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Topic: The US may be spending less on education than other countries, not
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Paul A. Tanner III

Posts: 5,920
Registered: 12/6/04
The US may be spending less on education than other countries, not
more

Posted: Oct 4, 2012 12:24 PM
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In addition to what I show in

"Re: Discussion: Do US Math Teachers Suck?"
http://mathforum.org/kb/message.jspa?messageID=7752982

and

"US teachers are overworked and underpaid"
http://mathforum.org/kb/thread.jspa?threadID=2406003

here is yet another way public education in the US has been unfairly dumped on:

The usual statistics that conservatives like to use say that the US spends more on education per-student than most other countries. Example:

http://mercatus.org/publication/k-12-spending-student-oecd

But these statistics are overlooking a fundamental:

There is spending in all countries that is counted as education spending in the US but is not counted as education spending in these other countries, which means that the US may actually be not spending more than these countries on education per-student - it is perhaps spending a lot less.

I'm talking about that part of compensation for labor that in the US is called "benefits" - health care and retirement. It seems that spending for the private health insurance and state or local pensions of public school teachers is included under education spending in the US but it is not in these other countries.

Why is this?

Simple.

In these other countries for their workers, spending on health care and retirement on pensions *are* socialized, centralized, universal rights provided to all their citizens by government, and so they *are not* put under some subcategory of spending (like "education spending") - they *are not* actually counted as part of the compensation of those workers' labor by their employers. (The taxes in these countries that go to national health care and national retirement are like the Social Security and Medicare taxes in the US. Even though such taxes are part of the labor costs of a given business, they *are not* actually counted in terms of how much the employees receive for their labor from the business.)

But for US workers, except for individuals rich enough to do things individually, spending on health care and retirement on pensions *are not* socialized, centralized, universal rights provided to all their citizens by government, and so they *are* put under some subcategory of spending (like "education spending") - they *are* actually counted as part of the compensation of those workers' labor by their employers.



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