BY SHARON MARTIN
Sen. Tom Coburn’s aide explained in an e-mail to me why the senator voted to cut funding for National Writing Project. He says he doesn’t want our children and grandchildren to be saddled with our debt. I agree with him that leaving behind debt is not fair to future generations. I don’t agree that cutting funding to a program that has been shown to pay education dividends is the way to fix this problem.
Legislators are fighting over millions in a $2 trillion budget, but no one mentions the trillion dollar war they voted for. We aren’t going to fix the deficit by cutting spending on education. We might fix the deficit by cutting military spending.
Franklin Roosevelt said, “Don’t forget what I discovered, that over 90% of all national deficits from 1921 to 1939 were caused by payments for past, present, and future wars.”
Congress is squabbling over the 10%, but they aren’t addressing the 90%.
Look at the federal budget. In 2010, defense spending was $707 billion. Are we looking to spend less on defense? No, legislators want to cut $25 million from Reading Is Fundamental and $18 million from Teach for America. President Obama signed on to $147.6 million in education funding cuts.
As a math teacher, I can figure out that cuts to education amount to about 1/10,000 of the deficit.
If the children we are saving from debt are not as well educated as they could be because of funding cuts to education, how will this save them? And how much will they owe if we saddle them with this $147 million debt?
The population of the United States is about 300 million. Cuts to education amount to about 50 cents per person. Wouldn’t you be willing to spend that 50 cents?
Because of propaganda, a legislator can kiss re-election goodbye if he or she calls for cuts in defense spending or demands that billionaires pay their fair share of taxes. Instead, they call for cuts to education, health research, and food inspections. This won’t fix the budget crisis and it won’t insure a bright future for our children.
Where are the heroes when we need them?
– Sharon Martin lives in Oilton, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer