GECON200-Topic #2: Public Goods, Private Goods, and Taxation

Some goods that many people take for granted are considered public goods, in that they are nonrival and nonexcludable. Tyler Cowen discusses how the inability to charge free-riders for public goods, like national defense, often lead to the government providing the good because there is no private firm who would be willing to produce the good. Cowen also discusses how certain goods may be better off if they were provided by the private sector with a strong allocation of property rights. There are imperfections to both the public and private solution in many cases, since there may be market failures or failures to negotiate that the government might handle better. Situations where there are externalities or natural monopolies are also prime circumstances for government regulation.

Government activities are funded through the revenues gained from local, state, and federal taxes. Each of the different levels of taxation is used to pay for different government goods. Local taxes, such as property taxes, pay for things like public primary and secondary schools. State taxes help fund state roadways, state parks, and subsidize public university education (such as JMU). Federal taxes pay for national defense, Medicare, and interstate highways. In any case, if one level of government pays for a good that you use without paying your taxes, you are reaping a benefit without incurring an appropriate cost.

Politicians are currently jostling back and forth on either raising taxes or cutting spending. Elizabeth Warren, who is running for Senate in Massachusetts, recently stated:

There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear: you moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for; you hired workers the rest of us paid to educate; you were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory, and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did. Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea? God bless. Keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.

Russ Roberts, an economist at George Mason University in Virginia, responded to Ms. Warren’s comments saying that the government should focus more on provision of public goods. Dr. Roberts says the government’s provision of public education is so bad that people should ask for refunds from the government, and notes that many of the governments subsidies for agricultural goods and fuels are not actually providing public goods.

You can learn more about government programs, including both taxes and spending by looking at it a few different ways. The Washington Post put together a nice display showing growth (or shrinkage) in taxes and spending since President Reagan through today.  In this graphic you can see that the budget deficit was only $300 billion in 2007, the last year before the crisis and recession began. Today, the government anticipates a deficit of $1.1 trillion. You should remember however, that this deficit is at the federal level only. The Center for Budget Policies and Priorities does a nice breakdown of where government spending goes today, and this information into a really interesting diagram called the “Death and Taxes Poster.”

Questions you might want to answer:
I would like you to think about the government’s role in the economy when it comes to both taxes and spending.

  • Do you agree with Ms. Warren or Dr. Roberts regarding the government’s provision of certain goods? If you agree with Ms. Warren or Dr. Roberts cite a concrete example, giving facts and numbers supporting your opinion. In particular, you might want to focus on one of the following:
  • Education: Do you believe the government should play a role in providing public education? At which level should most of this spending and planning occur? If you think education should be privately provided, and not subsidized or paid for by the government, how would most people be educated? Think of societies where all education is privately provided and compare them to the U.S.? Should the federal government have more or less control over the education system?
  • Taxes: Should the government try to manipulate prices through the tax code? By giving subsidies to oil, gas, and food producers, consumers are able to pay lower prices for their goods. Is this a proper way of motivating consumption and trade?
  • Defense: Should the government cut spending on the military? If so, how do you propose the government provides protection to their citizens. What have some said about how our safety would be harmed if less were spent on the military.
  • Roads and Construction: What should the government do about trying to increase spending on roads and bridges? Should the government continue to provide these goods to the public? Why or why not? Are there times when the government should consider privatizing roads and bridges?
  • Regulations: Do  you believe regulations like fire codes should be implemented by the government? Or should we let the free market decide how many exits buildings have and the number of smoke detectors in a building. Would a voluntary regulation make any difference in the economy? This example certainly extends beyond fire codes to include many other business regulations. Do you think the government should end regulations on environmental issues to help job (and therefore revenue) growth?

56 thoughts on “GECON200-Topic #2: Public Goods, Private Goods, and Taxation”

  1. Currently the Department of Defense has a $550 billion annual budget (1). If the super congress can’t come to some sort of agreement, then several cuts will go into place and the DOD’s (Department of Defense) budget will be cut by $500 billion, automatically over the next 10 years (1). In the event that the automatic cut takes place, FedEx would be hit hard, along with other companies who supply goods and services to the armed forces. In FedEx’s past fiscal year they received $1.1 billion in defense contracts (2). It’s easy to see that just cutting the DOD’s budget would be difficult to do without having a detrimental impact to the US and world economy. On top of the effects to the economy, there could be impacts to our safety. For example California Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, chairman of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee, believes that the automatic $550 billion cut “would be devastating” (3). As well, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has called the automatic cutting mechanism the “doomsday mechanism” (4). Both of these individuals believe that cutting the defense budget any more will impact US safety. However, Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates criticized the resource imbalance that favored his department, in 2008. Mr. Gates stated that, “America’s civilian institutions of diplomacy and development have been chronically undermanned and underfunded for far too long, relative to what we spend on the military” (5). While simply gutting the DOD’s budget is not the best solution to dealing with our current budget crisis, trimming the DOD’s budget can and should be part of a multi pronged approach to dealing with our nation’s debt.

    Sources:

    1. http://hamptonroads.com/2011/10/coming-defense-cuts
    2. http://www.dnj.com/article/20111002/NEWS01/110020316
    3. http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jOlxnATlpVu1p7tXMSrtSJP6yCpA?docId=db82b5a73113428886e2be339b236502
    4. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-09-08/u-s-house-chairman-warns-of-impact-of-increasing-defense-cuts.html
    5. http://www.federaltimes.com/article/20110911/ADOP06/109110305/1040/ADOP06

  2. Government implementation of safety regulations is necessary for ensuring the quality and usability of structures that are used significantly or by a large number of people, such as business buildings or sports arenas. It is crucial to have these regulations in place just because of the damage that high traffic can cause. While those that initiate the building of these structures may include a small amount of safety precautions on their own to make their projects appear relatively safe to the public, without government directives they may forego the appropriate amount of safety measures in order to save money as well as time and resources to receive the most immediate gain that would result from the construction of one of these buildings. This would lead to severe consequences for the companies that supply and manufacture the presently required safety materials. Having the government enforce safety regulations keeps the the demand for these products stable and keeps related jobs in place. Also, the cost of damages from fire is already very significant; For 2008, that total cost is estimated at $362 billion, or roughly 2.5% of U.S. gross domestic product. Without government regulations that are currently in place, this cost would certainly be much higher (1).
    Similar to the probable decline in safety that would occur without government regulation would be a decline in employee rights and environmental protection in the business arena, according to Mitchell Holt of Demand Media (2). Working conditions and the overall quality of work produced would be negatively affected as well as increased inattention for environmental consequences. Without government regulations such as the Safety and Health Act of 1970, workers and the goods and services the produce would be immensely different. Truth in advertising would also be significantly less important and would lead to many possible health and customer satisfaction dilemmas. So, despite the new capabilities of businesses to pursue profit with less limitations, the quality of production would become severely reduced.
    1) http://www.nfpa.org/assets/files/PDF/totalcostsum.pdf
    2) http://smallbusiness.chron.com/five-areas-government-regulation-business-701.html

  3. Educational programs in the US need to be supported largely by the government in order for the benefits of education to reach the maximum amount of people. The department of education currently has a budget of 69.9 billion dollars (1). While the department does reach a lot of students directly, their website makes is very clear about who’s role education is. They report, “education in America is primarily a State and local responsibility” (1). There is no denying the fact that it is the State’s role to provide the public education, why can’t the government provide more money? It is no secret that private education cost’s more than public education. The average tuition for a private school is 20,000 a year (2). The fact of the matter is, the majority of the country would not be able to afford such a sum for 4 years of education. With more money allocated towards public schooling, more schools could be built and the quality of existing schools improved. The department of education, in addition, only puts about 2 billion dollars of it’s budget towards higher education (3). There are many people out there who can attend public elementary and secondary schools, but not many that can afford the next step in college. If there were more public universities, there could be an increase in the number of people attending college because public universities rely so much less on tuition than private institutions to cover their costs. In a world with all public schools, deciding where to go to school would be too much like deciding what business to buy your products from. If you want a high quality shirt you go to polo, but it is expensive. If you need to spend a lot less money, one would probably go to Wal-mart, where the quality would be less. Why should people have to make such a decision with their education. More money needs to be pumped into education so that it can reach those who cannot afford it otherwise, and also to increase the quality of public school education to eliminate gaps in people’s education.

    (1)http://www2.ed.gov/about/overview/budget/index.html
    (2)http://moneywatch.bnet.com/saving-money/blog/family-finance/public-vs-private-school-my-million-dollar-question/2215/
    (3)http://www.deathandtaxesposter.com/

  4. Raising taxes and cutting government spending are both important issues today. The current national debt is $14.7 trillion (1). Taxing the rich more will not make up for this deficit. According to the federal budget, the total worth of all American billionaires is $1.3 trillion (1). This means that taking their total worth, not just high taxes, would not make the slightest difference in the debt. Elizabeth Warren’s statement is correct in that once a person becomes well off, they should be expected to pay a certain amount of money for the next person that comes along. However, does Elizabeth mean that the only way to become rich is by free-riding into their successful business? About half of all property tax revenue is used for public education (2). 77% of children ages 5-19 are enrolled in formal public education (3). Government is necessary in playing a role in funding for public education, because everyone should be equally entitled to formal public education. In 2010, the prosecutions of tax evaders increased by 25% (4) causing more money to be spent on investigations of free-riders paying nothing, creating more debt. Tax cuts should be made so that people will have more incentive to pay taxes, and government spending should increase for public education where tax dollars are lost.

    Sources:
    (1)http://www.federalbudget.com/
    (2)http://www.lincolninst.edu/pubs/1308_The-Property-Tax-School-Funding-Dilemma
    (3)http://www.centerforpubliceducation.org/Main-Menu/Evaluating-performance/A-guide-to-international-assessments-At-a-glance/Whos-in-School-Percent-of-Population-Enrolled-in-Formal-Schooling-by-Age-Group-Selected-Countries.html
    (4)http://www.usatoday.com/money/perfi/taxes/2011-04-17-Prosecutions-of-tax-evaders-up.htm

  5. With 20% ($705 billion) of the nation’s budget in 2010 being spent on defense, security, and the supporting war operations in Iraq and Afghanistan it seems clear that some reduction is necessary. While a portion of this figure is necessary for the national defense, $170 billion of this figure was spent directly on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (1). This is a low number though, considering that the total costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan since their beginnings will total $3.7-$4.4 trillion (as of June 2011) according to a research project by Brown University’s Watson Institute for International studies (2). The point here is that it is more than possible to protect the nation without waging wars in two different countries for over a decade that don’t show signs to ending any time soon. With a poor economy and a huge deficit, prolonged wars do not help the country, they hurt it. Our spending should be focussed on our nation’s defense, as compared to prolonged international conflict throughout the globe.

    http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=1258
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/43573008/ns/world_news-south_and_central_asia/t/cost-us-wars-least-trillion-study-finds/#.TotuwRVCsfU

  6. Ms. Warren is correct that in order for private ventures to succeed, they must utilize public goods and/or services in some way. She stated “you moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for.” (1) This brings up the issue of privatization of roads as a partial transportation budget solution. In 2011, $93 billion of the Federal Budget was spent on Transportation; and in 2012 Transportation has been allocated $144 billion, a $51 billion increase in a single year. (2) One way to reduce this cost would be more privatization of roads. Emily Thornton of Businessweek states “In the past year, banks and private investment firms have fallen in love with public infrastructure.”(3) Road privatization would release some of the burden on the government, and could be very profitable for those willing to buy. For example, “a lease for the Pennsylvania Turnpike could go for more than $30 billion all by itself. ‘There’s a lot of value trapped in these assets,’ says Mark Florian, head of North American infrastructure banking at Goldman, Sachs & Co.” (3) This idea is not new either, for “by the end of 2008, 15 roads had been privatized in 10 different states.” (4) But despite the fact that there may be much wealth to be had by opening up roads to more privatization, there are several reasons why it is not the best idea. The vast majority of private roads would most likely have many tolling stations so the owners can make a profit, which adds traffic issues. Also, it is difficult to have efficient competition to keep the price to consumers down. Once one owner builds or gains rights to a road that is widely seen as the most efficient means of transportation for drivers, no one else can compete in that specific market. They could construct a road nearby, but will have to reduce their prices because their product will never be the fastest or most efficient way to travel from point A to point B. Drivers won’t want to have to travel from point A to point C (competitor’s road) and then to point B. Another problem is that with public roads, all those who use them can complain, give input, and have an effect on how they are maintained through voting and elections. However, with private roads, the ones with power are the stockholders. While privatization of roads may help reduce government spending, many issues must be addressed before it can be put into widespread use.

    1. http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20110042-503544.html
    2. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/politics/30-years-spending-priorities-federal-budget-2012/
    3. http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/07_19/b4033001.htm
    4. http://www.infrastructurist.com/2009/04/08/is-privatizing-roads-really-a-solution-to-our-transportation-budget-woes/

  7. In response to the article, the government needs to play a bigger role in providing quality public school education to everyone. But this increase in education cannot come at the hands of raising taxes and installing new government programs. All that will accomplish is increase the deficit. The first way to improve our schools is too increase the salaries of teachers. Teachers need to be more qualified and paid more so they can have more incentive to educate the minds of young Americans. Low wages gives little incentives for teachers to seek more education and be more qualified because of the low salary. Without education our future economy cannot be as efficient if people are uneducated. President Obama’s 3.7 trillion dollar spending plan has only 102 billion dollars dedicated for education while over 1.4 trillion is going to defense and social security(2). Education needs to be a primary concern and focuses by putting more money into the program. Lack of education does not only hurt the minds of potential growth in young Americans but also in productivity in the U.S. According to the education board study, in the class of 2007 alone dropouts cost the U.S. 300 billion in lost wages, taxes, and productivity (1). Dropouts also are 8 times more likely to be put in jail at some point in their lives. These prisoners instead of paying taxes and living fulfilling lives, to the benefit the U.S., are being provided and paid by U.S. tax dollars while in prison. The study also showed that the U.S. government pays an average $9,644 per student compared to $22,600 per prison inmate (1). This class of 2007 dropout rate was a substantial result of President Bush’s 38 billion dollar cut in funding for education(2). The education in the United States needs to be firmly controlled by the government with the intention of major improvements. Not only is education hurting productivity in young Americans but it is also causing increase crime rate and lack of taxes which results in more government spending and larger deficit.

    http://broadeducation.org/about/crisis_stats.html
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/politics/30-years-spending-priorities-federal-budget-2012/

  8. The education of today is the future of tomorrow. For the 2011-2012 school year, an estimated $1.13 trillion is being spent nationwide on education. Most of this money will be coming from state, local, and private sources. Federal contribution to elementary and secondary education is only about 10.8 percent, which includes funds not just from the Department of Education but also from other Federal agencies (1). There needs to be more federal/government spending on education. Public schools are not equal everywhere: Schools is suburban towns have better recourses than the ones in rural and urban towns. All schools and children should at least have the same basic resources such as textbooks, notebooks, writing utensils, etc. Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act provides financial assistance to local schools where there is a high percentage of low-income families (2). However, this does not always help the situation. The schools still are not equal and children are not getting the same level of education. Also, by doing this, schools teach to standardized tests. When this happens, students from low-income and minority-group backgrounds are more likely to be placed in special or remedial education programs when it is not necessary. (3). If government spent more money on public education then the children would have more of an equal education. The more people who receive a good education today, the better the country as a whole.

    (1) http://www2.ed.gov/about/overview/fed/role.html
    (2) http://www2.ed.gov/programs/titleiparta/index.htm
    (3) http://fairtest.org/facts/howharm.htm

  9. There is enormous room for improvement in our educational system. It’s important for the government to be involved in providing public education so it can remain a public good and not become exclusive to the elite who can afford the tuition. Private schooling costs about $20,000 per year and in some places up to $35,000. (1) To put this into comparison, the average income of U.S. families is about $50,000. (2) In addition, only 10% of all students in the U.S. are enrolled in private schools. (1) Spending should occur at a federal level and spending a local, since those involved in the situations know what is best for the school, not government officials. Education is one of the most important services provided by the government and it only accounts for 3% of the entire U.S. budget. (3) Without education, it’s extremely difficult for people to be successful and compete in the world today. To higher the standard of public schooling, schools need to reconnect with their communities, set higher expectations for all students, downsize classrooms, and work more closely with teachers. (4) In many third world countries education is privatized and only the elite who can afford it get an education. “It also means boys are more likely to attend school than girls…” (5) “In 1999–2000, 77 percent of all private school students were White, compared with 63 percent of all public school students.” (1) Many minority students live in households that cannot afford private schooling. Making education privatized would give an unfair advantage to the small population of upper class families who could afford it. Lastly, by law, public schools are required to attend to the needs of special needs students, while private schools have no such obligation. (1) Having the federal government involved in the education process gives all people a fair chance to better their lives and improve not only their future, but their children’s as well. The more the government puts into education the more the economy, and therefore the people, reap the benefits.

    http://www.publicschoolreview.com/articles/5 (1)
    http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/00000.html (2)
    http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=1258 (3)
    http://www.mathguide.com/issues/edpubvpri.html (4)
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/leskataus/michigan-privatize-public-school-teaching_n_947242_106403909.html (5)

  10. Unfortunately, there would be massive problems and even deaths if fire codes were privatized, and the privatizations ended in a smaller amount of exits, and other “inefficient” or harmful decisions. The only really problem is that the taxes for these public goods will increase exponentially if United States citizens continue free riding, or increase free riding in the U.S.
    The thing really is that there are no real boundaries when it comes to privatizing the safety of the nation. The NFPA, the national fire protection association, states in the NFPA Fire Codes that their protection covers from schools and buildings to bus stations and even some road conditions. By privatizing these areas of the public, and taxing them, sure the economy will gain a profit, but a supplementary good will end up being Medical insurance and the like.
    Now, as the private sectors take bids for “safety code and regulation” jobs, their expiration of these contracts will cause the necessity of a renewal service, and a set up of a sorting agency that will prioritize the contracts. This will end up in taking the contracts with the most money coming into the firms and companies getting the priorities, and leaving very important but low funded contracts to the waste side. Greed becomes a major part of this debate because the necessity of economic growth is viewed as the biggest amount quickest, and safety should be viewed as everything is equal.

    All I’m saying is that the fire codes set forth by the NFPA are a good background to stick with, and the privatization of these safety measures could cause a lot of harm, and only a bit of good. The opportunity cost far exceeds in my eyes the marginal benefit of privatizing these codes because these companies could short change the work done for a quick profit, and the codes in place today are the best the government can do and, though they are not perfect, they keep the U.S. safe. Everything is as safe as the next thing, so keeping the NFPA and organizations like it, there isn’t a big need for a switch to the private sector.

    http://www.nfpa.org/aboutthecodes/AboutTheCodes.asp?DocNum=1
    http://www.superiorsafetycodes.com/pdf/municipalities/key_tracking_items.pdf

  11. I agree with Dr. Roberts in that the government should focus more on public goods which are non-excludable and non-rival such as education. Public education is a positive externality meaning it is a benefit that affects someone who is not directly involved in the production or consumption of a good/service. The student is not only increasing the benefit for his or herself, but of society as a whole. Better education means better informed citizens, reduced crime rates, and better government policies (Hubbard 134).

    It is vital to a country to provide a form of public education beyond elementary schooling. This will undoubtedly improve literacy rates, enhance competency scores, and ameliorate the lives of every U.S. citizen for the better. One can deduce that when the government invests their funds into education to increase human capital, they tend to see optimistic results. For example, USA Today stated that 80% of Americans are graduates of high school or higher, compared with ~75% in 1990. As a result, this contributed to decreased drop out rates among teens before 9th grade. Higher education is linked to getting a good job according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. When one has a bachelors degree or higher, the unemployment rate for a job is less and the more one gets paid which means more revenue for the government in the form of taxes. So it’s in the governments best interest to provide public education.

    The states and local counties should have majority control over education even more so than today, not the federal government. The tenth amendment states that, “the powers not delegated to the U.S. by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the States respectively and to the people.” The federal government is a massive bureaucracy which sometimes does not efficiently allocate money and resources to the right areas. It’s important for the federal government to provide some assistance to states in the capacity of supplementary revenue when the states are in need and no more.

    Societies outside the U.S who do not provide public education to their children tend to have low literacy rates among their population. And the likely hood of not getting employed.

    By updating our educational system throughout the U.S., allowing citizens an education, and giving more power to the states, this in turn will not just give us a competitive edge against other countries such as China, but will in fact, create better lives for our posterity.

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/2002-06-05-education-census.htm
    http://www.deathandtaxesposter.com/
    http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=1258
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/politics/30-years-spending-priorities-federal-budget-2012/
    http://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_chart_001.htm

  12. Ms. Warren is correct when she says the public goods that Americans use are funded by their fellow citizens, the tax payers. Everyone pays taxes and in return is given public goods that they are free to use at their own will; roads, national defense and fire and police services are among some of them. However, there are many corporations that do not contribute to this. According to CNN Money, nearly two-thirds of American Corporations do not pay federal income tax. A big complaint among Americans is that General Electric did not pay this federal income tax. However, they did in fact report $2.7 billion in tax payments in the year 2010. The problem with this is that equates to a 7.4% tax rate. The 3 main oil companies in the US, ExxonMobil, Chevron and ConocoPhillips, paid over a 40% income tax burden as opposed to GE’s 7.4%. One way the government can ensure that everyone is paying for the use of public goods would be to get the two-thirds of corporations who do not pay income tax to pay. This would not only ensure more fairness, but would also positively impact the national debt because of the extra money the government will have. Ms. Warren stated that “part of the underlying social contract” of making a profit and being successful is taking a bit of that success and giving back to the country that made it possible to be so prosperous. These corporations need to abide by this the same way citizens do. GE and the other 2/3 of corporations are using roads, national defense and other public goods to prosper. If the government gives subsidies to big companies such as these, it favors big business and is unfair to local business. Big corps like Wal-Mart recieve tax breaks worth billions of dollars. With the failing economy, local businesses should be given a fair chance to prosper, and in this type of environment they cannot. Instead, their tax dollars are going to fund corporation’s subsidies. Trade and consumption is better motivated by encouraging all types of businesses rather than favoring large corporations and by keeping fairness by ensuring every corporation is paying their share of income taxes.

    http://money.cnn.com/2008/08/12/news/economy/corporate_taxes/
    http://www.forbes.com/2011/04/13/ge-exxon-walmart-apple-business-washington-corporate-taxes_2.html
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/christopherhelman/2011/04/14/what-do-the-20-biggest-u-s-companies-pay-in-taxes/
    http://money.cnn.com/2004/05/24/news/fortune500/walmart_subsidies/

  13. After reading this article, I do agree with Ms. Warren and Dr. Roberts regarding the government’s provision of certain goods. I do not, however, think the government should cut national defense spending. The most imperative thing the government must provide for its people is national security. To cut spending on our defenses, on top of the $400 billion already cut (1), will further threaten the safety of American citizens. Recently, there was a bill regarding this issue stating…if the bill is approved by both houses, “it would reportedly cut $350 billion from “security” spending as part of a first tranche of deficit reduction” (1). This cut in national defense spending will only lead to further reductions. Frank Gaffney states, “One thing is clear, unfortunately: The national security of the United States is going to suffer greatly” (1). Cutting back on our security will also make our country more vulnerable. The United States has the most powerful military in the entire world. To decrease our defenses is basically inviting other countries in to threaten our global dominance. “Cuts in this arena have significant military impacts, because to make any sort of difference you have to remove from your inventory a platform that will take a long time to replace” (2). Considering how vital our national security is, I think it is more sensible to cut spending in other government run organizations. Other organizations, such as public and private education may have to rely on local or state taxes, rather than federal taxes, in order to decrease our national debt. “Cutting “security spending” in a dangerous world is an invitation to enemies — actual and prospective — to make it much more dangerous for Americans and their vital interests. It invariably proves to be a false economy, and the costs are measured in lives as well as immense amounts of dollars” (1).

    1. http://www.newsmax.com/FrankGaffney/Defense-Debt-ceiling-Pentagon/2011/08/01/id/405643
    2. http://www.isria.com/free/23_September_2011_x23.php

  14. One job that I believe every government should be doing is collecting taxes. Taxes are an extremely important part of running a country. Public goods are necessary and therefore should be paid for by the citizens of the country, who all use these public goods. There is no real question in that the statement. The question lies in where the money should come from. There has been increase in spending since Obama came into office, and there have also been tax cuts. These two things don’t go together very well. If there is going to be increase in spending, taxes should be raised. Now that the United States is facing an increasing deficit by the minute, something needs to be done. I believe that it doesn’t lie in the taxes, but in the spending. I think that the cuts on taxes should be allowed to expire so that people are taxed a decent amount, without being overly burdened. I also think that there should be a cut in the government’s spending. It is possible to use the money coming in from taxes in an appropriate way, without spending an incredible amount of money over the tax revenue. I understand that the government is in a predicament. We are in a recession, and the government wants to stimulate the economy, which costs money, but increasing the deficit will, in the end, only create a bigger and bigger problem. The government needs to learn to use what they have in the best and smartest way possible, so that they won’t need to spend money they don’t actually have. Taxes are vital to our country’s, to any country’s, survival, but the government needs to work harder to make things happen with what is coming in currently. I believe the government has a hand in all public areas such as education, public roads, and defense, but there needs to be a change in how much money is going to these things. One change that I believe will help is to reduce spending on defense. 20% of the government’s revenue is being spent on defense, and even a slight decrease could be beneficial for so many other things. The country can still be sufficiently protected without the incredible cost. Overall, I believe the government is doing it’s job by collecting taxes and providing public goods, but I think they need to have a closer look on the details of it all.

    http://www.forbes.com/2009/02/27/obama-tax-plan-business-washington_taxes.html

    http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=1258

    http://www.cbpp.org/research/index.cfm?fa=topic&id=30

    http://www.deathandtaxesposter.com/

    http://money.cnn.com/2010/02/01/pf/taxes/obama_budget_tax_changes/index.htm

  15. Ms. Warren’s quote really opened my eyes. She made excellent points and put everything into perspective. People who question where their tax money goes have probably not taken the time to observe the amount of public goods that they use on a daily basis. 1) In 2010, 20% of the US budget went towards defense and security. This equates to around 705 billion dollars, but people may be surprised to learn that only 170 billion of that money was spent on operations taking place in Iraq and Afghanistan. 2) What most Americans overlook is the fact that the Department of Defense does not just fund wars, but they fund the paychecks, programs, and protection that are utilized daily, whether in a war or not. When taxes are not paid, the DoD and other departments are not able to fund what is needed to provide the services that they promise Americans (i.e. safety, freedom). If cuts were made to this area, safety could be compromised and would only make matters worse. 3) Although the issue of the deficit does need to be addressed, such drastic cuts that have been proposed may not be the best answer to these problems. 3) Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has the arduous task of working with the President and DoD leaders to figure out better ways to address the deficit. Although cuts need to be made, defense and security may not be the best area to be making such drastic cuts.

    1) http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=1258
    2) http://www.deathandtaxesposter.com/
    3) http://www.military.com/news/article/push-for-dod-cuts-tops-panetta-agenda.html

  16. From the educational standpoint, the current budget is 69.9 billion dollars and is directed toward helping about 14,000 school districts (1). I believe the government does have an obligation to help public schools but I do believe that it should be looked at differently then it has been. A form of a public school is a Magnet school, which students must test into in order to enroll in classes (2). These types of schools are supported by taxes but yet do not allow all children the right to attend. If the government wanted to put their money towards a better use, they should either eliminate the entrance exam into magnet schools, or they should consider making these schools become privet institutions. If they were to privatize these schools, then the government would have more money that they could place towards areas that need funding the most.
    Without government funding towards schools, our society would almost collapse. Many families need public schooling to exist because without it, they could not afford for their children to attend school. Many families run into this problem when it comes to sending their children off to college. Almost three quarters of all college students end up getting some form of finical aid while attending college (3). If the government plans on fixing the finical structure in the long run, I believer that the government needs to start cutting down the amount of loans that students take out for college. The government can help this by finding a way to stop raising college prices and possibly finding a way to lower them.
    I think in order for the economy to become stable and profitable again, the government needs to help younger generations become educated at the lowest cost possible. In doing so students and young professionals won’t have tons of unpaid loans that will be carried with them into their late 30’s and possibly will effect there long run finical makeup.

