Why is it that Egyptians do well in the U.S. but not Egypt? We could make that same observation and pose that same question about Nigerians, Cambodians, Jamaicans and others of the underdeveloped world who migrate to the U.S. Until recently, we could make the same observation about Indians in India, and the Chinese citizens of the People's Republic of China, but not Chinese citizens of Hong Kong and Taiwan.
These are times that try nations' budgets. Even President Obama is talking seriously about budget cutting — not as seriously as the Republicans claim they are, but hey, give the guy credit. He has proposed trimming $100 billion from this year's spending level to produce a 2012 budget of a mere $3.7 trillion. He proposes reducing the deficit by $544 billion, so that next year' s budget will produce only $1.1 trillion in red ink. And the long-term budget projections are for an additional $7 trillion in public debt (now at more than $14 trillion) over the next 10 years. There, now. How's that for frugality? Eat your heart out, Calvin Coolidge.
Most Americans assume that we've always had public schools, that they came with the Constitution and are an indispensable part of our democratic system. But nothing could be farther from the truth, as I discovered when I wrote my book, Is Public Education Necessary?, published in 1981.