During the heyday of the ObamaCare debate, the rap against America’s health care system was that it consumes 16 percent of the country’s GDP—more than any other country in the world—yet leaves about 16 percent of the population uninsured. What’s more, life expectancy in the U.S. is 42nd in the world, behind even some less developed countries. And the overall performance of the health system was 72nd among the 191 nations studied by the World Health Organization.
These are all legitimate—if addressable—points. But if it is fair to ask such questions of America’s quasi-socialized health care industry, isn’t it also fair to ask them of America’s fully socialized education industry?
Indeed, the country spends over $800 billion on K-12 education or about 5.5 percent of the GDP, the highest in the world. On a per student basis, only Switzerland spends more than the United States. Yet America’s graduation rate of 72 percent is 10 percentage points lower than the OECD average of 82 percent. Fifteen-year-old American students score below the international average on math and science literacy when compared with 30 OECD countries. Kids in Poland and Hungary— countries that have barely thrown the yoke of communism—perform better than American kids.
Out of 34 countries, the U.S. ranked 14th in reading, 17th in science and 25th in math on the 2009 Program for International Student Assessment tests. (The PISA exam is one of a handful of tests that compare educational levels across nations, and is considered to be the most comprehensive.)
I could go on.
But the point is that if the lacklustre performance of America’s quasi-socialized health care industry is a good reason to fully socialize it as President Obama and his fellow Dems wanted, then isn’t the lacklustre performance of America’s fully socialized K-12 system a good reason to privatize it?