Conspiracy Theorist: 2/2

Rewarded for failure

Mayor Whaley honored for failing Dayton schools

by Mark Luedtke
For normal people, one of the maddening aspects of government is its rewarding of failure. In the private sector, if your business doesn’t make a profit, it goes bankrupt. If you fail at your job, you get fired. To a great extent, the private sector is a meritocracy. Connections may get you in the door, but failing will get you shown the door.

Government is the opposite. The “war on terror” is the most egregious example. The longer it goes on, the more terrorism it provokes, yet the rulers responsible for the failed policy keep getting re-elected. When terrorists attack, the bureaucrats who failed to stop them get promotions, raises and bigger budgets.

We see it with government’s “war on poverty,” its “war on drugs” and government-run healthcare. Government’s supposed experts are wrong time after time after time—think of the Federal Reserve’s economic forecasts—yet they get rewarded.

We also see it with education. The tighter government controls schools, the worse they educate children, yet the bureaucrats in charge get promotions, raises and bigger budgets.

A recent reward for Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley is a perfect example. Since her days as a Dayton commissioner, Whaley has made education the centerpiece of her agenda. WHIO reports how well that’s worked out for Dayton students.

Despite numerous D rankings in the region, “The Dayton area did not have any school districts score among the bottom 20 districts in the state in K-3 Literacy improvement,” WHIO reports. “Dayton was the only local district to receive an F, and it trailed most of the state’s other large urban public districts.”

In a sea of government failure, Dayton schools stand out as exceptional failures. During her reign Whaley not only failed to improve Dayton’s schools, she failed spectacularly. Yet, she was recently voted a promotion from Dayton commissioner to mayor. While the mayor’s position is largely symbolic in Dayton, it gave Whaley a raise.

Whaley’s failure earned another reward. The mayor’s office recently crowed, “Mayor Nan Whaley has been appointed vice chair of the National League of Cities’ (NLC) Council on Youth, Education and Families (YEF Council) for 2016. The Council guides and oversees the work of NLC’s Institute for Youth, Education and Families (YEF Institute).”

The YEF Institute is one of many nonprofit organizations that provides a revolving door to politicians and bureaucrats, making them filthy rich, while posing as beneficial and independent.

Rewarding failure isn’t only a local problem. All governments do it regardless of level. I used to be shocked when I saw it—it seems insane—but over the years I realized this is the nature of government. Rewarding failure is rational for rulers. As Ludwig von Mises explained, because of government’s coercive nature and because it has no prices to guide rulers to make rational, economic decisions, every government intervention in the marketplace is harmful. Because interventions continually make problems worse, more interventions follow until everything falls apart. F.A. Hayek explained the worst of the worst rise to the top of government because as things fall apart the people demand a strongman to fix the problems. That’s how the Weimar Republic produced Hitler, Lenin produced Stalin, and Chiang Kai-shek produced Mao. That’s where we’re heading.

Rewarding failure serves two purposes for rulers. The first is propaganda. Whaley’s new position covers up her failure, supplying a pretense she was successful, which counteracts the observations of our eyes noted by Mises and Hayek.

Second, failures make it possible for rulers to steal more money. The worse schools get, the bigger their budgets get. That means more money in every ruler’s pocket. All politicians, bureaucrats and their cronies get richer when government programs fail.

But these actions produce disaster. As government steals more and more of our money, the economy declines, and each ruler or regime generally produces a follow-up ruler or regime worse than the predecessor, especially toward the end. That’s how Bush produced Obama and long-declining Dayton elected Whaley. This trend continues until strongmen loot the people into destitution so government can’t steal any more money. Only then does an appreciation for free markets and capitalism re-emerge with economic growth and prosperity following, until the cycle of looting and collapse repeats.

Whaley obtaining the NLC position is scary. It’s probably a stepping stone to higher office for Whaley, maybe in the Department of Education. It’s a sign of exceptional failure and guarantees greater failure in the future. Protect your children and cover your wallets.

The views and opinions expressed in Conspiracy Theorist are the views and/or opinions of the author and do not reflect the views and/or opinions of the Dayton City Paper or Dayton City Media and are published strictly for entertainment purposes.

Mark Luedtke is an electrical engineer with a degree from the University of Cincinnati and currently works for a Dayton attorney. He can be reached at

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Reach DCP freelance writer Mark Luedtke at

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