    (1)http://www2.ed.gov/about/overview/budget/index.html

    (2) http://www.babycenter.com/0_school-types-the-difference-between-public-private-magnet-ch_67288.bc

    (3)http://www.collegeboard.com/student/pay/add-it-up/396.html

  17. Elizabeth Warren’s statement puts into perspective the way that many American’s are feeling about corporations today. A Washington Post-ABC News Poll states that 75 percent of Americans agree that millionaires should have their taxes raised. [1] Ms. Warren’s statement brings to life the idea that million dollar corporations did not become successful without the help of tax payers in the United States. With 45% of tax payers defining themselves as middle class, a large amount of the middle class’s tax dollars have allowed corporations to become successful because without their forced contribution, corporations would not be provided the roads, educated employees, safety personal, and many other aspects of their businesses. (2) I feel that some justice could be made for the middle class citizens who pay their taxes, which allows for corporations to prosper, if congress approves President Obama’s debt plan to raise taxes on the wealthy. President Obama stated “We can’t just cut our way out of this hole” and “It’s only right we ask everyone to pay their fair share.” (3) It is clear that taxing the wealthy will not solve the severe debt crisis that the United States faces, but “we have to start digging.” With Obama’s plan of 1.5 trillion dollars in new taxes, the plan could be achieved through the existing tax code. (3)

    1) http://abcnews.go.com/WN/abc-world-news-poll-us-middle-class-concerns/story?id=10088470
    2) http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44578820/ns/politics-white_house/t/obama-announces-debt-plan-built-taxes-rich/
    3) http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/post/obamas-tax-plan-hating-the-player-not-the-game/2011/10/05/gIQAf8IoPL_print.html

  18. Ms. Warren is taking a creative route to basically saying that successful business owners should not be greedy and should take a moment to remember the path they took to success. If the business owners were themselves benefactors of public education, public transportation, or innovations stemming from government funded military spending, they should be pushed to give back substantially, relative to the amount they have gained. Federal revenues from corporate income taxes are roughly 1/3 of revenues from individual income taxes ($329 billion and $1.1 trillion, respectively)(1), while corporations rely on utilize the public education and transportation of their work force much more. In that case, the government should take the role of taxing the businesses at a higher level to increase revenue, which should primarily go to funding education. Currently, while primary and secondary schools are funded mainly by local property taxes (2), there are large differences in quality of education in different areas. Primary and secondary education should continue to be funded chiefly by local taxes (currently about half of our property taxes go to local schools [3]), since the localities in which the schools are located need to have the most control over their immediate schools. However, the increased federal revenue could be used to supply funding equally to schools across the nation, in an attempt to standardize education that all students receive.

    (1) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/politics/30-years-spending-priorities-federal-budget-2012/
    (2)http://www.idra.org/Education_Policy.htm/Fair_Funding_for_the_Common_Good/How_your_schools_are_funded/
    (3)http://www.lincolninst.edu/pubs/1308_The-Property-Tax-School-Funding-Dilemma

  19. Subsidies to industries, the agricultural sector in particular, are trade barriers. As such it is a form of protectionism, opposite of what free trade is meant to be and as a result, it may adversely affect the American economy. How so? Well, by giving subsidies to the oil and the agricultural industry the US is deterring international trade by fixing prices and this results in less competition.

    Originally implemented during the Great Depression, agricultural subsidies were meant to help out small farmers. However today, most of the farming industry in the United States is dominated by big corporations. These corporations control what is being grown and what is being put out, mainly crops such as soy beans and corn. This is devastating to the American economy in that the “people”, corporations in this case, are benefiting from the subsidies given by the government when they can in fact do without them. American citizens are having to pay higher taxes to help these “little” farms “survive.”

    The agricultural sector makes up 1.1% of the GDP of the United States economy (2), yet it has been given subsidies up to $261.9 Billion from 1995-2010 (3). This $261.9 Billion, is coming from tax payers, intended originally to help the “small” farmers when it’s going into the pockets of the wealthy ones. Consider this, the average income of farmers, as of 2010, that are receiving the subsidies is $199,975 (1). Compare that to the average income of the American family, $46,326 (4). Aside from this, “the net farm income totaled $279 billion between 2003 and 2006” (1). What this shows is that the farming economy of the United States is not being adversely affected by the economic recession at all. It is the other industries and other factors not put into account that are suffering. So why is it necessary to give out a sum total of $261.9 billion in subsidies to support something that is already improving and that continues to grow even bigger? Do these “little” farmers really need all that aid?

    The federal government, as such should be reducing the subsidies given out to the agricultural sector, $261.9 Billion over a period of 15 years. This money should be used to help fund other sectors of such as Education or Public works projects. In conclusion, Ms. Warren’s statements offer much validity, these “small” farmers’ subsidies and tax cuts should be reduced by a considerable amount.

    1) http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2007/06/how-farm-subsidies-harm-taxpayers-consumers-and-farmers-too

    2)https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/2012.html

    3)http://farm.ewg.org/region?fips=00000&regname=UnitedStatesFarmSubsidySummary

    4)http://www.fedupusa.org/2010/01/how-much-does-the-average-american-make-breaking-down-the-u-s-household-income-numbers/

  20. Both Ms. Warren and Mr. Roberts make valid points when it comes to taxation, yet Mr. Roberts’ statistics and comments prove to be more logical than Ms. Warren’s. Some of the things she spoke about did have to do with state and local taxes, and the rich already pay over 30% in income taxes (as of 2008). The top 50% of incomes pay over 90% of income taxes [1]. This proves that the rich and profitable do not go unnoticed. It is a necessity that fire codes be implemented by the government. Having mandatory exits, sprinkler systems, and maximum occupancy posted and established is pertinent in the United States, especially after the Triangle Factory Fire in 1911 when within 18 minutes almost 150 people died from the fire [2]. If the free market decides how many exits and smoke detectors there are in a building then it may cause the issue to be pushed by the wayside or not supported by the free market and then more of these tragic fires could occur. A voluntary regulation may make a difference if it lowered federal taxes, yet that is also if you assume the free market steps forward to keep up these regulations. The government should no end regulations on environmental issues unless it helps job growth, yet the benefits must far outweigh the costs in order to end these regulations.
    [1] http://ntu.org/tax-basics/who-pays-income-taxes.html
    [2] http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/trianglefire/

  21. @Megan Kohanik

    I agree with Megan, although education is often a state budget issue/concern, if the government were to put more funds towards making public education more equal across the board, then the differences in quality of public education could be lessened. Even a lot of the title 1 schools that receive extra government funding still fall behind other schools in AYP, test scores, and overall success rates (I know from experience, my mom works at a Title One School). Money can only go so far, but funding to make teacher’s salaries better, the books and programs better, and to create an environment children look forward to going to everyday really help.

  22. I believe that it is important for the government to play a role in providing public education. Without the funding from the government, people would not have the option to attend public schools without charge. People with low income would not be able to receive an education since other people’s tax dollars are not playing a role in funding their own education. As of now, the states have the majority of the power in the education department since it was not mentioned in the Constitution or acknowledged as a “fundamental interest.” (1). I believe that the government should have more control over the education system in order for the school systems across the nation to be more unified so that everyone has an equal opportunity to receive a solid education. Public schools receive their money through local, state, and federal taxes which occasionally leads to them being underfunded depending how the economy is (2). If the government were to be more involved, they would be able to provide more tax dollars and make sure that they are going to important materials like text books instead of a new football field. Public schools have to accept everyone who applies by law (2) which leads to less discrimination among the acceptance process. The government should view education as a top priority and take it into their own hands to make sure they make it flourish.

    http://www.departments.bucknell.edu/edu/ed370/staterole.html

    http://www.greatschools.org/find-a-school/defining-your-ideal/59-private-vs-public-schools.gs

  23. It is very important that governments set regulations within businesses corporations. These regulations keep businesses in order, help provide safety to all its employees, protect the environment, and hold corporations accountable for the power they hold in our business-driven society. By cutting back on some of these regulations, the government could not provide more jobs for people; it would more likely result in a loss of jobs. The regulations that the government sets are an attempt to maintain steady growth, high levels of employment and price stability. It is their goal to look out for the interests of all the citizens in the U.S. and by having certain standards set it makes it easier for them to do so. People want to work in clean, accessible, healthy working conditions, and if the government did not have standards for companies some people would not be working in ideal environments.

    http://smallbusiness.chron.com/five-areas-government-regulation-business-701.html

    http://economics.about.com/od/howtheuseconomyworks/a/government.htm

  24. There is a fine line when it comes to public education. People are sacrificing their hard earned money so that other people can do just as well as them. Getting an education is supposed to put people above others, but letting everyone have the same education is not creating the diversity our country needs. A lot of people will not work for a certain wage. If everybody had the same education, there would not be people to do the dirty work that has to be done. There would also be no incentive to go above and beyond what everyone else is doing because everyone else would be equal.
    However, having education so readily available to the community is vital for the community as a whole, but people should give willingly and not have to be forced. Families who decide to put their children into the public school system should be taxed and held accountable for their children attending school. Couples or individuals who do not have children should not be paying for other peoples’ children to get an education. Families who decide to enroll their children into private schools or home school should be exempt from giving to the public schooling system. It is not fair for the people who enroll their children in private schools to have to pay the large expense of private education and public education if their children are not going to participate. The majority of citizens place their children into the public school system, but the only reason it is free is because everyone is taxed. There should be a compromise for those people who do not wish to enroll their children in public schools. This is a public good, but the people who choose put their children in another type of education, or the people who do not have children, should not have to participate.
    In reference to whether or not the government should tax for roads and other community developments, the government would not get donations from people to do this kind of work. Yes, it elevates our level of society, but people are not going to be willing to give up their earnings willingly for something that may or may not benefit them. On this issue, the government should tax everybody equally. These roads will be used by almost everybody on a regular basis. It is a public good that everybody should partake in because everybody no matter how educated you are will have to use them.

    http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2011/10/Education-Savings-Accounts-A-Way-Forward-on-School-Choice

    http://nyteachers.wordpress.com/2008/11/18/government-funding

  25. Public education is a public good that many Americans enjoy in our country. It saves people from having to pay for their education, which would be just like paying for college, all throughout their school career. If the government did not play a role in funding public education, every school would be private and would be unaffordable for a lot of people. The average tuition for private schools in 2010 was $17,441 per year (1). Many people would be uneducated if they had to pay this amount every year. Most of this funding should occur around the middle school ages. This is the most important stage in the educational process and children will retain the most information. It is also when children should begin thinking about the career path they may want to take (2). This relates with government control over education. Government should have more control over education because they are funding it. Since they are paying for public education they should control how it is distributed. Also, since the government has control over public education, they control what teachers teach students (3). If this was not the case, teachers could teach anything they wanted and little would be accomplished. In conclusion, Ms. Warren’s statement was correct because as people pay taxes on education it just helps “the next kid who comes along.” If government stopped funding public education, the country would not be what it is today.

