Political Ideoloy Test

This is a 20 question test to see where you stand ideologically. Considering that questions include something like this:

"Some poeple feel that the government in Washington should make every effort to improve the social and economic position of blacks....Others feel that the government should not make any special effort to halep blacks because they should help themselves. What do you feel?"

I am taking this results in stride. HOwever, I did score smackdab between the libertarian and conservative position, and I am about a quarter away from the freedom scale.

Take the test yourself to kill some time http://idealog.org/idealog.asp?ClassID=

Effects of Productivity on the economy

Productivity has become the new boogeyman by which the media has it's seizures. The usual argument runs something like this:

Productivity increases mean that workers are producing more goods than they previousely were. Since the same amount of goods can be produced by fewer workers, this will lead to less people being hired and to increased unemployment. THis is why (insert Bush bashing comment here) is a neo-nazi who is destroying (insert said industry here).

This formulation is, however, bunk.

First, if a firm is becoming more profitable, it will not sit on the extra money it is earning (which the above formulation assumes as fact). It will re-invest the money, expand, and create new jobs. Call it creative destruction or whatever (we economists come up with really good names for things, don't we?), but the fact is that in 1900 half the population was farmers. Today 2% are but we produce a vast more amount of food. What happened to these workers? Because we have a dynamic, open economy they were shifted into other industries that paid more.

Don't believe me? Take a look at this statement from a recent study by the Dallas branch of the Federal Reserve:

The United States will continue to move up the hierarchy of human talents as it becomes more productive. Fewer jobs at relatively lower pay will be available for those who offer employers only muscle power, manual dexterity or formulaic intelligence. Americans who want to prepare for the better jobs of the future will concentrate on developing their creativity, imagination, people skills and emotional intelligence.

Arnold Kling notes that the study shows that the largest increases in jobs occured in nursing, engineering, and design. Declines occured in secretarial work, sewing machine operations, and farm workers.

Motto of the story: the United States economy is demanding strong analytical thinkers who can apply their tools towards developing the economy. Perhaps we should outsource the journalists and make them take some math and business classes.


Declaration of Independence

I'm Bored, so I am going to try do something original: explain the declaration of indepedence and show two things
1) The founders transcend Locke
2) That they, at the very least, are aware of the necessity of classical virtue

The paragraph in question reads:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes"

The declaration is claiming that there are 4 self-evident truths accessible to reasonable men

1) All Men are Created Equal
2) Because all men are created equal, we possess certain rights: namely life liberty and pursuit of happiness
3) That in order to secure these rights, governments are instituted to protect them
4) The people retain the "right of revolution" (based on prudence) to alter or abolish a government that becomes destructive of these ends

On first glance, this seems like a standard restatement of John Locke's second treatise. In fact, you could probably use the declaration to explain Locke's philosophy better than you could by actually reading Locke (Locke is a fairly dry writer, and I am being kind in saying that)

However, I do think (and I am going to ignore any debates on whether or not Locke was a closet Hobbesian as it is irrelevant to my points) that the founders were using these Lockean principles in a fairly classical way.

Here is why

1) Locke claimed that men by nature have the right to life, liberty, and property. Jefferson, who authored the declaration, changed the word property to happiness and claimed all people have the right to pursue it. I think it is because the founders were convinced that man pursued happiness and not just simply material gain. Washington said in his first inanugural )hat "there is no truth better established than the truth that virtue and happiness go hand in hand" (I am paraphrasing). Thus, the United State's founding document asserted that governments exist to secure the "pursuit of happiness" which includes the pursuit of virtue (since virtue is necessary to the happy life).

2) But someone like an Aristotle would claim that government exists for happiness, not simply to pursue it. True, the Declaration is lowering the aims of political life, but not nearly as much as someone who is a closet Hobbesian would like. In the readings I am doing for my Publius fellowship, I came across this interesting interpreation of the declaration. Namely, the reading asserted the second reformulation of the doctrine, the rights of people become the ends. "Whenever Governemnt becomes destructive of these ends." Therefore, the end of humanity is the pursuit of happiness. It is not simply a weak "right" that can be ignored.

3) I think the founders recognized the value of prudence. It is the job of the people and the government to pursue happiness (which includes virtue). But the founders realized that you can't force people to be virtuous. You can teach them it, encourage it, and incentivise it, but you cannot force it. Thus, to grant government the power to make people virtuous (especially in today's age) can only lead to totalitarianism. Just look at the Islamic States.

