Saturday, June 17, 2006

My Kids Deserve Better

My Kids Deserve Better features the book Public Schools, Public Menance by Joel Turtel.

This book is a summer must read for parents.

Friday, June 16, 2006


The following is the final in our series by Michael Cloud c 2006 titled ARE GOVERNMENT FAILURES THE RESULT OF THE WRONG PEOPLE RUNNING IT?. While reading this article keep in mind that public schools are government schools. Should the education of our children be in the hands of the government or parents and the free market? Would you prefer to only go shopping at only one government run grocery store? Why should we be forced to send our children to one government school.


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

"Tonight's News will show exactly who caused the failures of disaster relief for Hurricane Katrina's victims."

"The reason we're not making more progress in Iraq is the Secretary of Defense," says a critic. "We need to put someone in charge who knows how to bring together Iraqi factions."

"We need no nonsense, tough teachers and administrators in our public schools to shore up poor math and science skills," says a candidate.

"We've got to get the right people in charge of Social Security - so we can secure it for Baby Boomers," says a talk radio host.

These claims and hundreds like them rest on one unchallenged premise: that Big Government programs can regularly and reliably deliver the positive results their backers promised.

But Big Government programs repeatedly fail. Why? Their defenders respond, "1. These programs fail because the wrong people are in charge. 2. Big Government programs will succeed when we put the right people in charge."

If you believe this, you will focus your efforts on firing the incompetent bums running Big Government programs - and hiring competent, high quality leaders and managers to take their places.

Read the opinions, discussions, and debates at websites and on blogs. Listen to them on talk radio or cable TV. Most of the sound and fury centers on why a person in charge of a Big Government program is right or wrong for the job. Or why someone else has the right stuff and could straighten things out.

That's why most mainstream political debates focus on who's in charge.

But what if it's not a people problem?

What if it's the nature of government itself that causes the problems? What if it's a design characteristic of government itself that causes the problems - and makes them unavoidable and unfixable? What if "Why Government Doesn't Work" by Harry Browne is right?

Do a thought experiment.

What if YOU were in charge of the Federal Emergency Management Agency? You're subject to the same laws, regulations, budget, constraints, and political reality as the person currently holding the job. Can YOU make this Big Government program work?

Why or why not?

What if Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises were alive - and put in charge of the Internal Revenue Service. He's subject to today's mandates, laws, regulations, budget, constraints, and political reality. Could Ludwig von Mises make the IRS collect the money while NOT damaging their lives - or the economy?

What if Charles Murray were put in charge of Welfare. He's subject to today's mandates, laws, regulations, budget, constraints, and political reality. Could the author of "Losing Ground" make welfare effective?

Pick the brightest and wisest free market economist or libertarian to run any Big Government program you choose. Remember that he's subject to the nature of government, as well as today's mandates, laws, regulations, budget, constraints, and political reality. Can HE make Big Government work?

Of course not.

Fire burns, water's wet, and gravity doesn't play favorites.

Big Government programs turn out the way they do because of the nature of government.

There are 5 Iron Laws of Big Government

I. Big Government Programs Don't Work.

II. Big Government Programs often make things worse for the very people they're intended to help.

III. Big Government Programs create new problems.

IV. Big Government Programs are costly and wasteful.

V. Big Government Programs divert money and energy from positive, productive uses.

So, when you hear political debates that focus on who's in charge - and who should be in charge - bring the conversation to the real cause of the repeated and massive failures -- Big Government itself.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

The Danger of the Easy by Michael Cloud c 2006

This is dedicated to all of those who speak out against education mediocrity and warning to those in District 158 and District 300 who did not speak out. Yet another article in our series this week by Michael Cloud c 2006 titled The Danger of the Easy.

The Danger of the Easy
by Michael Cloud c 2006

In the last few weeks, you probably read an inspiring and moving pro-liberty essay. You know several friends and family members who would be receptive to it. It would have taken just moments to email forward it.

But you didn't.

In the last few months, you probably went to a social event where a few people complained about Big Government. They sounded open to small government ideas. It would have taken you less than 3 minutes to find out how responsive they were to our ideas.

But you didn't.

In the last few years, you received numerous letters from small government and tax-cutting organizations. They told you what they are doing to reduce taxes and roll back Big Government, how it will benefit you and those you love, and then asked you to help. It would have taken you just minutes to make an affordable donation to help with their work.

But you didn't.


Because each thing was easy.

"What's easy to do -- is easy NOT to do," wrote Jim Rohn.

It's easy to email forward that persuasive small government essay. It's easy NOT to forward it.

It's easy to ask the people at the social event whether they'd like to hear some ideas on cutting Big Government down to size. It's easy NOT to ask.

