How state budgets are breaking US schools: Bill Gates on

Posted by: Tedstaff

America’s school systems are funded by the 50 states. In this fiery talk, Bill Gates says that state budgets are riddled with accounting tricks that disguise the true cost of health care and pensions and weighted with worsening deficits — with the financing of education at the losing end. (Recorded at TED2011, March 2011, in Long Beach, California. Duration: 10:16)

Watch Bill Gates’ 2011 talk on where you can download it, rate it, comment on it and find other talks and performances from our archive of 800+ TEDTalks.

Comments (12)

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  • Elise Radzieski commented on Apr 3 2011

    I’m a public high school junior in Pennsylvania, and Governor Corbett’s proposed budget could ruin my future. There are gas drilling companies making billions of dollars off of the land exempt from taxes, while I won’t be able to get college credits with Dual Enrollment programs next year and half the funding for state colleges is being cut. This is completely unfair. We need to act and stop this. Please do your own research on this, write letters to your representatives, and sign my online petition at . We need to preserve public education. It’s what makes democracy possible.

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  • commented on Mar 15 2011

    Right now, we’re missing out on up to $100 billion per year in corporate tax revenue due to offshore tax haven abuse. That’s $1 trillion each decade. We have a revenue problem here. This problem will persist and worsen, as we have seen in Wisconsin, as these new Tea Party governors hand over more corporate tax cuts. Wisconsin is looking at nearly a $1billion cut to education, which translates to about $650 less per student; and that’s in addition to cuts that have already occurred over the last 5 years. What to do? Gates doesn’t tell. The real answer isn’t in his best interest. We must tax fairly, especially those who have made out like bandits with the bailout. Will it ever happen? Nope. Probably not. Corporate interests in politics is a runaway train—in a 5–4 decision late last year, there are no longer spending limits on corporations in candidate elections. So corporations will get their tax breaks, our government will get smaller, and public education will undoubtedly suffer, regardless of accounting practices. Follow the story in Wisconsin. It’s not about accounting, it’s about politics and who’s interests are winning.

  • Aaron Hedges commented on Mar 12 2011

    It is very difficult for me to take what Bill Gates says at face value. Under his leadership Microsoft used very aggressive tactics to subvert competition and steal ideas from competitors. I also find this talk very ironic because Microsoft, like many other US countries, claims that their offices are actually in the Virgin Islands to avoid many taxes. To the best of my knowledge, Microsoft has also transfered many of it’s intellectual property registrations to Ireland where the taxes on this sort of thing are remarkably lower then the US. Is it only me or do other people find it ironic that he blames failing schools on the states budgets when Microsoft, like many other large US businesses, is exploiting huge tax loop holes to avoid their own fiscal responsibilities? This sort of argument seems to blame the negative byproduct of massive tax evasion without even acknowledging many of the reasons why states budgets are in serious trouble in the first place. Many of the things that Bill Gates state in this video could have easily came from the mouth of Governor Scott Walker.

    • commented on Mar 15 2011

      Yup. right on….

  • Christopher Tuthill commented on Mar 11 2011

    Is it just me or does the Federal Level slice of pie look as if everyone in this country has lost their minds. If the Federal Government was carrying on in a Constitutionally appropriate manner then if appears that that 10 percent deficit would vaporize. I know I sound like Im beating a dead horse, but it kinda angers me that thats what it sounds like when I say these things.

