April 12, 2011 4:51PM

Negotiators Wield the Emery Board against Massive Education Waste

Now that details of the please‐​no‐​shutdown budget deal are emerging, at least one thing is clear: Republicans caved on education spending. Rather than demand meaningful cuts to the absurd panoply of federal education programs that succeed only at sucking money out of taxpayers’ wallets, GOP negotiators agreed to mere token trims. Quickly adding together the education programs in the list of cuts put out by Republicans, the total comes to only about $1.6 billion, from an FY 2010 Department of Education appropriation of $64.1 billion. That’s a measly two‐​percent shave.

And Republicans didn’t just surrender on big cuts that any reasonable analysis screams should be made post‐​haste. They actually handed President Obama additional money and power with $700 million in new funding for Race to the Top, the supposedly one‐​time “stimulus” program that the President has used to bribe states into adopting, among other things, national curriculum standards.

If the goal of budgeteers is to cut programs that don’t work and are unconstitutional — as it absolutely should be — education is the first area in which they should start swinging the spending axe, or better yet, the chainsaw. But no: Because few in Washington have the political fortitude to eliminate spending done in the name of “education” — think of the children! — all the negotiators took were a couple of half‐​hearted strokes with a worn down emery board.

This is terrible news on its own, and it sure doesn’t bode well for negotiations yet to come.