It's easy to make an affordable donation to that deserving organization that asked you to help. It's easy NOT to give them a hand.

But there's more to Jim Rohn's elegant insight.

What's easy to begin -- is easy NOT to begin.

It's easy to begin reading your copy of "Economics In One Lesson" by Henry Hazlitt or "The Law" by Frederic Bastiat. It's easy NOT to begin.

It's easy to begin practicing communication tips and techniques from my "Persuasion Power Points" Column. It's easy NOT to begin.

What's easy to stop -- is easy NOT to stop.

It's easy to turn off the TV after your favorite program. It's easy NOT to turn it off.

It's easy to stop going to your favorite bar after work -- and go home to your spouse and kids. It's easy NOT to stop.

What can be done anytime -- can be NOT done anytime. Can be left undone again and again and again.

"What's easy to do -- is easy NOT to do."

It's a tempting and seductive siren call. One that beckons us every day and week and month.

But there are ways over, under, around, and through the danger of the easy.

1. Do it now. Strike when the iron is hot. As soon as the "easy-to-do" thought occurs to you, do it. Don't deliberate. Do it. Don't put it off for another time. Do it. It's easy. Do it now.

2. Do it first. Life is priorities. Do 2 easy things to advance liberty before you do hard stuff.

3. Do it daily. Put 2 easy things on your "To Do" list each day. Do them each day.

4. Log it daily. Write down your easy deeds each day. Every day. At the same time. So it will become a habit. Simply recording these "easy-to-do" things will help transform them into enjoyable and effective action habits.

That's all it takes. Easy, isn't it?

"What's easy to do -- is easy NOT to do," wrote Jim Rohn.

Doing the easy is relentless and reliable. It is the effortless, enjoyable, and effective personal path to small government, much lower taxes, and freedom.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Personal Responsibility Sets Us Free - by Michael Cloud c 2002

Continuing our series with Michael Cloud. When he speaks of the government below think of your public schools. Public schools are government schools. In government schools you will find corruption, waste, fraud and patronage. Are you going to get involved in controlling the spending and waste in public schools? Or will you continue to let them raise your taxes so you do not have to make any effort? When will it stop? How much money are you willing to give up while continuing to get poor results and lower standards from our schools? As a parent I believe my responsibility is to leave a better world for my child. Leaving a large tax burden with little accountability on the part of our public schools does not make a better world for my child or any child.

Personal Responsibility Sets Us Free Michael Cloud c 2002

Personal responsibility sets us free. Personal responsibility makes us
self-reliant. Self-supporting. Thoughtful. Productive. Personal
responsibility makes us prosperous and civil.

Yet everywhere in America, government responsibility advances, while
personal responsibility retreats.

Government responsibility expands, while personal responsibility shrivels
and shrinks.

Government responsibility grows stronger, while personal responsibility
grows weaker and weaker.


Because too many people have been taught that personal responsibility is a
hard and painful burden.

Too many have been taught that personal responsibility means blame and

Too many people have been taught that personal responsibility is just one
more thankless task.

So individuals surrender their responsibility to government. And Big
Government is happy to take it.

Because Big Government grows by assuming responsibility.

But Government responsibility doesn't work.

Government responsibility makes things worse.

Government responsibility creates new problems.

Government responsibility means programs that squander and waste.

Government responsibility diverts money and energy from positive and
productive uses.

Government responsibility IS the problem.

Personal responsibility is the solution.

Health Care? Federal, state, and local politicians vote and lobby for more
government responsibility. They drive us toward a single-payer, Big
Government Health Care monopoly. One big VA hospital for America. That's
government responsibility in Health Care.

Education? Federal, state and local politicians vote for more government
responsibility. More government authority. More government control. More
government involvement. Government-run public schools are obscenely
expensive and teaching disabled. That's government responsibility in

The Family? Politicians make politically correct votes for the children, for
family leave, and family planning. Their votes destroy the authority and
responsibility of parents. Their votes make more government rules and
regulations, restrictions and requirements, mandates and demands ... decided
and guided by bureaucrats and politicians. That's government responsibility
for Families.

Welfare? Disaster relief? Retirement? Business? Jobs? Area after area, time
after time, government responsibility makes things worse.

Government responsibility is the problem. Personal responsibility is the

It's time to take back personal responsibility.

Personal responsibility is the price of liberty. Personal responsibility
sets us free. Personal responsibility leaves us with the freedom and
resources to support our families, raise and educate our children, plan our
careers, and save for our own retirements.

Personal responsibility is only possible with small government. And small
government is possible only with personal responsibility.

Government responsibility or personal responsibility? Which do you want?

Government authority or personal authority? Which do you want?

Government control or personal control? Which do you want?

