Put your money where your mouth is

Luna Comerford
Jan 30, 2015 · 3 min read

You can tell a lot about a person’s priorities by looking at what they do with their money. Say you gave two people $100 each and then watched to see what they did with that money. You watch one guy go buy some new jeans and a few boxes of ammo for his Glock. The other guy puts $50 in the bank, and takes the other $50 to the book store to get some books on programming. Which one is more interested in bettering himself and his future? If you had to bet on which one will end up with a better life 10 years down the road, where would you put your money?

Lets apply the same reasoning to America. Which guy better represents what the US does with its money? The guy with a fully loaded Glock, or the guy reading his new book? Maybe this diagram from Death and Taxes will help:

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Every year the US spends roughly $600 billion on the miltary and about $60 billion on education.

Lets approach the problem from a different angle. Do you have kids? Have you ever hired a nanny or babysitter? If you said to your nanny:

“I want you to take my kid from 9:00am to 5:00pm tomorrow, teach them as much as you can in that time about math, science, writing, and life. I’ll pay you $5 for your time.”

How many nannies would actually take that deal? Five bucks, to take care of and teach your kid for a whole day. Considering the nannies that would take that offer, how much do you think your kid would learn in that time from them? Lets say you did that every weekday for about 13 years of your child’s life. How intellegent do you think your kid would be? Do you think that nannie would have prepared them for college and life? Personally, I think there’s a really good chance that your kid would be a total idiot after that. This is exactly what we’re doing with every single kid in public school in the US.

If a school teacher makes about $30,000 over the course of 10 months of teaching 30 students, that breaks down to $1000 per student per year. Extrapolate that a little more and you get $100 per student per month or, if there’s 20 weekdays in a month, $5 per student per day. Thats $150 a day for all 30 students that teacher is responsible for. If the saying “you get what you pay for” is true, then the education we’re paying for is probably pretty worthless.

In the US, we spend about $6 billion per year on guns (that is just what we spend personally, it doesn’t include any tax dollars that the military uses to buy guns). We also spend about $10 billion on football, $29 billion on candy, $31 billion on lottery tickets, $49 billion in credit card interest, $50 billion on booze, $117 billion on fast food, and $125 billion on gambling. In the US, there are an estimated 3.7 million teachers. So, going through the list, if we decided education was more important than guns, football, candy, lottery tickets, credit card interest (which is more like frivolous shopping), booze, fast food, or gambling, this is how a teacher’s salary might change:

  • Guns: $1621 per teacher.
  • Football: $2702 per teacher.
  • Candy: $7837 per teacher.
  • Lottery Tickets: $8378 per teacher.
  • Credit card interest: $13,243 per teacher.
  • Booze: $13,513 per teacher.
  • Fast food: $31,621 per teacher.
  • Gambling: $33,783 per teacher.

Yea, thats right. If we all decided to take our gambling money and give it to teachers instead, we could more than double every single teacher in America’s salary. Even if we just decided to put our candy money into education we could give every teacher a 25% raise.

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