4) Besides, with the dawning of Christianity some sort of reformulation of political life needed to happen. If we are to assert that there is a universal principle to which we owe our primary allegiance, then government cannot be the ultimate end of our existence. So there has to be some sort of limitation on the political life because human's trascend the here and now, namely they owe their primary allegiance to God, second allegiance to the city.

These are just my thoughts. I am not political philosopher, but I think I am close to being correct here.


Why are we in Iraq?

"Look, there is a cease-fire between the United States and Iraq. Iraq is violating that cease-fire every hour of every day, and has never complied." Under international law, when one party is breaking a cease-fire, the way you deal with that is to say the cease-fire is over. We might have ended up with a less complex relationship with some of our allies if we had done it that way."
Walter Russell Mead

The anti-war activists, being duplicitous as usual, are criticizing one argument and using it to discredit another argument. In other words, they are using Bush's post war failures in order to discredit the pre-war reasons for going into Iraq. Not to fast.

Mead has the primary reason we went into Iraq: Iraq was violating a cease fire. Our policy before 9/11 was to contain Saddam with a mixture of sanctions, no fly zones, and pin pointed strikes. The benefit of this, as post war inspections have found out, is that it looks like Saddam was prevented from reconstituting his stockpiles of WMD.

The cost of this containment policy was the following
1) We had to keep troops in Saudi Arabia solely to protect that country from attack. This outraged Muslims in the Middle East breeding Al-Queda (9/11 connection established
2) We starved Iraq into massive poverty.
3) This containment did not stop terrorists from flooding into Iraq. As David Kay, the chief weapons inspector said, "Iraq was attracting terrorists like honey attracts flies" (This is not something any sitting President can allow to happen. You cannot allow a defiant Saddam Hussein, who refuses to cooperate with weapons inspectors to remain in power, while also allowing terrorists to flood his country. As Kay said, the situation was deteriorating)

Perhaps prior to 9/11 this was the best we could do

However, post 9/11 war was inevitable. You cannot assert, as Bush did, that you will make no distinction between terrorists and terrorist supporting states, and try to credibly prevent WMD from getting into the hands of the terrorists, and leave Saddam in power. The world perceived Iraq as violating our sanctions and with us not responding. Thus, we had to remove him to put some teeth into our policy. It had to be done, get over it.

Has Bush made mistakes? Yes. He should have sold the war as a violation of a cease-fire agreement instead of harping on the WMD. Secondly, he should have coordinated a better plan for a post war Iraq. But this does not destroy the underlying reasons for the Iraq war. They have and will remain correct. What the Bush critics should be doing, but are not, is to come up with a solution to WINNING this war.

But then again, when have the democrats come up with anything worth listening to in the past 3 years??


Hamilton and Christianity

I agree with those who assert that the Hobbesian state of nature is nihilistic and a degradation of man. I also agree with the philosopher Leo Strauss that John Locke's reinterpretation of the state of nature also suffers from the same fate. However, I do not believe the American founders (at least most of them) interpreted the state of nature in this manner.

Here is an excellent passage from Alexander Hamilton (The Farmer Refuted, 1775)

"Man, in the state of nature (you say) may be considered, as perfectly free from all restraints of law and government, and, then, the weak must submit to the strong.

THere is so strong a similitude between your political principles and those maintained by Mr. Hobbes, that, in judging from them, a person might very easily mistake you for a disciple of his...Moral obligation, according to him, is derived from the intrduction of civil society; and there is no virtue, but what is purely articifial, the mere contrivance of politicians. But the reason he ran into this absurd and impious doctrine was, that he disbelieved the existence of an intelligent superintending principle, who is governor, and will be the final judge, of the universe...

Good and wise men...have supposed that the deity, from the relations we stand in, to himself and to each other, has constituted an eternal and immutable law, which is indispensibly obligatory upon all mankind, prior to any human institution whatsoever...

"Hence, in a state of nature, no man had any MORAL power to deprive another of his life, limbs, propery, or liberty, nor the least authority to command or exact obedience from him, except that which arose from the ties of consanguinity."


Is a college degree a piece of paper?