    1.http://www.greatschools.org/find-a-school/defining-your-ideal/59-private-vs-public-schools.gs
    2.http://www.friendcalib.org/select-right-course-in-the-stage-of-higher-education.htm
    3.http://www.thefreemanonline.org/columns/origins-of-federal-control-over-education/

  26. Education in the United States should stay the same way it has been for the past century. It is important to have education available to everyone even if it requires a slight raise in taxes. Education needs to be a public good that is non-rival and non-excludable. In order to have a fully functioning society, you need educated citizens to work in it. That can’t just come from the children whose parents were able to afford private education. Public education is for everyone; the public schools have to serve every child they have. “They don’t get to cherry-pick only the brightest and wealthiest students.” (1). Public education gives everyone a chance and the government needs to continue its support of public education in order to continue to have a functioning society.
    However, private education can continue to stick around. Private education is not inherently better than public and they only have that image because their students score slightly better and they get to cherry-pick their students (1). Still, if parents feel more comfortable sending their children to private schools than they should be allowed to do so. We have freedom of choice in this country and we should be able to use that in our education. Public education is necessary but private education helps gives parents another option if they feel like they need to take it.
    1. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-niles/public-schools_b_1002466.html

  27. When it comes to education, the government should play a legitimate role in public education. People need education and government imposed taxes gives people an education at a minimal cost. As of right now, public education is only about 3% of the government’s spending; about $129.8 billion (1). The government spends about 25% of tax payer money on the defense; about $964.8 billion. Although the country needs defense, education is needed for the country’s children, especially for grades k-12. This is why the government passed laws such as “no child left behind.” According to ed.gov, “NCLB” “gives our schools and our country groundbreaking education reform based on stronger accountability for results, more flexibility for states and communities, an emphasis on proven education methods, and more options for parents” (2). This basically makes teachers pay more attention to struggling children in order to continue to receive state funding. Laws such as this, however, do not apply to schools that are privately funded by the parents who send their children there, such as catholic schools. When schools are privately funded, this would only give some children more attention than others, say if their parents pay more to the school. This gives some an unfair advantage. With public education funded by government spending, this allows for everyone to reap the benefits at a fair cost; it eliminates freeriding.

    1. http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/education_budget_2012_2.html
    2. http://www2.ed.gov/about/overview/fed/10facts/index.html

  28. For the sake of public safety, and the greater good for all, I believe that certain government regulations are necessary. Fire codes and building regulations are the perfect example. These regulations require emergency exits, fire extinguishers, fire alarms, smoke alarms, safety lights, sprinkler systems and other important safeguards. These regulations are the minimum standards that are required for public safety.

    I believe that if we let the free market decide upon the implementation of these safety measures, building developers would take short cuts in order to save money. This would be catastrophic, and would ultimately lead to the loss of many lives. This lack of governmental control could lead to stimulation to the economy, but it is ultimately a very steep price to pay.

    In this instance, I believe that government control is essential to ensure public safety. However, with other business regulations and environmental issues, governmental control may not be so clean cut. Global warming, ozone depletion pollution, and nuclear waste are all environmental issues that the government and other organizations are attempting to find solutions that will benefit our planet. I don’t think you can lump all environmental or business issues together to discuss government regulations. I think you need to look at each issue independently and then decide whether it is best for us both physically and economically for the government to have ultimate control. The free market system clearly has a place in the U.S. economy, but public safety and welfare is critical, and should not be put in danger in an effort to stimulate the economy.

    http://www.nfpa.org/assets/Files/PDF/ROP/170-F2008-ROP.pdf

  29. In regards to taxing and spending, the government’s role in the economy is to provide its citizens with public goods that are paid for evenly by every person who reaps the benefits. Taxing a nation’s citizens is a way to coordinate a forcible donation for the overall benefit of the public. Taxpayer dollars go towards programs such as defense, public libraries, and education. The overall size of the government has increased drastically over the last thirty years with an increase in spending on a huge variety of social programs.
    Dr. Roberts stated that the American people would be better off if the government focused more on the quality of a few public goods instead of such a large quantity that it has to regulate today. With the government growing in size by adopting more social programs and inputting stimulus money to revive the dwindling economy it cannot focus enough on each program in order to make it as efficient as it should be to help the nation.
    Instead, the U.S. government should adopt the idea of quality over quantity. Choosing to provide fewer public goods to the nation is good in a couple of ways: it provides the opportunity to provide the full public benefit to the nation by putting more emphasis on each program and will actually stimulate the economy by privatizing previous government programs and provide more jobs through these new enterprises. Privatization will increase competition within each sector and thus force the new companies to benefit from the “invisible hand” that will guide the market to its maximum efficiency.
    If the government adopts Dr. Robert’s idea of quality over quantity, which ever programs are deemed a public necessity and are kept will benefit greatly. For example if education is chosen the government will increase funds in this area. Schools will be able to hire better teachers and buy more up to date equipment to teach American students. With more money flowing into education teacher’s salaries can increase to provide more of an incentive to become part of the school system. However, the benefits do not stop there, with a more efficient education system the American youth will grow up and be able to make America better in so many other ways through invention and innovation. All in all, when it comes to government programs, focusing on a few and privatizing all others will be more beneficial to society.

    http://plus.maths.org/content/adam-smith-and-invisible-hand
    http://oecdobserver.org/news/fullstory.php/aid/660/Taxing_benefits.html
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/politics/30-years-spending-priorities-federal-budget-2012/

  30. I agree with Elizabeth Warren’s view on the government’s provision of certain goods. Nearly all people are affected by these public goods. Education is a public good provided by the government that greatly benefits society. An education is necessary to develop young entrepreneurs and workers to keep the economy moving. Public education is utilized by 88.7% of the population (1). It is unreasonable to assume that all of those students could afford to pay for a private education. The public sector of education allows many young people to receive an education that will benefit them and society for the rest of their lives. The Netherlands have a school system that is based primarily on private education. Nearly 70% of the education system in the Netherlands is based on private education (2). Private education is beneficial in that it provides students with the choice of where they are educated. However, public education is necessary for all of those that cannot afford to pay for their private education. School greatly benefits those that attend it, as well as society. Without public education, many people would not have the opportunity to learn and use their knowledge to give back to society.
    1) http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=6
    2) http://ideas.repec.org/p/wbk/wbrwps/5185.html

  31. I agree with Mr. Roberts in that a tax hike might not be the best way of dealing with our current issues; however, Ms. Warren is also right in that the rich aren’t paying their fair share.
    Even though the tax rates say that the 1% earning more than 300k have a tax rate of 35% [1], they’re actually not paying the full amount. Because of all the coddling that’s already in place for the rich, some of them even end up paying even less in taxes than non-rich people. For example, Warren Buffett “has calculated that he handed over 17.4% of his income as tax last year”[2]. A tax rate of 15% is for people making less than $34,500 per year and a tax rate of 25% is for people who make between $34,500 to $83,600 [1] per year. Mr. Buffet notes that despite being a multibillionaire, he’s paying “a lower proportion than any of the 20 other people who work in his office.”[2]

    Some companies are even paying nothing at all [55% of companies for at least one year. 3]. Creative accounting/tax dodging methods are estimated to cost the US government approximately $50 billion per year in lost tax revenues [3]. One could argue that the fact they’re not paying all their taxes means they have leftover money to hire people, stimulate the economy, trickle down, and whatnot. The problem with that argument is that most corporations aren’t even doing all their tax dodging on US soil. The current tax code “encourages companies to use accounting maneuvers to shift profits to low-tax countries and to invest profits offshore” [3].

    Raising the taxes might encourage even more creative methods of dodging them so that’s probably not the first thing we should do. Instead, we should be re-evaluating all the tax loopholes that currently exist and seeing if any of them should be closed.

    [1]http://taxes.about.com/od/Federal-Income-Taxes/qt/Tax-Rates-For-The-2011-Tax-Year.htm
    [2] http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/aug/15/warren-buffett-higher-taxes-super-rich
    [3] http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/03/business/economy/03rates.html?_r=1

  32. In the case of the department of defense there is no reason to cut its budget. It is what protects our lives and keeps all that we do safe. By paying our taxes we are supporting our defense system. From 2010 to 2011, there was increase in the budget for the department of defense of just under $19 billion dollars and an increase of just $4 billion from 2011 to 2012. A decrease in $15 billion dollars shows that the government is probably going to start to hold back on so much spending because of our debt. In my opinion, if all everyone paid his or her taxes in the United States like Ms. Warren mentions, we would not need to cut back. Our government would be able to continue what it needs to do to provide for our needs. By no means do we want cuts on our road maintenance or our education budgets. In that case we really do need to pay up, because in the long run everyone else is truly paying for you to make your life better and your goals easier to obtain.

    Source(s):
    1. http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/factsheet_department_defense/

  33. I do believe that Ms. Warren was correct in her statement about how the success of everyone can be reflected on the distribution of public goods. I feel that education is a major public good that our nation depends upon. Not every family can afford to send their children to private schools and vouchers only help a portion of students. (Sadker and Zittleman) Privatization of schools, where companies use schools to create profit, runs a less expensive form of school system but at the expense of student performance. (Sadker and Zittleman) As of 2007, only 5.1 million students were enrolled in private schools. Nearly 10 times that amount, 49.3 million students were enrolled in public schools. (National Center for Education Statistics) If the government were to take away public education as a public good, that would leave nearly 50 million children with out the guarantee of a formal education. A major problem in underdeveloped countries is that they lack the resources of public option of a public education. While our public education system may be flawed in the United States it is still non-the less a necessity.
    The United States Army is estimated to receive 243.9 Billion of this year’s budget, (Bachman) while the entire Department of Education receives just under 50 billion. I understand the necessity for a healthy national defense system. I however also value the education system at more than 7% of my defense system. It isn’t fair for the government to make federal mandates like the “No Child Left Behind Act” and then not properly fund them. If they want to have any say in the curriculum, then they need to have a more active role in providing funds. While Obama has cut spending on education compared to his predecessor George W. Bush (Washington Post) he has also made a few attempts to help the education system. Obama’s “American Jobs Act” is looking to add 280,000 educator positions. (Education Funding) He is also helping to counteract the “No Child Left Behind Act” with allowing states to apply for waivers and reach more attainable goals. (No Child Left Behind Act) While his efforts are appreciated, no teacher would argue for a larger budget for classroom resources. If the people want a better America with educated citizens that are capable of propelling the nation forward, then they need to be willing to pay the taxes or allot enough money in the budget to support a proper public education system.