Big Government or small government? Which do you want?

It's your choice. Your responsibility.

You can pay the price of achieving small government, individual liberty, and
personal responsibility.

Or keep paying the costs of Big Government, government authority, and
government responsibility.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

"Deficit" or "Overspending": the Difference One Word Makes - Copyright 2005 by Michael Cloud

In the article below replace federal government with public eduacation the same principle applies to both the federal government and the public education system. Public education is government education. As with the government you will find waste, fraud, corruption and patronage in the public education system.

The below article is the second article in our series this week. The article is "Deficit" or "Overspending":
the Difference One Word Makes by Michael Cloud

Does the Federal Government have a Deficit Problem or an Overspending Problem?

Your answer to this question makes a profound difference in how you think about, talk about, and deal with government revenue and expenditures.

Almost all politicians, news outlets, and political commentators agree that it's a deficit problem.

Here are the words and phrases they use to describe the gap between government income and spending: "deficit," "budget deficit," "expanding budget deficit," "face a large deficit," "solve the deficit problem," "bridge the deficit gap," "close the deficit," "cut the deficit," "projected deficits," "deficit reduction," "running a deficit," and even "deficits as far as the eye can see."

"What can we do about the federal deficit?" they ask.

Deficit Assumptions

"Deficit" is defined as "the amount by which a sum of money falls short of the required amount." It indicates a lack, a shortage, or deficiency. Not enough money.

"Deficit" rests on the premise that the proposed budget is the standard of judgment.

"Deficit" means that proposed government spending is right, but income is too low.

"Deficit" assumes and takes for granted that the proposed government budget is necessary, and that we have a tax shortfall.

"Deficit" implies that we are under-taxed. That perhaps taxpayers are stingy, selfish - and not paying their fair share.

Overspending Assumptions

"Overspending" is defined as "spending in excess of one's income." It indicates unwarranted, unnecessary, or too much spending.

"Overspending" rests on the premise that income is the standard of judgment.

"Overspending" means that government is trying to live beyond its means.

"Overspending" assumes and takes for granted that government has a spending problem, not an income problem.

"Overspending" implies that the elected officials are irresponsible, reckless, extravagant money wasters.

Deficit VS Overspending Questions

"If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about the answers," wrote Thomas Pynchon.
But what if we can get Americans asking the right questions?
Compare deficit questions to overspending questions.

"How do we solve the federal deficit problem?" VS

"How do we solve the federal overspending problem?"

"What should we do about this year's federal deficit?" VS

"What should we do about this year's federal overspending?"

"How can we resolve the budget shortfall?" VS

"Where should we cut back the government overspending?"

"How can we make up the $XXX Billion revenue deficiency?" VS
"Where can we best reduce and remove these $XXX Billions in overspending?"

From "Deficit" to "Overspending"

Suppose you're in a political conversation with someone. She brings up this year's federal "deficit". Just say, "Before we get too far into this conversation, can we get clear on the difference between government 'deficits' and government 'overspending'?"

Most people will ask: "What's the difference?"

Tell her the Deficit Assumptions and Overspending Assumptions. Then ask, "Which word best describes the way you think we should think about, talk about, and deal with government revenue and expenditures - 'deficit' or 'overspending'?"

Many people will stop and think about it. Some will ask questions. Some won't. Some will be receptive. Some won't.

You can use the "overspending" questions above with receptive listeners. Have a lively discussion!

Whether your conversation is short or long, you've just planted these new questions in your listener's mind. And if we can get people asking the right questions, we don't have to worry about the answers.

That's all it takes to set the process in motion.

The Impact of One Word

As long as the word "deficit" dominates and monopolizes the way that Americans think about and talk about government budgets, Big Government will keep growing.

But once we introduce the distinction between "deficit" and "overspending," Americans have a choice in how they think about, talk about, and deal with government revenue and expenditures.

As more and more Americans insist that we think about, talk about, and act on the basis of the "overspending" distinction, more of us will choose to reduce government spending.

And that's one crucial step toward small government.

Copyright 2005 by Michael Cloud

Monday, June 12, 2006


Dear Friends,

This week we will be featuring the work of Michael Cloud of the Center for Small Government.

The following piece appeared at Free Market News Network and was written by Michael Cloud.

Friday, June 09, 2006

"We have the highest SAT scores of any public school system in America," boasts a high school principal.

"Property tax rates in our town are the lowest in the state," says the newspaper editorial.

"Our welfare system is ranked in the top 10%," beams a government official.

"Our state-funded affordable housing is the best…"

"Local government construction projects are the most cost-efficient…"

Again and again, government-funded, government-run programs are touted as the lowest cost, most economical, highest value, and highest ranked.

