Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Rush on education is wrong as usual

Don't have much time today but I'm still pleased about our new team of KE04. While I don't think choosing Edwards will have much impact on education policy, I'm fine...for now. The point is to get the current resident-in-chief out. Quick note to me: focus.

You see, that doesn't mean I'm happy about the team's educational bent. I still look at Kerry's educational agenda with a jaundiced eye, especially regarding NCLB. It needs fixing. However, Kerry's proposing to do much more than Dubya on education. And that says a lot.

Looking at other battles needing to be won, here's a nice Limbaugh deconstruction by the good people at
Limbaugh flunked on federal education spending

On his June 30 nationally syndicated radio show, host Rush Limbaugh grossly overstated U.S. federal spending on education. In discussing the federal budget, Limbaugh stated, "[W]e spend over two times on education already, what we spend on defense." This followed Limbaugh's miscalculations from his September 18, 2003, program, when he insisted that "today, 2003, the federal budget is over 2.2 trillion [dollars], and ... we're spending $745 billion on education," while "we spend $300 billion a year on defense, the defense of the country, for crying out loud. We're spending close to three times that on education."

In fact, the U.S. federal government spends almost seven times more on defense than on education. According to the Executive Office of the President's Office of Management and Budget, the portion of the federal budget allocated to the Department of Education in 2003 was $53.1 billion --14 times less than the $745 billion that Limbaugh asserted on air -- while federal spending for the Department of Defense in 2003 was $365.3 billion. The estimated budget for the Department of Education is $55.7 billion for 2004 and $57.3 billion for 2005. Estimated Defense spending for 2004 is $375.3 billion; but in 2005, the planned spending for the Department of Defense jumps to $401.7 billion -- $36.4 billion more than was spent in 2003.

Limbaugh's estimates likely derive from a report by the conservative Heritage Foundation, which calculated total federal, state, and local spending for education -- both public and private -- to be $745 billion for the 2001-2002 school year.
Helpful for those who know Limbaugh listeners.