“‘We received many strong proposals from states all across America, but two applications stood out above all others: Delaware and Tennessee,’ Duncan said in announcing the winners. ‘Both states have statewide buy-in for comprehensive plans to reform their schools. They have written new laws to support their policies. And they have demonstrated the courage, capacity, and commitment to turn their ideas into practices that can improve outcomes for students.’”

This pathetic scrum amongst groveling states for a massive taxpayer handout is illustrative of what’s wrong with Washington and America. Whom would you rather your state be accountable to: local parents and schools or bureaucrats in Washington?

You wonder why your child’s school doesn’t listen to you? See above. Pay attention to the cash flow. Nobody cares what individual parents think because the money is coming from Washington. That means Arne Duncan, Barack Obama, the teacher’s unions and a host of bureaucrats get to determine what’s best for your kids. They set up a vast system of evaluations and measurements which essentially measures how local schools are meeting the agenda of their campaign contributors in Washington and then they sell off buy-in to the highest bidder.

Public education has become a command economy in America. That means, consumers do not matter. In a true market economy where consumers can choose amongst a host of potential options, innovation and improvements flourish. Parents can pull their kids out of crappy schools, they have a voice if they don’t like teachers or curricula, they can get involved locally and affect real change. When the money and decisions flow from the grassroots, individuals are empowered.

In a command economy, the reverse is true. This is why when you walk into your school and say “This is bull, I don’t want this for my children” the local school officials shrug their shoulders and say “I can’t do anything about it.” This is why – unless you are very rich – you can’t pick what schools your children go to. And it’s why you’re basically stuck with the same curricula and objectionable program no matter where you go. It’s why you are essentially powerless over your child’s education.

This is precisely the direction that Obama and the Democrats want to send health care, the economy, and just about every other aspect of American life. Why? Because it’s profitable for them. In a free market system, politicians have little control. This mutes the voices of the various campaign contributors and lobbyists inside the beltway because politicians are limited in their ability to give those interests what they ask for. The people locally are empowered to do that and if those interests want something, they have to do it locally.

Barack Obama talked often during his campaign about “changing the way we do business in Washington.” He talked about taking control from the lobbyists and special interests and giving power back to “the people.” What he has actually done so far is the polar opposite. He has increased – massively – the amount of business Washington does. He’s increased the power he and his army of czars have over the daily decisions of individual Americans. Those decisions are now being made according to the wishes of special interests, lobbyists and campaign contributors with the loudest voices and the biggest wallets.

That’s how a command economy works. That’s why top down government is eminently popular with politicians inside Washington. It’s why this country is virtually bankrupt and our economy, education system and political system are in shambles. Most importantly, it’s why average American citizens feel essentially powerless over their daily lives.