Tag Archives: Government-Run

Quebec citizens dissatisfied with expensive government-run daycare

IMFC researcher Andrea Mrozek writes about a new survey in the Montreal Gazette.

Excerpt:

For 16 years, the Quebec government has been providing highly subsidized daycare. Canada-wide and indeed internationally, this $7-a-day system is praised as a leading example and the path to follow.

The question is whether Quebecers actually feel that way.

Our recent poll about Canadians’ daycare desires shows some interesting results in Quebec (imfcanada.org/daycaredesires/Quebec). When asked what Quebecers ideally prefer for children under age 6, a competent caregiver or a parent, 70 per cent of Quebecers say a parent.

In short, a clear majority of Quebecers believe that the best place for children under 6 is with a parent — in spite of having a provincially funded system that gives preference to daycare centres.

A second surprising result also emerged. When given options about how governments should help parents with child care, almost half of Quebecers polled (45 per cent) said money should go directly to parents. This option was placed next to other options like subsidies to childcare centres, child-tax deductions or providing funding exclusively for families in need, among others.

Surprisingly, more Quebecers believed that money should go directly to parents; by way of contrast, 25 per cent of Canadians outside Quebec said governments should provide cash payments directly to parents.

These poll results leave us with a lot to think about with regard to how governments enact childcare policy. Seven in 10 Quebecers believe the best place for a child under six is with a parent. Yet the government’s public policy on that point does not remotely reflect this desire.

In fact, when the government introduced its policy of subsidized daycare, other family funding and programs were cut. Scholars have shown how other family benefits were cancelled as Quebec ramped up spending on institutional daycare.

Some may think the Quebec program is very popular simply because so many parents use it. That may not be the case. Anytime a government provides a service at lower-than-market costs, it provides an incentive to use that service. The reality is that child care is actually very expensive, regardless of who provides it. When the government provides it, we are all paying for it through increased taxes.

In our poll, we asked simple and somewhat idealistic questions as to where children under 6 are better off. “What is best for children” is not necessarily the same as asking about what is possible for families. The two ought not be confused, of course. There might be many parents who think their presence would be better for their kids, but they simply cannot afford to stay home. Personal circumstances are just that, personal, and they vary from family to family.

Still, there should still be a place for idealism — for a blue-sky view of how we would like things to go. And public policy should assess opportunity costs and unintended consequences. Where public policy is divorced from citizens’ desires, it does taxpayers a disservice. In effect, it means taxpayers are paying for something they would rather not use.

Quebec is the most liberal province in Canada, and it only survives because it receives massive transfers of wealth from the other business-friendly provinces. But that doesn’t stop them from sneering at their enablers, or from passive expensive socialist programs. But they do serve as a lesson to us – government doesn’t do child care better than moms and dads. And we shouldn’t be paying them massive amounts of money them to do things that they don’t do well. The ideology of feminism isn’t more important than the needs of children.

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New study on education quality of universal day care programs

Map of Canada
Map of Canada

This article from the Toronto Sun talks about the government-run day care system in Quebec. (H/T Luis)

Excerpt:

Quebec’s $7-a-day daycare system is failing to improve children’s educational outcomes, an economics professor from Montreal says.

In a new paper, Pierre Lefebvre of the Universite du Quebec a Montreal explains that when the system was created, Quebecers were told “it would promote children’s development so they would perform better in school later.”

“This never happened,” he says.

The researcher studied children under the age of five from Quebec and children of the same age from the rest of Canada and compared their progress at various points between 1994 and 2006. He found Quebec’s family policy did nothing to improve cognitive skills in children.

According to Lefebvre, it’s because the Quebec government program is doing a lousy job.

“There is a serious quality problem. I would go as far as to say that daycare quality is very low, both in terms of educators’ formation and in terms of the quality of interactions between educators and children.”

The program receives taxpayer money from all working people. So working husbands with stay-at-home wives have to pay for a day care system that they will never use.

Here’s a second article from the National Post about Sweden’s government-run universal day care system. (H/T Luis)

Excerpt:

True, parental leave in Sweden is a generous 16 months. There are no babies in daycare. But when parental leave ends, practically the reverse is true: A full 92% of all children aged 18 months to five years are in daycare. Parents pay only a symbolic amount for this; tax subsidies for daycare are $20,000 per child, annually. Swedish taxes are among the highest in the world, and the tax system was designed to make both parents seek employment in the work force.

