Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos recently presented a budget to Congress that would eliminate funding for Special Olympics. “We had to make some difficult decisions with this budget,” she told legislators recently. She added that the success of the Special Olympics program should enable it to make up for the $17.6 million cut through its own fundraising.
The cut saves taxpayers approximately the same amount as five presidential trips to Mar-a-Lago. DeVos and the administration she represents drew a conclusion remarkably out of touch with the realities of most Americans, particularly those who support children with special needs. Having said that, I do not envy the policy makers who have to decide how to fund education. The economy is a twisted zero-sum game. Want to spend more money on university-level research programs? Great! Shall we take cash from elementary reading programs to provide it? Well. . .hang on a minute.
Of course, the government’s biggest mathematical problem involves figuring out ways to pay for entitlement programs. It’s not like we can tell retired septuagenarians that the checks won’t be coming any more. This administration’s specific problem involves its funding priorities. If you ran the government, how would you balance spending on defense, health, and education?