    Works Cited
    Bachman, Jess. Death and Taxes: 2011. 2011. .
    Education Funding. .
    National Center for Education Statistics. 2009. 2011 .
    No Child Left Behind Act. .
    Sadker, David Miller and Karen R. Zittleman. “Teachers, Schools and Society.” New York: McGraw Hill, 2010. 160, 167.
    Washington Post. .

  34. I agree with Russ Roberts comments regarding public goods more specifically the “provision of public education.” Although I did attend private school for two years of high school, overall to society the advantages of public education outweigh those of private education. To the common man public education is important due to its accessibility as public schools must accept any resident student who applies, while private schools can be selective with choosing their students (1). Other benefits to public school education include no tuitions, required credit classes (physical education, art, english) as well as multiple opportunities down the road. Therefore it is necessary for the government to provide this public good even though it raises taxes. People are willing to pay these taxes because one, they want there kids to get a good education, and two, people are willing to pay these taxes if it is for the betterment of society. Countries like the United States, can benefit from this public good by using it to enhance people by educating them and helping them on there way to more successful lives as opposed to countries like Somalia and Afghanistan who suffer from not having this public good. Recently Barack Obama gave a speech regarding the federal No Child Left Behind law, where he stated significant changes to this law. The main change to the law is that it would now allow states to apply for a waiver to set their own guidelines in order to improve their education system (2). Therefore it would be prudent for the federal government to have less control over the education system in order to adapt and make changes easily. And if we want to create this “local and effective” system we must continue to rely on property tax revenue. It is said that nearly half of property tax revenue goes towards public education. Although it may seem easier to not pay this and just rely on state funding, this method has proven unsuccessful in improving the well-being of our schools (3). Thus the role government must play in order to help this public good is by continually property taxation and reduction in federal government control.

    http://www.browardschools.com/info/education.htm
    http://www.southcountytimes.com/Articles-i-2011-10-07-177170.114137-Changes-Ahead-For-No-Child-Left-Behind.html
    http://www.lincolninst.edu/pubs/1308_The-Property-Tax-School-Funding-Dilemma

  35. There is going to be more cuts to the defense budget for the 2012 debt deal. The current number the government is looking to cut is around $500 billion dollars(1). This number is quite large considering that the military only gets funded $530 billion per year. This number will continue to decrease yearly by about $30 billion putting us coser to the safe spending amount we were at in 2007(1). But will this budget cut affect the safety of our citizens? I dont think that it will necessarily decrease our safety just because we are not spending as much money on the military than the other militarisic countries. I think that the United States’ military posses a threat that not many countries would try to mess with. From the opinions I found while researching most people seem to agree with me when it comes to natonal security. Others are worried that the decrease of the defense spending budget will affect our saftey.

    1)http://www.policymic.com/article/show?id=1681
    2)http://hamptonroads.com/2011/10/coming-defense-cuts

  36. The government’s role in education is an enormous necessity. The smaller the position the government has in education, the less people will get educated. Not everyone would be able to afford to pay for their own education if it was privately provided. Just colleges and universities for example, show the difference between prices. “According to the National Association of Independent Schools, the median tuition for their member private day schools in 2008-2009 in the United States was $17,441. Tuition for boarding schools was close to $37,017” (1). This shows how much more affordable public schools are. The more the government contributes, the more likely it will be fore students to go to school. Increasing the level of the government’s role in providing public education can only help the education system. Privately provided education systems or schools have various ways of being funded. “Scholarships, vouchers, tax credits, company benefits and/or loans” can help people attended private schools to decrease the amount they pay (2). Even with these things in tact, private schools still have the tendency to be more expensive. Along with the financial benefits of public schools, there are various other benefits as well. These benefits include, more choices in curriculum, stronger community relationships, and teachers are certified educational instructors (3). In comparison, private schools have other cons besides cost. For example, teachers aren’t required to have a teaching degree, most private schools are religious based, there are no special education classes, and sometimes students need to pass and entrance exam for admission (3). All of these factors incorporated with cost explain why public schools are better off, and why the government needs to play a role in providing public education, which is proved to be better. Without the government’s function of providing assistance for education, attending school will overall be more expensive. It is necessary for the government to help out in order to gain the maximum amount of people who become educated.

    (1) http://www.greatschools.org/find-a-school/defining-your-ideal/59-private-vs-public-schools.gs
    (2) http://www.educationbug.org/a/funding-a-private-school-education.html
    (3) http://www.educationbug.org/a/private-schools-pros-and-cons.html

  37. Education in the US has been a state responsibility that has been implemented at the local level. I believe that this is primarily where spending and planning should occur, but that the federal government should play a role by supporting these transformational efforts.

    The Department of Education currently administers a budget of $69.9 billion. The Department’s programs annually serve about 56 million students attending 99,000 public schools and 34,000 private schools (1).

    With an expected budget of $1.13 trillion being spent nationwide on education in 2010-2011, most of it will come from state, local, and private sources. 89.2% of the funds for elementary and secondary education come from non-Federal sources. That leaves a 10.8% contribution from the federal government (1).

    It is important to increase education at the federal level so that budget is not just a small part of both the total national education spending and the overall Federal budget. Increasing federal spending on education will help improve the structure of educational financing that is reflected in the state and local levels.

    The national goal is to graduate all students and get them ready for college and careers, and the current drive to achieve these changes in education policy should be to prioritize federal spending (2). Although the Department of Education’s share of total funding is relatively small, it still works hard to get a lot for its taxpayers, provided it has the money. But by targeting its funds where they can do the most good, a state and local support for education can be possible.

    (1) http://www2.ed.gov/about/overview/budget/index.html?src=ln
    (2) http://www.all4ed.org/files/PolicyBriefReinventingFedRoleEd.pdf

  38. Some regulations are necessary for the government to implement because without government intervention certain groups of people might be forgotten or not represented. An example of a case where government regulations are necessary is for people with disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was created in 1990 to protect the rights of Americans with disabilities (1). “It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in employment, public accommodations, transportation, State and local government services, and telecommunications,” according to ED.gov (2). These regulations are necessary because without the regulations of the government many companies would choose not to increase accessibility because of the cost. That would leave approximately 54 million people without the ability to participate in everyday activities (3). If the ADA did not impose regulations like the vehicle lift, people in wheelchairs would be unable to participate in certain activities leaving them discriminated against (4). Many companies would be unwilling to pay extra money to increase accessibility, which would cause many difficulties for the people who have disabilities. Economically, not having the ADA would reduce overall costs to companies; however, this would leave people with disabilities without options. For example, in India regulations for disabilities have been privatized (5). This has lead to many aspects of accessibility and other services for disabilities to be removed which has been very detrimental for the people in India with disabilities (5). In the United States, the ADA has many regulations for transportation. Sixty percent of people polled in the Harris Poll reported that transportation has improved for people with disabilities since 1994 (6). Without the regulations implemented by the government to help people with disabilities, many of the people who do have disabilities would be discriminated against.

    (1) http://ada.ky.gov/why_important.htm
    (2) http://ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/hq9805.html
    (3) http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/facts_for_features_special_editions/cb10-ff13.html
    (4) http://www.access-board.gov/transit/html/vguide.htm#BVSD
    (5) http://www.dsq-sds.org/article/view/1272/1302
    (6) http://www.usccr.gov/pubs/ada/ch2.htm

  39. A very interesting study in the case of private versus public education can be seen with the Dutch system. The Netherlands has had a voucher system for a very long time (1). This system utilizes public financing and private production of education (1). It is a very different system from the system we have in the United States and is an interesting look at the issue from the perspective of a different country.

    (1) http://www.jstor.org/stable/1187188?seq=1

  40. When it come to Government spending on public goods and taxes national defense immediately jumps to mind because currently spending on the military and security represents 63% of government spending at 895 billion dollars a year. Cuts have already been made in defense spending and more are defiantly coming, either as the result of bipartisan action in the congressional super committee or by automatically triggered cuts of 600 billion if negations fail. Both Leon Panetta and Robert Gates have argued that sweeping across the board cuts would severely threaten the militaries ability to provide security. However, cuts are needed and could, if properly targeted, even improve the ability of our armed forces to provide security for America. Currently US defense spending represents 43% of defense spending in the world. A particularly striking example of this advantage can be seen in our aircraft carrier fleet. A total of 22 aircraft carriers are in active service in the whole world maintained by 10 different navies. The US Navy has 11 Nimitz class super carriers produced at a per unit cost of approximately 4.5 billion dollars. In many of the other measures of conventional military strength the US armed forces maintain similar levels of superiority to other Nations. It goes without saying that spending reductions could be made without reducing American military superiority. Furthermore the military needs to adjust its capabilities to the realities of the threats the US is most likely to face in the 21st century. More and more the external threats to national security are coming from small groups of extremist dissidents within others nations. This means that our military should focus more on intelligence, special forces and unmanned aircraft working together to locate and eliminate threats. This would create a smaller, more responsive and more specialized military that could provide even greater security in the 21st century than our current cumbersome standing military force. Economically this would represent a loss of jobs in both the military itself and in the thriving military contractor sector. However the savings in public funds could help free up money for other public goods such as infrastructure or education.