To those who think that you can major in any thing in college so long as you major in something might want to take a look at these articles:

1) http://money.cnn.com/2002/04/03/pf/college/q_hotdiploma/

2) http://www.studentsreview.com/salary_by_major.php3

It is clear that what you major in does effect what your salary will be long term. Majors like economics, accounting, and math pay much higher incomes both in the short term and in the long term than do "communications" and other like majors.

Too many people are going college today with no guidance and no thought as to what their long term plans will be. Granted, if your passion is in something like history or "public policy" than by all means pick that as your major. But do not major in that because you have nothing else to do because when you get out of college you will be sitting around begging for a job.

A few upperclass high school students have been coming to me asking me what to do as a major. Well, taking a look at this chart you can find a major that is amenable to what you want to do and pays a decent to good salary. My advice is to not take stupid courses. For your math core, take Calc 1 or a good statistics class and don't waste the class on some stupid 100 level class. The jobs are gravitating towards those who are good with numbers and/or good at analysis.

All of this means that you can't waste time screwing around in high school. High school is considered "college prep," which means they are (supposed) to be teaching you the skills you need to succeed in college. Too many people are entering their first year of college with insufficient math and writing skills and a disposition not to study. The rude awakening often leaves many people in the dust.

What I will never understand is why high school counselors never show these charts or ask their kids to start thinking about these issues. Granted, kids will probably not be making up their minds immediately, but it is good to get them to start THINKING about it.


Money in Politics

Leave it to the media to harp about "money" in politics. Perhaps a little perspective is in order. The media is currently harping that this may be the first presidential election to cross the 1 billion dollar mark (mind you they never adjusted for inflation in any of the other presidential elections, so their statement is basically meaningless...ahhh communications majors).

By comparison, first run wide release movies released domestically last year made 9.186 billion. We spend 9 times the amount of money seeing movies in a movie theatre than we do electing a President of the United States.

Now is this to say that there is no "quid pro quo." No, absolutely not. It should be common knowledge that special interests give money to buy influence with the politicians. Yet none of this outrage over the "amount of money" being spent is going to solve the underlying problem. So long as Washington has the power to influence corporations, unions, and other organizations the way they do, those organizations are going to pay to get their voices heard. Some times they have legitimate reasons for doing so (to prevent a stupid regulations from being passed by some stupid communications major turned stupid politician). Other times they are rent-seeking, whereby they are trying to maximize their profits outside of the normal free market system. Part of this can be cured (by a return to federalism and deregulation) and part of it is the cost we have to pay to live in a free market society that has a regulation scheme in place to promote equity. Get over it.

The other "outrage" that is supposedly going on is over the latest ad payed for by "supporters of Bush." In this ad, the announcer compares John Kerry to a "cicada" (those nasty little blind bugs that are about to swarm the east coast). Kerry is like a cicada in that he is annoying and a pain but goes away after a while (God I hope so).

Apparently, this is some disgusting display of trash politics... Oh, put a bug in it will you.

In a democratic process politicians are going to attempt to convey information to the voters, who determine whether they are going to have a job or not. Because advertising is so saturated and people have remotes where they can change the channel whenever they want, ads must be able to catch the eye of the viewer. Thus, cicada's are meant to be funny in order to catch the eye of the viewer.

Why do politicians do this? Well this "gutter politics" system we have in place replaces the bloody cout de e'tats that have taken place in other countries. For instance, in my favorite country France they used to replace kings and ministers by cutting off their heads. We replace politicians by comparing them to cicada's.

Which system do you want? Besides, it is not like the media is above this type of trash either. The media has just gotten done using clipped images of Iraqi prisoner abuse when they have been sitting on the story for 4 months. When you have a picture, you get viewers. When you get viewers you get ratings. When you have high ratings, you get lots of money to buy big gas guzzling SUV's. This process repeats when you do a report on how gas guzzling SUV's are killing the environment. Then you go out and buy more gas guzzling SUV's.

Apparently, the journalists think we can make it back to Eden absent God. Perhaps they should take a theology class and keep their mouths silent until they do.

Oil Prices

Irwin Stetzer is quickly becoming one of my favorite economic writers. In his latest column for the Weekly Standard, he points out the pluses and minuses of this current oil "crisis."

