Jun 30, 2011
ELW

Do We Want Liberty or “Efficient Government”?

Unfortunately, not all of the proponents of the nanny state expansion of government control over child care and preschool reside in the liberal media, the big business left or the Democrat party.  Some are in the Republican Party.  One of them, Rep. Branden Petersen (R-Andover) was one of the seven House Republicans out of 67 that voted to keep the Quality Rating System/Early Childhood Voucher bill in the House education finance bill.  He tried to defend that position during an interview with Jack Tomczak on the Late Debate on June 22nd in response to an interview that I did on that show on education on the 20th.  Rep. Petersen continued to use all of the same arguments of the nanny state crowd that I have refuted multiple times in this space, on Education Liberty Watch, in testimony and in media debates – “the program is voluntary,” “it will provide accountability,” etc. Although there is much that needs to be refuted again in what he said and despite the fact that he called himself “limited government conservative,”  this particular exchange will clearly illustrate the rift between true small government, constitutional conservatives and the “compassionate” big government establishment being played out at all levels of the Republican party all the way to the GOP presidential nomination:

Starting at 23:37

Rep. Branden Petersen (BP):  “…and Ed Liberty Watch and some members of our caucus [92% of them] were able to successfully eliminate essentially that provision out of the finance bill. And I think it was well intentioned from a limited government standpoint. You know, even I generally agree with the fact that ideally government shouldn’t be involved in early childhood.

Host Jack Tomczak (JT):  “Sure…but we’re not going to get to the ideal by funding it…

BP: “Right.”

JT: “…by having the state fund pre-K, we’re never going to get to that ideal of the government not being involved.”

BP: “Right”

JT: “Here forever?”

BP: “Well I think I don’t want to give up entirely, but what I would say is that with the federal involvement in Head Start, it’s something outside of our control.”

JT: “Sure”

BP:  And that we’re spending a large amount of money on it. And I think if we are going to do that, as a limited government conservative, liberty-minded conservative, I prefer limited government wherever possible, and where it’s not possible, I prefer an efficient, outcome based, results-oriented government…

There are several key points that must be made about this exchange:

1) Jack Tomczak is absolutely right that we are never going to get to the ideal of eliminating government involvement in pre-K if new programs are funded even in the name of accountability and results.

2) Even though a large amount of money is spent on Head Start, it is “not outside of our control.” The way to rein that in is by first eliminating the $40 million per biennium that the state of Minnesota spends on Head Start over and above what the feds send to this state instead of holding this very ineffective program harmless in state budget after state budget.  Secondly, we could support the move of the US House Republicans to  decrease funding for Head Start as they did in HR 1 by $1 billion before their leadership caved and gave the administration $340 million more in spending for FY 2011.  Members of Congress have even gone so far as recommending  elimination of this program that has not been shown to be effective in over 600 studies, the latest released in 2010 and also found to be fraudulent.

3) With all due respect to Rep. Petersen and his sincere belief that he is a limited government conservative, the attitude of thinking it is all right to expand government early childhood programs in this time of unprecedented fiscal crisis and intolerable usurpation of various freedoms including the raising and education of yo

Unfortunately, not all of the proponents of the nanny state expansion of government control over child care and preschool reside in the liberal media, the big business left or the Democrat party.  Some are in the Republican Party.  One of them, Rep. Branden Petersen (R-Andover) was one of the seven House Republicans out of 67 that voted to keep the Quality Rating System/Early Childhood Voucher bill in the House education finance bill.  He tried to defend that position during an interview with Jack Tomczak on the Late Debate on June 22nd in response to an interview that I did on that show on education on the 20th.  Rep. Petersen continued to use all of the same arguments of the nanny state crowd that I have refuted multiple times in this space, on Education Liverty Watch, in testimony and in media idebates – “the program is voluntary,” “it will provide accountability,” etc. Although there is much that needs to be refuted again in what he said and despite the fact that he called himself “limited government conservative,”  this particular exchange will clearly illustrate the rift between true small government, constitutional conservatives and the “compassionate” big government establishment being played out at all levels of the Republican party all the way to the GOP presidential nomination:

Starting at 23:37

Rep. Branden Petersen (BP):  “…and Ed Liberty Watch and some members of our caucus [92% of them] were able to successfully eliminate essentially that provision out of the finance bill. And I think it was well intentioned from a limited government standpoint. You know, even I generally agree with the fact that ideally government shouldn’t be involved in early childhood.

