Busting The Budget

Well, recently President Bush submitted his proposed budget to Congress, and it was a humdinger. (Of course, Congress still hasn’t passed the last one, but those are just trivial little details.) I’ll leave it up to others to dissect the finer details, but I had an idea that might be a fun little game:

Let’s pretend that you are put in charge of the federal budget. You can make a single change to the budget that no one can veto, amend, or overturn. You have the power to set federal policy for a single year when it comes to a single aspect of government spending. How would you use that power for the betterment of the nation?

Here’s my idea:

I would abolish the entire Department of Education. It doesn’t teach a damned thing to anyone; it’s just a home for a bunch of worthless government hacks who’ve found a way to avoid having to do real work.

The money currently spent on the Department of Education (just under $70 billion for the last year) I would divide in half. One half would go straight to federal deficit reduction. The other half I would divide by the total number of students enrolled in public schools (Kindergarten through college) and disburse to the states on a per capita basis to use as they see fit towards education.

I’m too damned lazy to work out the precise numbers, but I’d be willing to bet that $35 billion divided among the states would do a lot of good for a lot of students, and improve the hell out of the systems. It would allow the country to have 50 different laboratories, where each state can try its own solutions to improving public education. After each year (I’m presuming that my idea would be continued after that first year), the states could look at their own records and those of other states and see what has worked and what has not.

Hell, I might even keep one billion of that budget for annual conferences and other ways that the state administrators can exchange ideas and share results.

Anyway, that’s my notion for helping to fix the federal budget. Let’s hear your thoughts.

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