The first thing that he points out is that it is a canard to argue that oil prices are the "highest" they have ever been. That is a lie. Adjusted for inflation, gas prices at the pump would have to rise to $75 dollars a barrell, or $3.50 a gallon at the pump to match the prices this country saw in 1981.

Likewise, it seems that this increase in gas prices has not stopped Americans from buying gas guzzling SUV's or visiting Grandma. People are continuing to buy and travel because the increase in gas prices has been overwhelmed, so far, by strong economic growth....

which does not seem to be letting up anytime soon. For those who worry about inflation, 80% of inflation is influenced by wage growth, with 20% left over for other factors like energy costs. Likewise, economists estimate that this increase in oil prices will shave about .5% of of GDP growth. Oh the horror of growing at 4.5% instead of 5.0%. Somebody better tell John Kerry this.

But, Stetzer points out, there is reason to worry. First, this increase in oil prices may be a plateau as our friends in Saudi Arabia flat out "suck." The oil cartel seems to be holding strong which means. To top this off, oil demand is growing at a rapid pace, with China demanding much more oil than they normally have in the past. Thus we have a double wammmy, a decrease in supply and an increaes in demand. Crap

Yet, he points out, the real worry for the future of oil prices is not from Saudi Arabia, it is from:

That, however, may be the least of our problems. The greater problem, and a potential catastrophe for the world economy, would be an American defeat and withdrawal from Iraq that signals bin Laden and crew that they are free to pursue their goals without fear of an America that is sulking in its tent, as it did after Vietnam.

It seems, then, that is we want to see sustained permanent increases at the pump we need to elect John Kerry as president of the United States.


What this election is about

Don't you love it when stupid people say stupid things.

''I think he has a record of voting for NAFTA; he has a record of voting for a number of things -- and I know that's his record, and in the future he will have a different record, and that is because of the campaign, because of the commitments, and because he feels what's going on in the country."

James Hoffa

We are in the midst of a war where we are fighting a ideological battle against murderous tyrants and Mr. Hoffa is worried about NAFTA. Oh no, the biggest issue facing this country isn't what to do with the radical terrorists who want to kill me and my family, it's about trade with Mexico.

There are two main issues at stake in this election. One is unborn human life (Kerry supports killing it) and the other is the war on terrorism.

This election is not about taxes. It is not about trade and it is not about standards of living. If it were about the latter, then both candidates would put forth proposals to restructure the welfare system to deliver efficient benefits (not handouts) to the poor and NOT the middle class. But neither are doing that.

No, this election is about the future prosectution of the war on terrorism.

Stop ducking the issue.


Where is the Outrage

"On March 19, 2004, President Bush asked, 'Who would prefer that Saddam's torture chambers still be open?

"Shamefully, we now learn that Saddam's torture chambers reopened under new management: U.S. management."
Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass)

(Pardon the upcoming french, lower case deliberate)

What kind of stupid, arrogant, ignorant idiot says something as dumb as what Sen. Kennedy said above. It takes a certain amount of foppish narcissism to get up on the floor of the U.S. Senate and compare the actions of a dozen or so misguided American soldiers to that of the torturers under Saddam Hussein.

A few days ago, a man's head was sawed off (thats right: sawed off with a saw. Not with a sword, not with a guillotine, it was sawed off slowly and painfully with a saw.) While treating this man like a piece of wood, these animals screamed "God is Great" and rejoiced as a man screamed and begged for death. This is the type of evil we are up against. This is the same evil that cut the throat of Richard Pearl. The same evil that incinerated 3000 Americans on 9/11. It is the same nihilism that slaughtered people in two embassies, killed soldiers in the US cole, in Somalia, and elsewhere. Unless we face this evil and defeat it, this country is doomed.

For Senator Kennedy to equate that with the actions of those American soldiers (who for clarities sake, should be court marshalled, thrown out of the military, and thrown in jail) is outrageous. He should be impeached and removed from office fast.

Mort Kondrake put it best when he said:

"Look at those monsters standing there five of them and they cut the guy's head off, they sawed his head off, shouting God is great. Now that is what we are dealing with, that is the kind of people who will run the world if we do not win this war on terrorism. And it is being fought in Iraq and we have got to win and that is it. Full stop. There is just no losing this thing or else the world will be run by monsters."