Host Jack Tomczak (JT):  “Sure…but we’re not going to get to the ideal by funding it…

BP: “Right.”

JT: “…by having the state fund pre-K, we’re never going to get to that ideal of the government not being involved.”

BP: “Right”

JT: “Here forever?”

BP: “Well I think I don’t want to give up entirely, but what I would say is that with the federal involvement in Head Start, it’s something outside of our control.”

JT: “Sure”

BP:  And that we’re spending a large amount of money on it. And I think if we are going to do that, as a limited government conservative, liberty-minded conservative, I prefer limited government wherever possible, and where it’s not possible, I prefer an efficient, outcome based, results-oriented government…

There are several key points that must be made about this exchange:

1) Jack Tomczak is absolutely right that we are never going to get to the ideal of eliminating government involvement in pre-K if new programs are funded even in the name of accountability and results.

2) Even though a large amount of money is spent on Head Start, it is “not outside of our control.” The way to rein that in is by first eliminating the $40 million per biennium that the state of Minnesota spends on Head Start over and above what the feds send to this state instead of holding this very ineffective program harmless in state budget after state budget.  Secondly, we could support the move of the US House Republicans to  decrease funding for Head Start as they did in HR 1 by $1 billion before their leadership caved and gave the administration $340 million more in spending for FY 2011.  Members of Congress have even gone so far as recommending  elimination of this program that has not been shown to be effective in over 600 sudies, the latest released in 2010 and also found to be fraudulent.

3) With all due respect to Rep. Petersen and his sincere belief that he is a limited government conservative, the attitude of thinking it is all right to expand government early childhood programs in this time of unprecedented fiscal crisis and intolerable usurpation of various freedoms including the raising and education of youg children merely to obtain “results” and “efficiency” is extremely worrisome.  Minnesota and the nation are edging ever closer to the brink of disaster on numerous fronts. If the size, scope, and cost of government cannot be trimmed now, when can it? Is what we need at this point in our hisotry leaders who will provide government that will be “efficient” in in controlling private childcare businesses and expanding government approved curricula for three year olds?  Or do we need more leaders who believed and acted as Samuel Adams did when he said:

“If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsel or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands of those who feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you. May posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”

The ash heap of history is littered with leaders that provided or succombed to efficient government that trampled liberty becaue they either wanted power or because they thought things were “outside of their control.” On the other hand, people like Adams helped found the freest, most generous, most prosperous nation in the history of the world.  Which type of leaders will we choose?

ug children merely to obtain “results” and “efficiency” is extremely worrisome.  Minnesota and the nation are edging ever closer to the brink of disaster on numerous fronts. If the size, scope, and cost of government cannot be trimmed now, when can it? Is what we need at this point in our history leaders who will provide government that will be “efficient” in in controlling private childcare businesses and expanding government approved curricula for three year olds?  Or do we need more leaders who believed and acted as Samuel Adams did when he said:

“If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsel or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands of those who feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you. May posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”

The ash heap of history is littered with leaders that provided or succumbed to efficient government that trampled liberty because they either wanted power or because they thought things were “outside of their control.” On the other hand, people like Adams helped found the freest, most generous, most prosperous nation in the history of the world.  Which type of leaders will we choose?

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  • […] Dr. Effrem rebuts Rep. Branden Petersen’s more moderate (liberal) views on early childhood in a post on True North titled Do We Want Liberty  or “”Efficient Government” (also archived in EdLibertyWatch.org here). […]

  • […] At a hearing of the House Education Finance Committee on January 26th, Chairman Pat Garofalo (R-Farmington), even though a great proponent of the QRS, expressed severe displeasure at the administration’s lawless behavior actually saying that he and other supporters like QRS bill author Rep. Jennifer Loon (R-Edina) had “been rolled” or cheated by the DOE. Rep. Garofalo was also highly displeased that the DOE showed not the slightest intention of working collaboratively on an implementation plan, but was there merely to report what they were going to do whether the legislature liked it or not. The concern over lack of statutory authority was also properly mentioned by another QRS proponent, Rep. Brandon Petersen (R-Andover), who is now running for the state senate, and who believes that the QRS is part of providing “efficient” government. […]

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