Chile Increases Taxes to Fund More Government Education

Chile passed a huge tax increase to further socialize education but the National Bureau of Economic Research isn’t convinced that it will work well.

We investigate whether the inclusion of social rights in political constitutions affects social performance. More specifically, we analyze whether including the right to education in the constitution has been related to better “educational outcomes.” We rely on data for 61 countries that participated in the 2012 PISA tests. Our results are strong and robust to the estimation technique: we find that there is no evidence that including the right to education in the constitution has been associated with higher test scores. The quality of education depends on socioeconomic, structural, and policy variables, such as expenditure per student, the teacher-pupil ratio, and families’ background. When these covariates are excluded, the relation between the strength of constitutional educational rights and the quality of education is negative and statistically significant. These results are important for emerging countries that are discussing the adoption of new constitutions, such as Thailand and Chile.

Chile is falling into the middle income trap. Many countries prosper for 20-30 years but decline as the government takes more control of the economy. The Chilean government has devalued the currency by 15% relative to the dollar during the past year and there are no signs of a resurgence of capitalism. Chileans have forgotten or never learned why they prospered during the last 20 years.

Andrew Coulson summarized the disaster the Chileans are creating.

Sadly, the government seems unaware of how successful the existing system has been. It wants to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs without even having noticed the eggs. The Bachelet government, and the student leaders who encouraged it to adopt these reforms, want to believe that a centrally planned school system would work better than the more free enterprise approach that exists today. Camila Vallejo, for instance, once said that Venezuela’s centrally planned education system is more advanced than Chile’s. But on the famous PISA international test, Venezuela’s most developed state performs far below Chile’s national average. And the avowed mission of Venezuela’s system is to indoctrinate youth with the government’s ideology. There seems to be little appetite for that sort of system in Chile.

It is good that Chileans are unsatisfied with the status quo and eager to improve it. High standards are crucial for the advancement of nations as well as individuals. But if the desire for improvement is to be satisfied, it must be accompanied by an honest appraisal of what works and what does not—in the real world. Chile’s entrepreneurial approach to education has elevated it above its regional peers, narrowed its educational gaps, and is helping it to improve overall. Central planning, as Venezuelans are rediscovering, has a less encouraging record.

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The Highest Whole Foods Market in the USA

The highest Whole Foods Market in the USA is located in Frisco, Colorado near the Keystone, Breckenridge, and Copper Mountain ski areas. Although they operate many stores in the Colorado Front Range, it is their only store in the Rocky Mountains. Their arrival a few months ago dramatically improved the food quality of the mountain grocery stores. We visited it for the first time today.

This large Forest River Rpod teardrop trailer was parked at the Whole Foods Market in Frisco.

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Can You Spot the Bear?

Can you spot the bear in the picture below? He was easily visible to the human eye but I snapped the picture at 3 PM with so much glare that I couldn’t see the bear on my 7″ Android tablet. The camera zoom is poor and I might not have been able to get a better picture even had there been no glare. The bear was napping in the trees behind the dense Riverwalk development, 10 miles west of Vail, while I took the picture from the bike path 20′ above the river. He must have walked from the mountains several miles across town in the dark while people were sleeping.

Can you see the bear where two trees nearly intersect? He is resting on both trees.

The trees above the Eagle River are about 60' tall and is the bear is 40' high.

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Hiking and Biking in Vail

Mary and I hiked and biked in Vail this week. We lived here for 3 summers so it reminded us of many fond memories.

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The Wyoming Towns of Pinedale, Jackson, and Dubois

I passed a few days in the northwest Wyoming towns of Pinedale, Jackson, and Dubois. I hope to return someday.

Fremont Lake in Pinedale, Wyoming.

A rest stop for 1000 bicyclists riding in the cold early morning air of a mountain pass near Jackson, Wyoming. I waited until the warm afternoon arrived before riding my bike.

Forest floor on the mountain above Fremont Lake, elevation 9500'. Many people park their cars at the summit and hike for several days.

The tinkerers of Teardrops n Tiny Travel Trailers group,, visited Pinedale and Jackson the week i arrived. Some of the members also customize cargo trailers like the one I use.

Glaciers north of Jackson, Wyoming. These are probably part of Yellowstone Park.

There is no such thing as a jackelope! It's only a tourist trap in Dubois, Wyoming.

As shown in the mural at the KOA in Laramie, Wyoming is wonderful in summer and unbearable the rest of the year.

Scenery near Jackson, Wyoming.

Alpine lake at the summit of Towgotee Pass between Jackson and Dubois, Wyoming.

Various species of bighorn sheep at the Bighorn Sheep Museum in Dubois, Wyoming. They displayed the heads of about a dozen others.

Petroglyphs at the Bighorn Sheep Museum in Dubois, Wyoming.

House on the Wind River in Dubois, Wyoming.

Frightening backyard on the Wind River.

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A Pair of Bucks with Big Racks

I thought I had chased all the deer away from our property but two of the biggest and bravest bucks decided to risk returning. Fortunately, they left the strawberries alone. Mary took the pictures and Venus sent them scurrying for their lives. Even in old age, Venus is a ferocious killer.

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California Realtor Climbs Horsetooth Rock

California realtor Carol Whitley and I climbed Horsetooth Rock this past weekend. Mary hiked most of the trip, too, but her knee was incapable of climbing the last bit of rocks. The view from 2200′ above Fort Collins is spectacular.

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Fifi the B29 Superfortress Visits Colorado

The only remaining WWII Boeing B29 Superfortress, Fifi, flew over us but we didn’t see much, as you can see below. We tried to take a tour at the airport but the wait was 2 hours so we bailed. Fifi flew over our house a couple of days later, looming large, and I saw much more but it only lasted 2 seconds. The B29 Enola Gay dropped a nuclear bomb on Hiroshima. Fifi’s owners also brought Bucket of Bolts, a plane used to train WWII pilots.

Fifi the B29 is in the upper right corner.

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Biking at a Colorado Mountain Reservoir

Mary and I rode our electric bikes along the eastern edge of Horsetooth Reservoir and the Overland Trail in Fort Collins, Colorado last weekend. We couldn’t have pedaled the steep hills without electricity.

Every reservoir in Colorado is overflowing and cottonwood trees 50 feet tall are drowning under 20 feet of water but the excess can’t be stored in lakes Mead and Powell or sold to save dying crops in California, due to political failures. There will be a so-called “drought” in 5 years where the government will tell us to let our lawns die.

Old cottonwood tree drowning in overflowing Horsetooth Reservoir.

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Wierd Al is Always Relevant

I’ve been listening to Wierd Al for 35 years and he never seems to age and be displaced by younger entertainers, as Jay Leno was replaced recently by Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show. His latest parodies business managers who butcher the English language. The Upstart Business Journal describes the creation of the video.

My pet peeve is the use of “on a regular basis”, which can always be replaced by the beautiful English word, “regularly”. The “-ly” suffix added to “regular” produces this beauty, as any elementary schoolchild can attest and many adults forget.

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