Good Quote

I was just flipping through some channels and saw
1) A U.S. Citizen's head being sawed off by a bunch of terrorist animals
2) U.S. soldiers abusing prisoners while laughing
3) U.S. soldiers involved in a bloody battle with a terrorist organization
4) The rapper eminem dancing around with a bunch of thongs and panties
5) A T.V. anchorman questioning a religious person's "right to conscious"

When faced with such depressing stories, I think its apt to reflect on the following passage from the Lord of the Rings:

"At first he could see little. He seemed to be in a world of mist in which there were only shadows: the ring was upon him. Then here and there the mist gave way and he saw many visions: small and clear as if they were under his eyes upon the table...Northward he looked, and the Great River lay like a ribbon beneath him, and the misty mountains stood small and hard as broken teeth...

But everywhere he looked he way signs of war. The misty mountains were crawling like anthillsL orcs were issuing out of a thousand holes. Under the boughs of Mirkwood there was deadly strife of elves and men and fell beasts. The land of the Beornings were aflame; a cloud was over Moria; smoke rose on the borders of Lorien.

Horsemen were galloping on the grass of Rohan; wolves poured from Isengard. From the havens of Harad ships of war put out to sea; and out of the east men were moving endlessly: swordsmen, spearmen, bowmen upon horses, chariots of chieftans and laden wains. All the power of the Dark Lord was in motion. Then turning south again he beheld Minas Tirith. Far away it seemed, and beautiful: white-walled, many towered, proud and fair upon its mountain-seat; its battlements glittered with steel.

Hope leaped in his heart. But against Minas Tirith was set another fortress, greater and more strong. Thither, eastward, unwilling his eye was drawn. It passed the ruined bridges of Osgiliath, the grinning gates of Minas Morgul, and the haunted mountains...Darkness lay under the sun. Fire glowed amid the smoke. Mount Doom was burning, and a great reek rising. Then at last he gaze was held: wall upon wall, battlement upon battlement, black, immeasurably strong, mountain of iron, gate of steel, tower of adament, he saw it: Barad-dur, Fortress of Sauron. All hope left him.

And suddenly he felt the eye. There was an eye in the Dark Tower that did not sleep. He knew that it had become aware of his gaze. A fierce eager will was there. It leaped towards him; almost like a finger he felt it, searching for him. Very soon it would nail him down, know just exactly where he was...he threw himself from the seat, crouching, covering his head.

He heard himself crying: Never Never! OR was it: Verily Verily I come to you? He could not tell. Then a flash from some other point of power there came to his mind another thought: Take it off! Take it off! Fool, take it off! Take off the Ring!

The two powers strove in him. For a moment, perfectly balanced between their piercing points, he writhed, tormented. Suddenly he was aware of himself again. Frodo, neither the Voice nor the Eye: free to choose, and with one remaining instant in which to do so. He took the Ring off his finger."


Economic advice

Fix the budget problems.

There are two schools of thought on the sustainability of growth in the U.S. No one doubts that the U.S is growing at 5% with about 250-300 thousand jobs added a month for now. Tax cuts, low interest rates, and budget deficits have all stimulated the economy. The question is whether or not this growth is sustainable.

Critics point to the fact that tax rebates are coming to an end, oil prices are on the rise, the trade deficit is unsustainable, and the budget deficit is going to be out of control once the baby boomers start collecting on pensions and benefits we never bothered to pay for. Ill grant them the last one, but I am not too much worried about the rest.

With regards to the tax cuts, they may be coming to an end, but corporate profits are at very high levels that they should remain even when the tax rebates end. Critics point out that consumers now have mortages and are in debt. Granted, but most were renting apartments before investing a new home. Now that they are homeowners, their bills are going to pay an assett and not just a temporary living facility.

As Greenspan said, history tells us that the trade deficit will correct itself (probably with a depreciation of the dollar) without much movement in the economy. (A depreciation of the dollar makes our exports cheaper, which will close the trade deficit). The problem most people worry about is that a depreciation of the dollar also puts inflationary pressure on the economy (through intermediate inputs, etc.). I'm with Greenspan, a combination of high productivity and upcoming but moderate contractionary monetary policy will keep inflation relatively stable.