  • Nicholas Cristella commented on Mar 9 2011

    Seperately, The conclusion is the infrastructure. There are zero regulations throughout Canada, gambling websites and other low costing high yielding operations allow for a direct root back to S. America. We see companies such as Bodog using high quality internet platforms that draw large amounts of funding due to their competitive advantages. The advantages were so heavily shared on more British gaming sites such a PartyPoker. That George Bush passed laws against foreign deposit. The advantages and fairness to players inside the US is outside the US and this issue runs across the board. I must mention my company just started and promotes plans to place us back on a Fair level. George W. did something rather big most didn’t care to mention. If we produce this kind of company within America we can stop creating American to leave America and implement incorrect against their own nation as we are abundantly seeing in the Chinese market. The scary issue as the old typical American would say , We have to stop buying from china. The issue is American producing Foreign goods back to America, creates this no need for a mid market and literally buying wholesale is available to the consumer. So they have really been placed in the terrible situation of literally having to say “I’m supporting local business” as if their saying if he pisses me off were making sure they don’t eat (potential attitude) . Still customer support becomes the big one. No one wants to really feel this way and no one wants to care. The impose’ is we know I could buy from and you can buy this from me, but its become “if you get out of hand and make over 100k at 24. were placing everything on the Amazon and shipping free overnight. oh and did we mention Amazon knows the owner so their 10% off. Think about it many appliances are purchases 1 every 2 years.. It only takes a mass sale to happen one time to suck up the entire market for 2 years or more. Thus producing the Progressive movement and lower quality goods to constantly reoccur. The main issue is many Americans see this as a form of rebudtle. As an option to fight whatever or whoever it is their fighting. It simply isn’t the answer. Making people purchase more often does very little and overall hurts the standards of the nation. Whats worse is it likely leads back to a government whom people have produced as small inferior men, either by restraint or self worth and are ultimately the ones that allow for a weaker and weaker government to be owned by foreign alliances and force American Citizens out to work for other nations against their own country. The sub-system has taken over America. The idea that order is produced from low-end appeal and to make them believe that they are helping Coldplay lead the fight. when really their making sure they and those around them don’t have a job, creates the self deprecating standard. and forces anything real to become stronger, but possibly less appealing to an over civil wealth, making it hard to accommodate both in collaboration as the ends of all parties are producing the “bad” indirectly enough that their own people have no real control over their worlds. Thus creating predictability. and the ease of creating foreign markets within your own. America was built to accommodate those who came here to live here as new American not to direct back wealth to a foreign alliance. nor protect any other foreign government from within. Obviously there are small lines here and there but its never a major part that halts America overall. More directly, there should not be enough political control anywhere in the United States where Bill Gates can determine if you end up owning a PC. As they continually move towards doing. Tell me why school don’t have designer clothing standards. Yes Designer, when looking at a company such as Express. their attire would cost less then 500 dollars for the entire school year. To look and feel at an intellectual base equivalent to any order with little to no available reason for prejudice, When we look at tax payer dollars that would be less then $25 per person in almost any regions per year. The simplest things aren’t implemented and therefore very little happens. Its supposedly one of the top nation ins the world, yet they’ll throw billions and trillions on a PowerPoint but no one wants to acknowledge the fact that Bill gates money is only worth computers until he allows real business that mass hire continual lifestyle with his investments. I still see too much 10 births for every successful one and at times its in the hundreds. Maybe theres something slightly over me based on accommodation but strength,toughness, appreciation or whatever were producing doesn’t have to look like shit. Again at-least introduce birth-rate laws. But we can;t advance in such away until you stop the political onslaught of controlled production and finance to the highest degree. These laws of success will never be implemented as long as you produce to produce less overall. I still as a person have never felt the need to want to be around Ant people or make them lesser. Though our form of government has produced nothing more then a place to call you murders and rapist to place a lesser law over one head. Law is not the highest feature in America it is the standing ground in which we produce. When these international laws do not exist and we do not meet competition we lose all realms of a kingdom (country) and are doing nothing more then occupying land, nothing glorious with no personification over that of random colors and hues of people. We mind as well be dinosaurs at-least they blend in with inhabitants. That is not an option we are people, humans, meaning out job is create country and nation to the highest degree. That is our job to produce existence in life that could not find misery if it tried without dumbing down the world to any lesser belief then my own, but one of this own. I can’t help but think I’m writing someone else words back on to myself at this point. but I do hope it helps.

    • Nicholas Cristella commented on Mar 9 2011

      sorry about the typos. that is 2 or 3 years, and I called it the Amazon…

  • Nicholas Cristella commented on Mar 9 2011

    (This is part of another posting also look at my TED conversation as it should produce some good voices) The Ted platform should concentrate entirely on stabilizing this information. Another word Bill Gates should be looking for information from the troubles he introduced to society. Which is what hes doing in the open learning projects, gathering information from the audience within an open platform. His latest on State budget ultimately concludes that at anyone time the overall purchases from the state either accommodate one state and most often another nation. It being another nation is the issue, as states are collectively losing money overall, individually to either one another and ultimately nations such as Britain, Japan, and Germany. This are basic formations. Look at the European Union as the push and pull of hungry wolves. Onces money is introduced to any one of the 13+ aligned nations they can easily have their share and place funds accordingly to best strategize against repayment with seemingly not breaking any laws or regulations throughout the abundance of more micro imports and exports.

  • Alice Rathjen commented on Mar 6 2011

    I wished Bill Gates had provided a demo for budget transparency showing a map tracking the flow of state spending between entities not just within California but the flow of capital for the entire world. I wished he could show us where capital was just sitting there causing everything around it to die or where capital was simply fueling parasitic activity. I had hoped for a talk from Bill that showed what sustainable economic ecosystems looks like so we could be begin to cultivate pockets around the world.

    Bill’s closed pie budget presented as an absolute truth didn’t ring true to me. It’s too simplistic and arbitrarily imposed. There are multiple pies and we print a new pie whenever there is a war or bailout. That said – I’m grateful for the money he contributed to Ted.

    However, if we can track the flow of pieces of garbage around the US into different landfills then surly we could create a map of US based electronic funds transfers around the world. Perhaps we could include a tag to show how an alert goes off when funds designated for aid end up in the Cayman Islands instead.