And they truly are - IF we make sure we compare them only to other governments.


Because somebody is always the soberest drunk in the bar.

This Friday night, after work, go to a bar. Pick a good bar. One where they welcome serious drinking. A bar where they drink to celebrate, to forget, to remember, or for no reason at all.

Grab a stool. Nurse a few beers. The social drinkers and amateurs have left. Nobody's there but you, the bartender and the determined drinkers.

Keep your eyes wide open. You'll see men and women bend elbows, drain their cups, pound 'em back, and swill it down. They'll binge and booze it up. Some will get pickled, stewed, smashed, sloshed, and blotto.

They'll blow by the legal limit for intoxication. Some might get falling down drunk or even pass out.

Say there are 50 hard-core boozers in the bar.

One will be the soberest drunk in the bar. Five will be the 10% most clear-headed drunks in the group.

Want to catch a ride home with the soberest drunk in the bar?

Would you hand the car keys to the most clear-headed 10% of the drunks?

Would you want any of these drunks on the road?

Would you praise any for sobriety or self-restraint?


Why? Because you don't grade on the curve. You don't rank drunks against drunker drunks.

You compare them to people who are stone-cold sober.

So, too, with government spending, efficiency, results, and ranking.

Don't rate or rank, evaluate or judge one government against another. Nor one government program against other government programs.

Because one will always be the soberest drunk in the bar.

If we don't compare governments or government programs against each other, what do we judge them against?

Private enterprise. Privately-funded, privately-run businesses and projects.

NOT government-regulated, government-mandated, or government-funded businesses.

Real private enterprise. Privately owned businesses, operating in an open and competitive marketplace.

Private enterprise is the standard of judgment. Private enterprise is financial sobriety as opposed to the tax-intoxicated spending of government.

How much does it cost competitive, private businesses to produce the results we desire?

How much per year does it cost a home schooling family to educate one child?

How much per year does it cost a competitive private or parochial school to educate one child?

How much per year does it cost your tax-funded, government-run public school to educate one child?

Now compare the costs and results of each.

Do the same with tax-funded, government-run welfare. Compare it to private charity.

Or tax-funded, government-run "affordable" housing or housing projects. Compare them to "Habitat for Humanity" housing or low-cost efficiency apartments and multi-family units.

How about tax-funded, government-sponsored or government-run job training programs? Compare them to On-the-Job training - or business and charitable sponsored job training programs.

Compare Government to Private Enterprise. Costs and results.

For example, when you assess the costs of building a college dormitory for a tax-supported university, compare them to the costs of a similar apartment building. (A college dormitory is nothing but an on-campus apartment building for students.)

Compare tax-funded to privately-funded. Compare government-run to privately-run. Compare government costs and results to private enterprise costs and results.

Rate or rank, evaluate or judge government's costs and results against private enterprise's.

Stop settling for the soberest drunk in the bar.

Copyright 2006 by Michael Cloud

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Teenagers are not lazy

The letter to the editor from this bright young student appeared in the Northwest Herald.
Thank you to Emily for the heads up I will be sure to encourage my daughter to attend Civil Air Patrol when she is older.

The response below is to a letter to the Editor titled Too Many Lazy Kids which appeared in the Northwest Herald. The sad part is that Ray Mathis is a District 156 employee. Good teachers motivate, bad teachers give excuses. A summer must watch is a movie called Stand and Deliver about a teacher named Jaime Escalante. Mr. Escalante was able to educate and motivate a group of poor hispanic students that others thought could not be educated. Mr. Mathis's attitude in his letter to the editor is a major problem that plagues our public schools. Tenure protects people like Mathis not allowing school districts to hire more people like Mr. Escalante.

Teenagers are not lazy

[published on Sun, Jun 11, 2006]
To the Editor:

As a teenager, I would like to defend myself. Some adults say that we are being lazy and irresponsible, but adults are just as lazy perhaps by believing that they have done enough and the future is up to us.

I attend the Civil Air Patrol, where you will find teenagers who are smart, dedicated and respectful – the best group of people you ever will meet. I've gone to the McHenry County Composite Squadron for a little more than two years and working with the cadets has changed my life.

I am a much better person and leader now than I was three years ago. I have gone to encampments where it is all run by cadets and will tell you now: No one was being lazy at those encampments. The cadets are incredibly tough and eager for the challenge and leadership experience.

The Civil Air Patrol is a volunteer organization and the auxiliary of the Air Force. Visit to learn more. This is a wonderful program where there are good examples of kids from 12 to 21 years of age. Before you make a hard generalization about teenagers go, to one of the meetings.

Emily Medina


For more on Jamie Escalante you may want to read Jaime Escalante: Sensational Teacher by Ann Byers