    http://www.deathandtaxesposter.com/
    http://www.globalissues.org/article/75/world-military-spending
    https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/06/world/panetta-exhorts-european-nato-members-to-share-defense-spending.html

  41. When it come to Government spending on public goods and taxes national defense immediately jumps to mind because currently spending on the military and security represents 63% of government spending at 895 billion dollars a year. Cuts have already been made in defense spending and more are defiantly coming, either as the result of bipartisan action in the congressional super committee or by automatically triggered cuts of 600 billion if negations fail. Both Leon Panetta and Robert Gates have argued that sweeping across the board cuts would severely threaten the militaries ability to provide security. However, cuts are needed and could, if properly targeted, even improve the ability of our armed forces to provide security for America. Currently US defense spending represents 43% of defense spending in the world. A particularly striking example of this advantage can be seen in our aircraft carrier fleet. A total of 22 aircraft carriers are in active service in the whole world maintained by 10 different navies. The US Navy has 11 Nimitz class super carriers produced at a per unit cost of approximately 4.5 billion dollars. In many of the other measures of conventional military strength the US armed forces maintain similar levels of superiority to other Nations. It goes without saying that spending reductions could be made without reducing American military superiority. Furthermore the military needs to adjust its capabilities to the realities of the threats the US is most likely to face in the 21st century. More and more the external threats to national security are coming from small groups of extremist dissidents within others nations. This means that our military should focus more on intelligence, special forces and unmanned aircraft working together to locate and eliminate threats. This would create a smaller, more responsive and more specialized military that could provide even greater security in the 21st century than our current cumbersome standing military force. Economically this would represent a loss of jobs in both the military itself and in the thriving military contracting sector. However the savings in public funds could help free up money for other public goods such as infrastructure or education.

  42. I do not agree with Ms. Warren’s or Dr. Robert’s opinion regarding the government’s provision of certain goods. Contrary to Ms. Warren’s opinion, if someone made a fortune off of a business that used benefits that were paid by taxes, i.e. roads, educated workers, police safety; then it is up to them to choose what to do with their money BECAUSE they still paid taxes. Her statement made it seem like wealthy people don’t pay taxes at all when often times they have to pay more taxes then the rest of us. Either way, America is not a socialist country. It is not successful people’s responsibility to pave the way for the next guys who steps in line to try and be successful. What one does with their money after they pay taxes is up to the individual, at least in our individualist culture.
    As for Dr. Roberts’ agreement, he does raise a good point in that he believes the government does not spend enough on education as opposed to other subsidies such as defense (100 billion compared to 700 billion, Washington Post, 2011). But on another note, our education is still amongst the best in the world (six out of the top ten colleges located in America, US News, 2011) and I believe the government is doing as much as they can with what they have to work with and you have to remember that the defense spending includes compensation for military veterans. The other thing that involves a lot of spending is Social Security and the reason it is so high is because of the baby boomer generation going into retirement. There is certainly bias in Dr. Roberts’ opinion because he is an Economics professor at George Mason University, much like there would probably be negative bias if you asked a military veteran if they received enough compensation (even though by most people’s standards they receive enough).

  43. Ms. Warren’s argument that government provision of public goods is necessary is much more persuasive than Russ Roberts’ stance on the pure wastefulness of government provisions. Ms. Warren makes a good point in saying that life would be much less safe and secure without government provision of fire, rescue, and police. The same concept can be applied to the educational system. Mr. Roberts is probably right in his dismal assessment of American education. The Alliance for Excellent Education backs up his argument by writing,

    (1)“According to the long-term trend reading assessments of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the literacy of thirteen- and seventeen-year-olds on the NAEP has stagnated for close to four decades. The lack of improvement in literacy achievement has many implications for the nation’s economy and ability to compete globally.”

    Even though the current government run system is bad with a serious need for improvement, it does not need to be scrapped for completely privatized education. A privatized education system would lead to exclusion of many young, aspiring American kids and therefore even lower literacy rates. If we think our literacy is bad now, think about how bad it would be if less than half of those 13-17 year olds were the only kids in privatized education. The other half would be out on the streets, sitting at home watching T.V. , or working as child labor. The current system, with its many faults, is still better than no standard system at all. Ms. Warren is correct in saying we need the government and all of the infrastructure it provides for the progression of society. Now, with that said, there is a balance between too much government and not enough. With that in mind, the government needs to provide certain public goods, such as education.

    (1) Alliance for Excellent, E. (2010). Adolescent Literacy. Fact Sheet. Alliance for Excellent Education, Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

  44. Our nations spending on national defense and security should not be an area to the budget cuts that everyone is looking for. Although our nations spending on national defense has increased by 91% since 2001, I do not believe that national security needs to be sacrificed in order to cut into our national debt. Our current national defense budget is up to $703 billion, and of that $170 billion comes directly from overseas affairs. (1) (2) With the economy in such distress, I believe it is time for the United States to remove itself away from foreign affairs for the time being, but I do not approve of cutting the Department of Defense’s baseline budget. The last time we saw defense spending significantly reduced, it left us vulnerable to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.(3) Economic ramifications of 9/11 included impacts on the tourism industry, and increased spending on energy.(4) Ultimately, national defense is a public good in which its benefits exceed its costs.

    Sources:
    (1) http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=1258
    (2) http://www.deathandtaxesposter.com/
    (3) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/politics/30-years-spending-priorities-federal-budget-2012/
    (4) http://www.gobankingrates.com/ten-years-after-economic-impacts-9-11/

  45. Our nations spending on national defense and security should not be an area to the budget cuts that everyone is looking for. Although our nations spending on national defense has increased by 91% since 2001, I do not believe that national security needs to be sacrificed in order to cut into our national debt. Our current national defense budget is up to $703 billion, and of that $170 billion comes directly from overseas affairs. (1) (2) With the economy in such distress, I believe it is time for the United States to remove itself away from foreign affairs for the time being, but I do not approve of cutting the Department of Defense’s baseline budget. The last time we saw defense spending significantly reduced, it left us vulnerable to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.(3) Economic ramifications of 9/11 included impacts on the tourism industry, and increased spending on energy.(4) Ultimately, national defense is a public good in which its benefits exceed its costs.
    Sources:
    (1) http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=1258
    (2) http://www.deathandtaxesposter.com/
    (3) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/politics/30-years-spending-priorities-federal-budget-2012/
    (4) http://www.gobankingrates.com/ten-years-after-economic-impacts-9-11/

  46. Education is something prized by many. Some pursue it to its ends while others shun it completely. Both public and private, education is offered to everyone who wishes to take it. But should the government be involved in education, and if so, at what levels and at how much of a cost? Much of the education in the United States is public, with private schools only educating about 10% of the nations K-12 students (1). With 90% of these students attending public schools, it is clear that a considerable amount of money must be placed into the education system for public schools to be worthwhile. While myriad news reports tell of school districts lacking ample funds, public school districts have had up to $596.6 billion in pocket to spend in recent years (2). President Obama proposed ‘The Race to the Top,’ a competition of sorts for public schools to improve learning for a cash reward. A total of $4.35 billion is set to be given out to schools that meet the criteria (3). Is this a cost the government should continue to uphold, and where should this money go? All children, from ages five to ten, must attend school under the compulsory education law in the United States. For many, elementary and high school educations may be the most they receive in their lifetime. Only 30% of college-aged students actually attend a college or university (4). Many students after high school will go and pursue jobs in various industries, securing a job and pay for perhaps years to come. So all students, even more those who will not attend college, public education at the elementary and secondary level is highly important. For those students enrolled in public schools, the education they receive there should be the best it can be to prepare them for either immediate placement in the working world or for a future at college. Students need to be prepared for either paths of life. This being said, however, money should also be provided to public colleges and universities to help students gain higher education at lower costs. With lesser costs of higher education, students would be able to continue their schooling beyond the high school level.

    (1) http://www.capenet.org/facts.html
    (2) http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=66
    (3)http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204886304574308442726348678.html
    (4) http://howtoedu.org/college-facts/how-many-people-go-to-college-every-year/

  47. I do not believe the government should cut spending on the military. In this day in age of terroism and the threat of global nuclear war, our military needs to be at top condition so we can be prepared for any circumstance. In order for this to stand true like everything else in this world, money needs to be spent at a high rate. Theres already a feeling of our veterans deserving more in relation to benefits after they’re retired so cutting their wages would even more hurt the relationship between our military and our government. This steady decrease in morality would lead the United States into not being able to protect the citizens. Sadly enough, I believe a volunteer military would not be able to protect against some of our worlds’ super powers in a time of war. Many say our country may have to bring back the draft and increase cuts in military related benefits so we can cut the spending towards our military. I completely disagree, how are we going to decrease tuition assistance benefits toward the soldiers who are risking the lives for our country. If anything, they deserve more than what they are recieving today. I belive this because the morality between a country’s military and government is a significant relationship in a country’s success. We can’t spread hate from the people toward the government because of how they treat our military. These two aspects of our country must always be together so that the US doesnt defeat itself internally. I feel that a internal failure in morality is the only way the United States could ever be defeated.
    http://hamptonroads.com/2011/10/coming-defense-cuts

  48. The government should not cut spending on defense. First of all, the Constitution states that one of the main roles the government should play is providing a military. Providing an effective and powerful military is key to protecting freedom, which should be our main concern. Second, defense spending creates good jobs and promotes developing new technology. For example, the Department of Defense employs more than 700,000 civilians, 2.3 million active duty, many different contractors, etc. These jobs provide opportunities for people from all walks of life with good salaries and benefits, and develop new technologies that better the military and make its operations more effective. (1) However, under the current president’s proposed budget, defense spending would decline by 6% over the next five years. Also, the bipartisan budget deal in August to lift the nation’s debt limit calls for steep defense cuts over the next 10 years. (2) America’s defense is currently engaged in defending terrorism and maintaining the strongest military in the world. The majority of voters in America agree that, because of this, defense spending should only be cut by about 5% to 10%. Americans collectively agree they do not want to lose their position as a world leader by undermining the capability of the military. (3)
    (1) http://www.godefense.com
    (2) http://www.online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203388804576616841644878336.html?KEYWORDS=defense+spending
    (3) http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2011/01/08/the-risky-rush-to-cut-defense-spending.html

