Ep. 63 On Education, We Catch Krugman Telling the Exact Opposite of the Truth

3 December 2016     |     Tom Woods     |     28

In Krugman’s column on cronyism and profiteering, Bob and Tom pay particular attention to the section on education, where Krugman discusses school vouchers and “privatization.” Wait till you hear how Krugman summarizes the results of these policies….

Krugman Column

Why Corruption Matters” (November 28, 2016)

Contra Column

Does school choice have a positive effect on participating students’ academic performance?

Related Article

Hillary’s Wall Street Speech Fees: Hers Or Clinton Foundation’s?,” by Robert W. Wood

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  • Nonlinear Sandwich

    I told you: Libertarian Fry & Laurie. Your name, Madam?

  • Dagny

    I like how Tom misses Bob’s joke at the end when Bob combines the lexicon of Krugman in the episode and the banter about another Contra-cruise. “It’s ‘basically’ not going to happen.”

  • Jim Bob 1028


    You’re hittin’ on all eight cylinders on this one.

  • RobertRoddis

    Welcome to duh-VOSS Performance Hall.


    It’s a Michigan thing.

  • RobertRoddis

    Richard DeVos and his wife Betsy became co-chairs of the Education Freedom Fund in 1993. The Fund provides private scholarships to low-income families in Michigan with wishes to attend schools of their choice. When the Children’s Scholarship Fund provided $7.5 million to the Education Freedom Fund, the DeVos matched the grant, and their foundation covers all of the administrative costs of the organization.

    In 2000, DeVos was the co-chairman of the “Kids First! Yes!” campaign committee, which sponsored a ballot-initiative that would have amended the Michigan constitution to allow vouchers and tuition tax credits for private K-12 education. The initiative lost, with 69% of voters opposing the measure.

    The Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation has also given money to groups like the American Education Reform Council, Choices for Children, and Children First America, in addition to funding Christian schools in the West Michigan area.


    On June 2, 2005, at Mackinac Island, DeVos announced his candidacy for governor of Michigan. He is still considered to be the wealthiest man to run for statewide office in Michigan’s history. As of October 27, 2006, the DeVos campaign had spent $39 million, of which nearly $35 million was DeVos’ own money. [What an inarticulate, cringe-inducing campaign].

    While running for governor

    HE ALSO CALLED FOR AN INCREASE IN “FUNDING FOR SECONDARY AND HIGHER EDUCATION,” for a streamlined health-care system “that utilizes technology to reduce hospital errors by making medical records more efficient,” and for “ strong anti-crime measures, specifically against child predators.


  • https://www.facebook.com/david.rogers.hunt David_Rogers_Hunt

    Great episode as always. I loved how you guys burn Krugman for siting the one study that showed a low performance for charter schools, as though this was representative of charter schools in general, while ignoring all the sitings where charter schools were performing very well.

    Ultimately, I believe we need separation of education and state, for even more emphatic reasons than we need separation of church and state. If we don’t want the government involved in teaching about supernaturalism,… why does it follow that’s it’s okay to teach about naturalism?

    The distinction is that society, at large, gets to enjoy large externalities by having a generally well educated population. Giving vouchers for cars gives benefits primarily to whomever is driving the car and hardly any to anyone else. Giving vouchers for education gives benefits to the child being educated, and the community within which the child lives.

    Tax credits for education would be close to idea,.. but what about the children whose parents are too poor to be paying taxes?

    The fact that inner city parents overwhelmingly want vouchers for their children’s education while simultaneously voting for democrats who support the teachers’ unions over the interest of the children,… this just tells me urban populations have no idea of how to act in their own self interest.


  • lambchowder

    Puffy, pouty, balding libertarians. The more your society has of these and the more (dogwhistle) economic liberty you have, the worse your social mobility and the more intractable your upper classes become. They’re the Lamisil foot monsters of western society.

    • http://www.TomWoods.com Tom Woods

      So you enjoyed the episode?

    • dooglio

      He has nothing at all to add to the conversation, just one fluffy paragraph full of ad hominem and unbacked, empty assertions.

      • Tyler Hasty

        To be fair this is an upper-end Progressive argument he’s putting forth.

        • dooglio

          Argument? What argument?

          • Tyler Hasty

            Their premise is their conclusion: “Liberty is stupid”.

