The business lobby thinks forward
But one thing that's always annoyed me about the business lobby is its relentless focus on today's giveaways rather than tomorrow's economic foundation. The Chamber of Commerce will tell you that it supports infrastructure investment, as it knows perfectly well that bad roads and crumbling schools are bad for business. But compared with, say, its jihad on tax rates, it doesn't try all that hard.
Nevertheless, I was glad to see the group publish a new report on the importance of investing in early childhood education. Every piece of evidence I've seen suggests that this is probably the biggest free lunch in American policy. Investing in very young kids produces huge gains, but because infants don't vote, we wildly underinvest in it.
Consider the amount of energy we expend trying to improve K-12, which is extremely hard and expensive and will have uncertain results vs. guaranteeing everyone gets preschool, which is straightforward and would have huge benefits. The Chamber's report, in fact, has a great graph on this. It's a graph, actually, that should really inform a lot more of our policy choices than it does:
September 10, 2010; 10:23 AM ET
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