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We now spend the most and get the least. We spend among the most for education and we’re 46th in education. We spend among the most for prisons, and we are among the highest recidivism rates …

What does "the most" in bold refer to?

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My guess would be that what is meant is simply

"We are among the countries / states that spend the most"

That also explains the "46th", supposedly that is a referring to a ranking list between countries or states.

The whole sentence does give me a bit of a weird feeling anyway, because I would spend money on something, not for something.

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  • I think the "for" is introducing "education" as a topic, not as an object of the verb. e.g. "For education, we are the highest spenders." But I agree with you it's a clumsy sentence. Commented Feb 24, 2014 at 9:19
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I'm not too sure that I get what this means either. It probably means that "We spend, (among the largest of our expenditures), for education....". This seems most likely. It sounds like a slightly misspoken sentence.

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