by Donna Martinez
Former Senior Writer and Editor, John Locke Foundation
Writing for a national audience at realclearpolicy.com, JLF Senior Fellow Garland Tucker calls out Congress for failing to rein in the size of government. He focuses on news that Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos had requested LESS money for her agency but ended up with an increase, thanks to the behemoth budget package signed by the president. He gives us a fascinating look at the history of the Department of Education and its growth:
Under Bell’s successor, Bill Bennett, DoED expanded. Though an articulate champion of the Right, Bennett was never able to shrink, much less eliminate, the department. Under succeeding administrations — both Republican and Democratic — DoED has relentlessly expanded. Meanwhile, American education by every conceivable measure has fallen further and further behind both in expectations and in comparisons to other countries. In 1980, the DoED budget was $11.6 billion; by 2016 it had ballooned almost six-fold to $68 billion.
Fast forward to the Betsy DeVos era.
Despite this initial opposition and the unrelenting enmity and disparagement of the Left during her months in office, DeVos has steadfastly stood for reduced federal control of education, choice for parents, and greater reliance on the states. She has repeatedly attacked her opposition as “defenders of the status quo” — that is, the failing education system. And, in the 2018 budget process, she stood out as one of the few department heads to request a substantial reduction in appropriations for her department. This was met by howls of protest from the Left, which, in DeVos’s words, “sought to make my life a living hell.”
So what is a limited-government conservative to do as the 2018 midterms loom? Tucker concludes the piece this way:
Not only is Congress not prepared to shut down the department, the Republican majority cannot even pass a reduction in DoED spending in compliance with the Secretary’s direct request.
Now, you tell me why limited-government conservatives should feel compelled to support congressional Republicans in the upcoming midterm elections.
I’ve only given you a summary of the piece. Read Tucker’s full analysis of the Department of Education, Betsy DeVos’ push to rein in her agency, and the failure of congressional Republicans to do so.