What worries me is this budget deficit. No politicians, republican or democrat, are interested in closing this budget deficit. Now that the economy is close to or back at full employment, a budget deficit that is getting close to 5% of GDP is a hinderance to the economy. Consider the following equation for investment

I = S + (T-G) - (NX)

In english, this means that investment is equal to savings plus government savings - net exports. Currently, the hit investment is taking from the budget deficit is being offset by the trade deficit (NX = net exports). Since we are currently running a trade deficit, the double negative cancels out.

Yet the trade deficit will (OR SHOULD) close based on economic theory. As of now, foreign investors are invested heavily in the U.S economy. Eventually, as Greenspan notes, these investors are going to want to diversify their portfolios, which means they will leave depreciating the dollar. This depreciation will close the trade deficit.

All this means that the budget deficit is going to soon becoming a hinderance on investment, and hence long term growth. Our budget deficit is not cyclical, it is structural. Therefore, in order to close it the government is going to have to get down and dirty and start making some decisions.

My recommendations are
1) Forget anymore tax cuts. There is no need for them at the moment
2) Start getting tight with the fiscal purse. Discretionary spending must come under control. Our military needs come first which means that this is going to be tough

but the biggest one is
3) STOP PROMISING PENSIONS AND GOODIES TO SENIORS WHEN YOU CAN'T AFFORD THEM! There is absolutely no way we can pay for this prescription drug benefit. Medicare already has 37 trillion dollars in unfunded mandates (which means we promised goodies without earmarking money for it). Social security has another 7 trillion in unfunded liabilities. This two federal pension plans must be brought under control.

If this happens, the U.S. will be in good shape for sustainable long term growth. Lets see if the politicians have the guts to make it happen.


Translating the last fed statement

"The Committee perceives the upside and downside risks to the attainment of sustainable growth for the next few quarters are roughly equal. Similarly, the risks to the goal of price stability have moved into balance. At this juncture, with inflation low and resource use slack, the Committee believes that policy accommodation can be removed at a pace that is likely to be measured."

Translation: Rates are going to come up, but they are going to come up slowly.

Sounds good to this economist.

Economic duplicity

things are annoying me today that need answering

1) John Kerry's misery index-I am not going to tear down Kerry's data mining statistical nonsense, many other people have. Rather, I got a good laugh when I read that "college tuition" was included as a variable for Kerry's misery index. Kerry is annoyed that college costs have gone up and that people do not have the financial resources to pay for it...well...lets do some simple math.

Median income of households for high school drop outs: $18,000
Median income of households for High school graduates: $28,700
Median income of households for College graduates: $50,000
Average debt burden of undergraduates (1997): $10,500 Adjusted for Inflation = $12,000

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

The economic cost of going to college is the $12,000 dollars in loans owed after graduation (I am assuming grant money, aid, and family help to pick up the rest of the sunk cost tab) PLUS the opportunity cost of engaging the next best opportunity foregone.

In this case 4 years of high school graduate income $28,700*4=$114,800.

So the economic cost of a college education is a grand total of $126,800
What about the benefit

Well lets take people who go into the workforce with only their undergraduate degree (ignore post graduate degrees like MBA's and PhDs). In this case, people will be earning the benefit of the college degree for the 45 years or so they are in the workforce.

So the college grad earns
$50,000 *45 = $2,250,000

The high school grad earns
$28,700*45 = $1,291,500

So Benefit's wise, the college grad earns an extra $958,000 dollars

Net gain is benefits-costs
The total social gain for the college grad with all the bad things Kerry says is actually happening is.....

Update: THere is more to be said here. When students choose to go to college, the vast majority of them choose to go to a college that provides a decent amount of luxary (good sports program, nice dorms, air conditioned classrooms, etc.) Thus Colleges are spending lots of money on luxary items like a nice gym instead of using the money to reduce tuition. Now colleges exist that provided your simple bair-bones education, but people choose not to go to them. Giving more government funded money to colleges will most likely go towards improving luxary items in order to attract more students than to reducing tuition.

Therefore, there is only one real way to lower the cost of tuition directly for students: provide a tax break (or credit). Now, given the formula above, we must ask whether or not this is actually worth it. For instance, opportunity cost is in play here. The money that would go towards reducing tuition (to ease the burden on students) has alternative and better uses: for instance an anti poverty program.

Jeez, I wonder why Kerry doesn't advocate something like that...could it be that there he is not maximizing his vote potential????