All posts by Stephen Strosko

What DeVos can do to calm her critics

Early in his campaign, Donald Trump pledged, “As president, I will establish the national goal of providing school choice to every American child living in poverty. If we can put a man on the moon, dig out the Panama Canal, and win two world wars, then I have no doubt that we as a nation can provide school choice to every disadvantaged child in America.”

Now that Betsy DeVos is confirmed, America could be closer to achieving this goal, but the path will not be easy due to strong partisan opinions in both the House and the Senate.  Already pegged as the “most polarizing education secretary ever,” it is clear that DeVos has a tough job ahead of her.

In order to lead America’s education policy and quell the legitimate concerns raised by her opponents, DeVos should explain to worried Americans that school choice can still include an effective public school system.  Further, DeVos should repeal federal regulations that disincentivize states from adopting personalized education programs that could benefit their students.

While some criticism of DeVos has been political theatre, a few of DeVos’s colleagues have legitimate worries about her policies.  Two of them, Republicans Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine, even broke rank to make the confirmation vote close.  DeVos is a strong advocate of school choice policies and the reallocation of public school funds to voucher programs and private schools, which can be a scary prospect for senators from rural areas like Alaska and Maine.

Continue reading at American Thinker.

Committee senators failed to address key questions at DeVos hearing

American students continue to trail behind students from other industrial countries in educational achievement.  In the most recent Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) report, American students ranked 25 out of the 72 countries that participated in the study.  This report comes after an equally appalling Pew Research study revealed that American students are floating in the middle of the pack.  Betsy DeVos’s  confirmation hearing for Secretary of Education in front of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions on Tuesday was, therefore, an opportunity for Americans to learn more about the country’s trajectory in the next four years.

The committee hearing was not policy-focused and ended up being mainly a partisan debate.  Thus, it is important to discuss some pressing issues that were not clarified during the committee hearing as well as one specific issue that was hidden beneath the partisan quagmire.

Continue reading at American Thinker.

The Comparative Advantage of the U.S. Economy

Recently, there has been a large amount of media attention focused on Donald Trump’s hatred of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).  This animosity has also been targeted at CEO Mark Fields’ to move parts of Ford’s manufacturing to Mexico. Sadly, logic and fact have taken a backseat in both of these discussions. Clichés from Trump dominate the media scene, including a recent quote highlighted on CNN, “NAFTA has destroyed our country.” This statement is far from the truth. No matter what clichés Trump or any other political candidate throw at NAFTA, the American people should not be fooled: NAFTA allows the U.S. to succeed in attracting higher-paying jobs, which is currently the country’s comparative advantage on the international market.

Trump’s main argument  is that NAFTA allows for jobs to easily move from the United States to Mexico, thus hurting the U.S. economy. Trump’s proposed solution includes destroying the NAFTA pact and the implementation of a hefty 35% tax on all imported cars.  Not only will Trump’s proposed solution harm the U.S. economy, he also has incorrect premises involving NAFTA. NAFTA encourages some manufacturers to leave the U.S., but this does not necessarily hurt our economy, especially if the U.S. is importing other jobs as well as increasing its consumption and investment through the open trade environment that NAFTA creates. Some honest, hard-working Americans will lose their jobs in the short run, but if a system of free trade is protected, the long-run will produce lower unemployment rates and an increase in the well-being of every consumer.

The law of supply and demand applies to the job market just as strongly as it applies to other economic goods. In the Ford case, the company has a demand for low-paying, unskilled labor, which Mexico can supply with ease. Therefore, it makes sense that Mark Fields would move some of his manufacturing plants to Mexico where Ford can make a larger profit and where workers are willing to work for less. This is one comparative advantage that the working class in Mexico has, the ability to work low-skilled jobs at a cheaper rate. Mexico’s lower cost of living allows for this comparative advantage to exist.

Continue reading at the Liberty Conservative.