[…]Then there are the questions about the social toll Sweden’s childcare system is taking. Sweden has offered a comprehensive daycare system since 1975; since the early ‘90s, negative outcomes for children and adolescents are on the rise in areas of health and behaviour. While direct causation has been difficult to prove, many Swedish health-care professionals point to the lack of parent involvement beyond the first 16 months as a primary contributing factor. Psychosomatic disorders and mild psychological problems are escalating among Swedish youth at a faster rate than in any of 11 comparable European countries. Such disorders have tripled among girls over the last 25 years. Education outcomes in Swedish schools have fallen from the top position 30 years ago, to merely average amongst OECD nations today. Behaviour problems in Swedish classrooms are among the worst in Europe.

This isn’t surprising. After a generation of inexperience, Swedish parenting abilities are deteriorating. A study sponsored by the European Union showed many middle-class parents lack the ability to set limits and sense their children’s needs.

Recently, Swedish public service radio investigated the state of Swedish daycares. Parents, psychologists and daycare staff expressed deep concern. In spite of high funding levels, group size and the child-to-adult ratio continue to increase. An experienced pre-school teacher recalls that in 1980 the group size for small children was 10 kids with four adults. For older children, that ratio was five kids per adult. But after the Swedish financial crisis 20 years ago, this changed. Today younger children face ratios of up to 17 kids to three adults and older children face ratios of up to 10 to one. Staff on sick leave are not replaced. “We can’t give quality care today,” one teacher reported. Only one person interviewed contended that Swedish daycare is still top quality — the Swedish Deputy Minister of Education, Nyamko Sabuni.

Again, this program is taxpayer funded. Working husbands with stay-at-home wives will be paying for something that they don’t even use.

I think parents need to consider what happens in other countries to see how good these universal day care programs really are.

OAS report details violence and lost freedoms in communist Venezuela

Story from the Washington Post. (H/T Red State)

Excerpt:

THE ORGANIZATION of American States has failed to respond to the steady deterioration of Latin American democracy during the past few years, even though the defense of democracy is supposed to be one of its primary missions. Now the OAS — and governments throughout the region — have been shamed by one of its own branch organizations. Last week, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights issued a searing and authoritative report on the destruction of Venezuela’s political institutions and the erosion of freedom under President Hugo Chávez.

[…]In meticulous detail, the 300-page report documents how Mr. Chávez’s regime has done away with judicial independence, intimidated or eliminated opposition media, stripped elected opposition leaders of their powers, and used bogus criminal charges to silence human rights groups.

[…]Particularly shocking is the commission’s account of the role that violence and murder have played in Mr. Chávez’s concentration of power. The report documents killings of journalists, opposition protesters and farmers; it says that 173 trade union leaders and members were slain between 1997 and 2009 “in the context of trade union violence, with contract killings being the most common method for attacking union leaders.” The report says that in 2008 Venezuela’s human rights ombudsman recorded 134 complaints of arbitrary killings by security forces, 87 allegations of torture and 33 cases of forced disappearance. It also asserts that radical groups allied with Mr. Chávez “are perpetrating acts of violence with the involvement or acquiescence of state agents.”

There has been no accountability for these acts.

Here’s a picture of two socialists, Barack Obama and Hugo Chavez.

Hey, Chavez! Nice job on that torture!

I wonder why Obama and the people who voted for him oppose waterboarding interrogation of mass-murdering terrorists for national security purposes, but sanction actual torture against innocent civilians by Democrat socialist regimes?

But maybe violence isn’t an essential part of the political left’s plan. Neil Simpson has a nice post up about how the socialists can take over the world without using violence. I wonder if they will take him up on that?

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Chavez marches Venezuela down the road to serfdom at gunpoint

CNN reports that Chavez has devalued the Venezuelan bolivar.

In the wake of his decision to devalue Venezuela’s currency, President Hugo Chavez on Sunday said he would put the military on the streets to ensure that business owners don’t raise prices.

Speaking on his weekly television program, “Alo Presidente,” Chavez railed against merchants who re-price their items in reaction to Friday’s announcement that the Venezuelan bolivar currency, which had been fixed at 2.15 to the U.S. dollar since 2005, was devalued to 4.3 to the dollar. For food and medicine, Chavez announced a second fixed exchange rate for these “necessity” goods at 2.6 bolivares to the dollar.

“I want the national guard in the streets, with the people, to fight speculation,” Chavez said, calling re-pricing a form of robbery.

[…]He encouraged people to publicly denounce businesses where prices increase and threatened to expropriate businesses that do.

The government would transfer ownership of such businesses to the workers, Chavez said.

