better than chucking about fifty maidens down a well. People in Baltimore know good and well that the people spending the money don’t really care. They are being bribed not to mug tourists or publically urinate in those sacred SWPL shrines of Camden Yards or The Inner Harbor.
The people throwing money at Baltimore care about as much as the average illegitimate street kid in Baltimore about as much as the cops accused of lethally giving Freddie Gray “the business” probably do. The elite, Progressive clique consisting of [mc_name name=’Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’E000290′ ], [mc_name name=’Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’V000128′ ], And Martin O’ Malley almost deliberately fail to understand the wellspring of their failures. You cannot elevate people for whom you have no personal respect. People can smell it on the wind. Baltimore will periodically burn, regardless of educational investment, until its citizenry feels personally invested in meaningful existence instead of subsistence on some rich, white lefty’s dole.