    • http://www.economicmanblog.com Roger Barris

      Note the “dogwhistle” comment. The libertarians who support school choice are “dogwhistling” racists because the public school system is working so well for minority students! It’s obvious.

  • https://www.facebook.com/david.rogers.hunt David_Rogers_Hunt

    Separation of education and state is just as fundamental as that of church and state. If all educational establishments enjoyed the same privileges and immunities we routinely extend to religion,… there would be problem here at all. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c2fc9a3cd32fb3e6ecd3b75a95f7f797a456a79a27dd46cd118282508a7ca97a.jpg

  • Eileen

    We wouldn’t have such a brainwashed electorate if we actually had true school choice without vouchers.

  • Austen Hoogen

    So who’s gonna write the Krugman Chrome Browser plugin that highlights and filters his articles and turns “basically”s into “i’m just making this up”s?

  • bluuplanet

    Tom, I hate to complain, but…
    Your criticism’s of Krugman always leave me using half my brain deciphering who’s position is who’s. When you voice Krugman’s position, you get so first-person, I have to wait for contextual clues about whether you’re voicing your position or Krugman’s . Then I’m constantly reconstructing the argument mentally to iron out the bumps.

    • Dr. Weezil




      • bluuplanet

        Thank you.

  • http://www.economicmanblog.com Roger Barris

    1. My favorite Hillary Clinton speaking fee was the $225,000 she took from UNLV, a public university, to give a 30-minute graduation speech (http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/06/hillary-clintons-225k-unlv-speech-fee-sparks-uproar/). I am sure she covered the horrors of inequality and expensive university education in the speech. (BTW, her speaking fees are not the end of the story. She (and Bill) always insist on expense coverage too, usually involving private planes.)

    2. Great shout out about Randi Weingarten. This is one of the most evil people around. I created a category of “Obscure Public Enemies” and she was the first winner: http://www.economicmanblog.com/2016/07/03/obscure-public-enemies/. Pure evil. Like a character out of an Ayn Rand novel.

    3. One of the things to point out about vouchers/charters is that, in addition to the test results, they receive very high satisfaction scores from the parents of the students (in part because of the greater discipline and supervision). This is a point that Tyler Cowen makes: http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2016/12/new-school-choice-debate-child-just-test-score.html. Since Krugman always defends Obamacare by citing the high satisfaction of its participants, it is complete hypocrisy to ignore the high satisfaction of voucher/charter school participants.

    4. Kudos to Bob for the “I’m just getting warmed up…” reference to the Colonel Slade speech at the end of Scent of a Woman. Great scene, along with the tango scene.

  • Dan Wolfe

    They always used to make the argument that vouchers would take away from the school’s budget; basically take money away from the school. Well… only a moron could not see through this… Hello, Mr. Government School Authority… we’re also taking the student away, so you don’t have to spend that money on him/her. The argument doesn’t have merit.

    • Tyler Hasty

      The problem is, you assume the money is being spent on improving individual student outcomes rather than teacher-union political lobbying.

  • http://tklist.us TKList

    Good show. Great passion Tom.

  • http://tklist.us TKList

    The point is how do we go from where we are to where we should be? What is the best game plan that can be politically achieved? School vouchers are a Band-Aid, but even a Band-Aid is better than an open wound.

  • Patrick Szarnicki

    I think her saying “where’s the evidence I changed my vote” plays to the fact that most people can’t read between the lines, aka interpret the effects of a given policy in advance.

    She won’t change her vote, or even her stance. What she will do is accept money today, and vote however they want her to tomorrow. There needs to be no exchange of words to display intent. the intent is implied in the effects of the policy to be voted on. This is what the standard economics ignoramus needs to have explained.

  • Martin Jones

    I almost never disagree with Dr. Tom, but what’s the difference between a voucher and a tax credit? Obviously with a voucher there is stings attached, but there’s ALWAYS stings attached to tax write offs. Yea, with taxes I get to keep my money, but if I have to do something to keep my money, was it really mine to do as I wish?

    • bilejones

      Strings is plural.

  • Martin Jones

    Oh, and another point: Why do people like me who’ll probably never have kids have to pay school taxes? According to my liberal high school social studies teacher, we all pay school taxes because every American can vote, and we don’t want uneducated people voting. That sounded good at the time when I was a young skull full of mush. But when I realized government school is nothing more than propaganda, of course they’d love to brainwash as many young skulls full of mush as they can to love and vote for more government.