NY Times Columnist: Don't Judge Social-Program Spending By Cost Or Results
Not an Onion article. I solemnly affirm to Scrappleface: New York Times columnist Judith Warner doesn't want social programs to be judged by how much they cost or whether they work.
Disclaimer notwithstanding, I bet you're still dubious. "Come on, Finkelstein - that can't be right. As liberal as the New York Times might be, there's no way one of its regular columnists would come right out and say that."
The particular government programs that Warner - the Times's family-issues maven - discusses in The Real Value of Public Preschool [subscription] are what she describes as "free" pre-school for three- and four-year olds. And here's what she says:
"I am finding the rhetoric in the debate over universal preschool disheartening. It’s all the usual stuff about cost-benefit and outcomes."
All that cost-benefit and outcomes stuff. Disheartening. Yeah, tell me about it.
So how should spending be judged? Writes Warner: "The argument I would rather hear is: universal preschool is good for today’s families right now." If it feels good, spend it!
Making Warner's devil-may-care attitude even more stunning is her blithe admission that the preschool programs might not work:
"Unlike many proponents of universal preschool, I am not sure that early academic instruction is all it’s cracked up to be." Warner advocates the programs not for their educational value but as "some form of childcare" - on the taxpayers' dime, of course.
Warner is similarly insouciant when he comes to the prospect of have-nots subsidizing the haves:
"Critics charge that addressing this situation with good public preschool for all amounts to subsidizing the middle and even the upper-middle class.
"Well, what if it does?"
The programs that Warner would create? Untold billions. A Times columnist laying bare the liberal mindset on government spending on social programs? Invaluable. Gotcha - didn't say "priceless."
Contact Mark at firstname.lastname@example.org