You have to feel sorry for Betsy DeVos. It took Mike Pence’s tie breaking vote to even get her confirmed as Secretary of Education. She started off 2 years ago as the most hated member of the Trump administration and her approval ratings have only dropped since then. This week’s events aren’t likely to help.
First, the administration sends her out like Cruella De Vil to defend cutting the Department of Education’s funding of The Special Olympics. It was a decision she said that she did not make and that she personally disagreed with. But after two days of dealing with the blow back from Democrats in Congress and the liberal media, President Trump came out yesterday and proceeded to throw her under the proverbial school bus.
“The Special Olympics will be funded, I just told my people, ‘I want to fund the Special Olympics,'” the president told reporters outside of the White House ahead of his trip to Michigan. “I have overridden my people.”
Because of course he did. That’s what he always does. His supporters are sent out with their designated talking points and then Trump cuts them off at the knees. Why anyone is still willing to defend him I cannot comprehend.
But this whole episode just illustrates the futility of trying to rein in our federal spending. We’ve gone way past the point of only funding items that the Constitution specifies are under the responsibilities of the federal government. Nobody even stops to question that anymore. No, if it’s “good” then of course it must be funded with tax payer money and once funded it must never, ever be cut. This is why we have a $20 trillion national debt. This is why the deficit hit record numbers despite a Republican president and Congress. But don’t blame THEM. If cutting even such a minuscule part of the budget elicits this much outcry, then imagine what would happen if we started to cut the big stuff. Someone on Twitter pointed out that the $18 million dollars for Special Olympics amounts to about 5 golf trips for the president to Mar-A-Lago. (Wonder how many it would take to fund the wall?) It’s basically a rounding error in the federal budget.
So, why do Republicans always do this? Remember, Devos is the head of the federal Department of Education. That’s one of the 3 cabinet level departments that Rick Perry once advocated eliminating (well, that and the department he’s now the head of.) But every time someone suggests eliminating it, or funding for PBS, or Special Olympics, Americans howl like scalded cats and we automatically back down. Whoever proposed this cut should be fired. All they accomplished was giving the liberal media something else to complain about besides the Mueller report and to once again make Republicans look like the evil meanies who hate poor people and handicapped kids.
I’m a firm believer that we need large painful cuts in federal spending before we destroy our economy. But before we propose any, we have to be prepared to take the heat and stand by them. Otherwise, we’re just handing our opponents ammunition to use against us.