Sunday, July 29, 2007

Hillary Wants Taxpayers to Fund Tuition for Government Bureaucrats

Hillary Clinton wants a tuition-free government academy, along the lines of our military service academies, to educate more government bureaucrats.

This is something that plainly isn't needed, but is a way to grow government and the tax burden on American citizens.

More on this from Betsy's Page. Betsy makes several good points, including that government employees tend to lean Democrat.

I thought one of Betsy's commenters, David Foster, was particularly spot on: "The idea that 'public service' is inherently more noble than other callings needs to be questioned. Is it morally better to write papers on agricultural policy than to actually be a farmer? Is it morally better to be a railroad safety regulator than to run a locomotive and to safely and efficiently deliver the freight? Is it morally better to write 'environmental impact statements' than to be the engineer who develops a more efficient turbine?"

There are valid and valuable reasons for our service academies, but further growing government with a free academy for government bureaucrats? That idea, in and of itself, provides a great peek into the mind of Hillary Clinton.

Just say no...

Monday Update: Jim Geraghty at NRO points out several reasons the academy is unnecessary.

He also points out that even if the academy turned out 5,000 graduates a year, they would fill only 1.5% of federal jobs each year. (Hat tip: Betsy's Page.)

The comments at Betsy's original post are of interest as well, as some commenters respond to U.S. Public Service Academy co-founder Chris Asch, who has also commented in the thread here.


Blogger Dana said...

From their site:

"What kinds of jobs would Academy graduates do during their five-year service requirement?
Academy graduates will spend five years serving their nation by working as teachers, park rangers, police officers, border agents, and other critical public service jobs at the local, state, national and even international levels."

My town's local jc & state college provide degrees and certficates in all of these mentioned (aside from border agents which the CBP have their own training academies). Why have an academy doing the same thing and at taxpayer's cost?

9:59 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

"Why have an academy doing the same thing and at taxpayer's cost?"

Exactly. It's entirely possible to enter these professions after attending a JC or state university at a very reasonable cost. And while police officers, etc., are needed and make valuable contributions to society, as the person I quoted mentioned there is nothing inherently more special about these professions that should cause taxpayers to fund their educations, leaving the rest of us to fend for ourselves to pay for our educations. (And I'd add, in many cases taxpayers *do* foot the bill by helping to subsidize continuing education and higher degrees for people in these professions, as it is...)

Best wishes,

10:07 PM  
Blogger Chris Myers Asch said...


While I appreciate the publicity that you have brought to the U.S. Public Service Academy, I must disagree with your assessment of the idea. I understand that you may not trust Sen. Clinton and thus you are concerned about the Academy idea, but I urge you to keep an open mind about it until you can learn more.

There is a movement to build the Academy that extends far beyond Sen. Clinton or her campaign. Sen. Clinton has co-sponsored the Senate legislation, but we have bipartisan support -- folks like Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and Rep. Tom Davis, as well as many military leaders (including the last three superintendents of West Point) are also behind the bill. They certainly are not interested in building a school to perpetuate government bureaucracy, and neither are we.

This is not a Democratic idea, nor is it a Republican idea. It is an American idea. It promises to revitalize our public sector by developing stronger leadership. Bashing government, mocking public servants, and "starving the beast" have failed to stanch the growth of government in the past generation, and they certainly have not improved government services. Surely we should try something new, something that promises to change government by changing the level of expectation and the culture of its leadership.

Why should this idea appeal to conservatives? For a number of reasons:
1) The Academy will make government better, not bigger.

2) The Academy will focus on character, leadership development, and patriotic service.

3) The Academy will challenge American higher education to do more to encourage a sense of duty and civic obligation.

Ironically, our strongest opposition to date generally has come from liberals in higher education who think they already do a fine job of preparing our public leaders. Perhaps you agree with them. We think America deserves better.

I encourage you and your readers to find out more about the movement to build the Public Service Academy by visiting:

Chris Myers Asch

12:01 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Hi Chris, I appreciate your politely worded dissent, but we will simply have to agree to disagree. I don't believe that American taxpayers need to fund an academy which "promises to revitalize our public sector by developing stronger leadership" and "promises to change government by changing the level of expectation and the culture of its leadership."

If this is an idea worth pursuing, surely it's worth pursuing in the private sector, without the expectation of American citizens, who are already overburdened by taxes, footing the bill, in hope that these promises come true.

Why not start a private college aiming to put people into government to accomplish the revolutionary goals you have set forth? Or start a particular program at a given college? That would be a much more "revitalizing" idea than once more going to the taxpayer trough to pay for yet another program, in this case a free college education. (You don't answer why those who would engage in public service are more deserving of a free college education than those who work in the private sector...) Such a private program would show that those behind it truly wish to change and shrink government by reducing the burden on taxpayers.

Thank you for providing the link for those who wish to learn more, and for sharing your thoughts.

Best wishes,

12:27 PM  
Blogger David Foster said...


I would still like to get a response to my question about specifically what kinds of jobs you would like this academy to train people for, and how this would relate to existing university and federal agency training. A few specificics:

1)Would the academy provide a full science program for those who are interested in working at NIH, CDC, NBS, etc?
2)Would the academy incorporate the FAA academy, the FBI academy, and/or the Coast Guard academy?
3)To what extent do you believe that management and leadership skills are teachable?..and, to the extent that they are, would there be substantial differences in the teaching of them at the academy than in a typical university business program?

regards / Dave F

1:56 PM  
Blogger Pauld said...

Chris said:
"1) The Academy will make government better, not bigger.

2) The Academy will focus on character, leadership development, and patriotic service.

3) The Academy will challenge American higher education to do more to encourage a sense of duty and civic obligation."

The idea of a civil service academy might be worthwhile if it would successfully accomplish these goals. What I don't understand is why a civil service academy would be more successful in acheiving these goals than existing Universities.

12:21 PM  

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