  49. I feel that the government should play a larger role in providing public education at every level. During these tough times public education has taken a hit and has been forced to resort to drastic budget cuts and layoffs. These budget cuts have created inequality amongst schools. With limited resources and unmotivated teachers many children are being deprived of the high quality education that they deserve. Lower income families with children in struggling school districts cannot turn to private schools because of through the roof tuition rates. Moving forward the government needs to make education a higher priority and increase spending and provide for each child the education they deserve. Right now this is not the case. President Obama has devoted $102 billion dollars to education, while the defense budget is in the trillions (1). This is not acceptable. More money needs to be put into education at the federal and state levels. In 2007, 5 states in the United States spent more money on prisons and corrections than education (2). Due to our country’s current economic state, there has also been a decline in manual labor jobs. These jobs are being off shored and digitalized, so employment has become primarily knowledge based (2). By underfunding education in the U.S. we are putting young Americans at a disadvantage when they seek employment. I believe that we need to redistribute resources in every school setting whether it be an urban, rural or a suburban school district, provide incentives to get the most out of our teachers and stop teaching to standardized tests. With a increased government involvement in education, we are evening the playing the field and ensuring that each child receives a proper education. These children are part of the generation that we hope can revitalize the economy.

    (1) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/politics/30-years-spending-priorities-federal-budget-2012/
    (2) http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2010/04/06/the_death_of_public_education/

  50. Public schooling is one public good that should be provided to all citizens in order to keep our country educated. Currently, the government spends about 129.8 billion dollars in providing public education to citizens (1). Because intelligent citizens are the future of the country, public schooling needs to be available to everyone. Parents are willing to pay taxes that provide public schools because they want to see their children succeed in life as well as all other students in this country. Only about 9 percent of parents chose to send their children to private school, which I view as unnecessary depending on the quality of public schools in the area (2). Although many students do benefit from private schools, they are often very expensive and unaffordable to the average citizen. The current average cost of private school tuition is $17,441. This cost and the current economy could be the reason that one in four parents are deciding to switch their child from private to public school (3). If there are great public schools in a child’s district it seems unnecessary for extra money to be spent on a private education.

    1. http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/us_education_spending_20.html
    2. http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=6
    3. http://www.greatschools.org/find-a-school/defining-your-ideal/59-private-vs-public-schools.gs

  51. I feel that the government should play a larger role in providing public education at every level. During these tough times public education has taken a hit and has been forced to resort to drastic budget cuts and layoffs. These budget cuts have created inequality amongst schools. With limited resources and unmotivated teachers many children are being deprived of the high quality education that they deserve. Lower income families with children in struggling school districts cannot turn to private schools because of through the roof tuition rates. Moving forward the government needs to make education a higher priority and increase spending and provide for each child the education they deserve. Right now this is not the case. President Obama has devoted $102 billion dollars to education, while the defense budget is in the trillions (1). This is not acceptable. More money needs to be put into education at the federal and state levels. In 2007, 5 states in the United States spent more money on prisons and corrections than education (2). Due to our country’s current economic state, there has also been a decline in manual labor jobs. These jobs are being off shored and digitalized, so employment has become primarily knowledge based (2). By underfunding education in the U.S. we are putting young Americans at a disadvantage when they seek employment. I believe that we need to redistribute resources in every school setting whether it be an urban, rural or a suburban school district, provide incentives to get the most out of our teachers and stop teaching to standardized tests. With a increased government involvement in education, we are evening the playing the field and ensuring that each child receives a proper education. These children are part of the generation that we hope can revitalize the economy.

    (1) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/politics/30-years-spending-priorities-federal-budget-2012/
    (2)http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2010/04/06/the_death_of_public_education/

  52. I definitely agree with Ms. Warren’s statements about the government provisions of certain goods. Her position on public goods is very valid because, for the most part, Americans as a whole greatly take for granted all of the public utilities and conveniences that we are so accustomed to. From the time we are young until the day we die, we will be actively using some type of public good. While we may be too young to pay our share of taxes, they do not go unpaid. Prior contributors (tax payers) have in a way pre-paid our fees for a limited time so that we may enjoy the same social benefits, but the only way to upkeep the supply of public services is for the citizens to ALL contribute their appropriate shares to the community pot. For example, it is commonly believed that highways are completely paid for by gas taxes and motorist charges, when in fact from 1947 to 2005, the amount of money spent on highways, roads and streets exceeded the funds raised from gas taxes and other user fees by $600 billion (1). This article is explaining that although we think we are paying high taxes to solely cover the cost of roads and highways across America, the reality is that we are paying a fraction of the total cost. If it was a public vendor, it would already be government regulated; therefore the proper funding would have already been applied through public taxing. So although a private vendor may excel on its own without government intervention, the company must continue to contribute to the “group fund” in order to maintain the contribution rate required from each citizen.
    (1) http://www.governing.com/blogs/fedwatch/Do-Roads-Pay-for-Themselves.html

  53. We all die and we all pay taxes, to paraphrase the words of Ben Franklin. I agree with Elizabeth Warren in that it is difficult earn a substantial living without using a publicly provided good or service somewhere down the road. As we learned in our token simulation, the masses receive the greatest overall benefit when everyone contributes. When we were allowed to contribute whatever we wanted, the overall benefit dropped sharply because many people chose to contribute little and free ride on the contributions of others. This same concept applies to taxes and government regulations. If we were to remove government regulations and allow them to be determined by the market, the economy would see a dramatic change in respect to business integrity in production, advertising, and sales. For example, if the FDA no longer required strict specifications for labeling food and drug products, what would keep companies from falsely advertising that their product was the cure-all drug or from putting dangerous chemicals in their foods? Government regulations are rarely more pervasive or important than in the environmental sector. If regulations were no longer enforced by the government, costly waste management and eco-friendly production methods would go out the window in the interest of saving money. As a result, the general welfare of the people would be hurt in both instances. The bodies that standardize and enforce these business codes are funded by the government which is funded by our contributions through tax dollars. Voluntary donation or regulation is not an option because of the proven instance of free riding. Therefore, government regulation should remain an integral part of the functioning of this country.

  54. Since 9/11, the government spending increased approximately increased $600 million from 2001 to 2011 (1). Since ten years, United States brought more attention to the military and defense. Government should cut spending on defense because cutting government spending in general would decrease taxes so people would spend more money and the economy would cycle and grow. The raise of $600 Billion would be an excess so instead the government should cut down from the current revenue which is around $900 Billion. The Government should keep the spending enough so it would ensure safety for the citizens so that it can be used for other public goods. Because of the excess spending on defense and military, it affects the economy as a whole. Government should pay more attention to social security and education. Although protection and security is important, the raising taxes does not “protect” citizens since they are the ones who are most affected how the government allocates the revenue.

    http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/spending_chart_1996_2016USb_12s1li1181345_583cs_30t (1)

  55. Rather than demanding refunds from the government when we are unhappy, as Dr. Roberts suggests, we should spend more time and energy into making sure that the public funding is actually being used effectively. Not only should the government should have more control over public education, there should also be a complete elimination of all forms of private education. All schools become naturally excludable to some groups of people simply by location. Parents will not want to waste the time and money driving junior to school many hours away every day. People are going to want to send their children to the schools which are both most convenient to access and have the best resources reasonably available. In order to provide those resources, schools need more funding from the federal government. Private school is an impractical waste of money. Private schools, overall, do not provide much better education than well-funded public schools, but rather, more resources and graduation requirements (1). They are, however, run on tuition and donations (2), rather than governmental funding. The money parents spend to send their kids to private schools would be of much greater help if used for the public good on public, especially magnate, schools. Magnet schools, though technically considered public, are highly competitive and have rigorous, specialized courses for strong academics. These schools draw a good number of the best and brightest students from many diverse areas (2), whereas private schools allow parents to pay more money so that their average students get access to more resources than kids of low socioeconomic status (SES), even if the low SES students have more motivation, more intellectual potential, or are harder workers. These advanced resources are then wasted on the spoiled students who are not willing or able to work hard for competitive skills which will later get them jobs. However, magnet schools require roughly $200 more per student than other schools (2), which leads to heinous underfunding. Why cheat the budding young minds who will grow to lead this country? People should be sinking a decent portion of the money they would have been willing to spend on advancing the private education of their own children, instead, into public schools. Public schools will then be better equipped to provide competitive educations to offspring of many more people, especially those who attend and compete in magnet schools. Society should reward students with the smarts and strong work ethics, instead of compromising the education available for the best and brightest to advance the average students who come from religious or wealthy backgrounds.

    (1) http://www.capenet.org/benefits4.html
    (2) http://www.publicschoolreview.com/articles/2

  56. LATE: I agree with Ms. Warren’s opinion regarding the government’s provision of certain goods. All citizens pay taxes the go towards things we all use or rely on every day such as roads, public education, and protection provided by our military. Those who are for privatization of goods may not realize how much tax payers really pay for and how much of that would go away if public goods became private especially things like roads and construction. Many roads and bridges are already hazardous and need serious reconstruction. If the government didn’t enforce taxes on these goods with tolls and state taxes, there would definitely be citizens who didn’t contribute which would further decrease the quality of our roads. Only 7% of state tax dollars go towards state transportation (roads included) 1. I think it is worth it to put more money towards transportation, considering it is a good that most everyone uses on a daily basis. I don’t think there are any cases in which the government should privatize roads. As long as everyone is paying for them with their tax dollars there is no reason why the public shouldn’t be able to drive on them.
    1. http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=2783

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