K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: As the U.S. celebrates 50th anniversaries of many Great Society social programs, Americans ought to re-evaluate their effectiveness.

Martin Conrad:

One important answer is that most of our inflation in the period has been concentrated in the government-subsidized sectors of education, housing, and health care, which are all less affordable because costs for social engineering far outran benefits.

Millions of students leave increasingly expensive public schools prepared for mass consumption and mass opinions but unable to do simple arithmetic or to read or write simple sentences.

College students have accumulated more than $1 trillion of debt, and their default rates are soaring. Too often they are paying for a commodified education and empty credentials that don’t guarantee the practical problem-solving skills employers want.

The U.S. spends twice as much of our gross domestic product as other developed nations do for health care, yet we rank only 34th (tied with Costa Rica) in longevity. Studies show that a third of that spending is unnecessary.

The true success of our government housing policies can be measured in the trillions of dollars and millions of jobs that were lost in the recent meltdown.

Indeed, we spend more than any country on education.