Undocumented Investments

by Mark Steyn

Mark (Krikorian), I’d missed that Christian Schneider post on in-state tuition rates for illegal aliens, which is probably just as well given the vein-popping it caused. But, if that’s the – or even a – “conservative” position, the republic might as well hold its going-out-of-business sale this weekend. To reprise the Schneider justification:

By the time an undocumented [sic!] child makes it from first grade to graduating high school, taxpayers have already sunk over $100,000 into that child’s education. To pull the plug on those children because of the actions of their parents would be unfair, and would nullify the investment taxpayers have already made in the kid. …

So while they’re here, our state would be better off giving these kids the chance to make our country better, rather than sentencing them to a second-class existence.

Good grief. First, the fact that 12 years of American education costs over a hundred grand ought to be an outrage, not an initial down-payment: We spend more per pupil than any advanced nation other than Luxembourg, and at least the Luxembourgers have something to show for it.

Second, the idea that government spending is an “investment” as opposed to prudent budgeting for necessary responsibilities is a classic all-purpose leftist euphemism for statism without end that no conservative should have any truck with: Why, to end our “investment” in “these kids”  after a mere 12 years is to “sentence” people to a “second-class existence”! (And incidentally, how many taxpayers willingly chose this particular investment for their portfolio?)

Third, if massive expansion of college education helps “make our country better”, why are we the Brokest Nation in History? In 1940, a majority of the US population had no more than a Grade Eight education. By 2008, 40 per cent of 18-24 year-olds were enrolled in college. Eighth Grade America built a great nation, won a global war and emerged as the planet’s economic superpower – until Eighteenth Grade America drove it off a cliff. Yet a supposed “conservative” says, oh, no, diverting 40 per cent of young adults into a desultory half-decade Bachelor’s in Complacency Studies isn’t enough: We so fetishize pseudo-credentialization we must extend it even to illegal aliens.

Why stop there? We’ve spent over 20 grand per capita in Afghanistan. Why “nullify” that “investment”? Why don’t we send every Afghan to Harvard? Maybe they can all become diversity officers and community organizers, and Recovery Summer will really be going gangbusters.

That’s the “conservative” position? If Christian Schneider isn’t a satirical Rob Long invention, we’re doomed.