Yes, attacking and nationalizing businesses with the Venezuelan army will do a lot to create jobs and increase competition among product and service providers. Surely lower prices and increased quality will result from this consumer-friendly policy. And foreign investors will be rushing to Venezuela to invest so they can take 700 million Euro losses in a split second.

Investors Business Daily explains the result of devaluing a currency.

For starters, it’s a tax. “The government has decided to recognize the massive accumulated inflation in the country and is trying to increase the purchasing power of the (dwindling) dollars it has . .. (by selling) dollars to the private sector at a higher price,” explained Hausmann. “In the short run, this is like a tax on the sale of dollars.”

[…]”The poor have no way to protect themselves from devaluation,” said Johns Hopkins University’s Steve Hanke, who has advised previous Venezuelan leaders about currency. “Their only means are awkward and inefficient.”

Meanwhile, the “tax” on dollars “means a transfer of resources out of the private economy to the government’s coffers,” said Hausmann. “As a consequence, the rest of society will have less income.”

Teachers and doctors, already in short supply among the poor, will likely be hard hit, along with small businesses.

Worse, inflation’s likely to surge, another burden for the poor.

Inflation was already on its way to 30% before Friday’s devaluation. Food, which makes up 80% of what the poor buy, has been hit with a 20% immediate increase in price. This effectively lifts inflation for the poor to a devastating 50%.

Costs for other goods, such as car tires, will rise by 100%. A banker in Caracas tells IBD this will push average inflation to 60% — adding to accumulated inflation of 600% over the past decade, a brutal tax on poor Venezuelans.

The very complexity of the new currency scheme will be a nightmare for the poor, says Hanke.

“More regulations will lead to repression,” he said, citing the weakening freedom to spend money. More controls mean shortages.

I think that people who elect communists like Chavez need to be more careful about listening to honeyed words about the benefits of wealth redistribution. When you attack the rich, they stop hiring workers. And if you attack them enough, they leave your country. Communism causes poverty and famine. It always has, and always will. If you want to know where it ends, look at Cuba and North Korea. That’s where Venezuela is headed.

More on this story from Fausta here and here. ECM sent an article about scheduled blackouts here.

Is Obama any different from Chavez on economic policy?

Here they are shaking hands:

Is there such a thing as a secret handshake for communist dictators? Just asking. Not saying that Chavez or Obama are communist dictators. Just wondering if communist dictators have a secret handshake. A communist dictator handshake conducted by communist dictators to congratulate themselves on how well their ignorance of economics “helps” the poor to starve to death.

Here is the currency graph of the US dollar versus the Canadian dollar. A decline of about 20% in 12 months. (The current exchange rate is 1.03301)

How many Canadian dollars is 1 US dollar worth?
January     1.22664 CAD   (21 days average)
February    1.24684 CAD   (20 days average)
March       1.26275 CAD   (22 days average)
April       1.22697 CAD   (21 days average)
May         1.15311 CAD   (21 days average)
June        1.12458 CAD   (22 days average)
July        1.12350 CAD   (23 days average)
August      1.08796 CAD   (21 days average)
September   1.08182 CAD   (22 days average)
October     1.05427 CAD   (22 days average)
November    1.05978 CAD   (21 days average)
December    1.05366 CAD   (22 days average)

I wonder which one knows the least about economics. Chavez? Obama? Or my keyboard? Hmmmmn.

Here is my previous story about energy rationing in Venezuela.

Prestigious Mayo Clinic will no longer accept Medicare patients

Story from the Wall Street Journal.

Excerpt:

President Obama last year praised the Mayo Clinic as a “classic example” of how a health-care provider can offer “better outcomes” at lower cost. Then what should Americans think about the famous Minnesota medical center’s decision to take fewer Medicare patients?

Specifically, Mayo said last week it will no longer accept Medicare patients at one of its primary care clinics in Arizona. Mayo said the decision is part of a two-year pilot program to determine if it should also drop Medicare patients at other facilities in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota, which serve more than 500,000 seniors.

Mayo says it lost $840 million last year treating Medicare patients, the result of the program’s low reimbursement rates. Its hospital and four clinics in Arizona—including the Glendale facility—lost $120 million. Providers like Mayo swallow some of these Medicare losses, while also shifting the cost by charging more to private patients and insurers.

Of course, only governments can lose that much money and pretend they don’t have to change. “Mayo Clinic loses a substantial amount of money every year due to the reimbursement schedule under Medicare,” the institution said. “Decades of underfunding and paying for volume rather than value in Medicare have led us to this decision.”

If the government cannot deliver services for patients on Medicare, then why should we give them control of all of health care? It doesn’t make any sense.