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Joe Biden Wants A New Deal (Washington Examiner) September 24, 2021

Posted by daviddavenport in Op/Eds.
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President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal was launched nearly 90 years ago, but it is the government model that we live under today.

The New Deal dramatically expanded the size and the role of the federal government. Besides enormous growth in federal agencies, government spending, and regulation, the New Deal used the government to create and guarantee economic security, from making up jobs to establishing social security and beyond.

In the 1960s, President Lyndon Johnson added to the New Deal’s promise of economic security by launching a war on poverty, which continues to be fought today, and Medicare for seniors. President Barack Obama further expanded the New Deal by including healthcare as a basic right available to all.

President Joe Biden’s plans, however, go well beyond this. What Biden seeks can only be called a new New Deal. Two important questions need to be asked:

  1. Does the United States need a new New Deal?
  2. Will America remain the same if we allow Biden to create a new deal? Put another way, do we want a system of much greater government intervention?

The government’s size, measured by its spending or employees, has grown under both Republican and Democratic administrations. These days, the real measure of bigger or smaller government is to look at the extent of its activity in our individual lives. Measured in that way, Biden’s proposed $3.5 trillion spending bill clearly constitutes a new New Deal.

Biden seeks changes to everything from education to social welfare, from climate change to the economy. All this would be paid for by a Roosevelt-sized increase in federal spending, plus a major overhaul of the tax code. In other words, Biden is shooting for the moon, seeking to undo any limitations on government imposed during the Reagan Revolution of the 1980s.

The details of the $3.5 trillion plan are being negotiated, but note how sweeping the proposals are. In education, for example, it won’t just expand Head Start or support for preschool, but the bill would create universal preschool for 5 million children ages 3-4. The proposals include huge allocations for family and child care support. Not only will there be significant growth in aid for college education, but the first two years of community college would be tuition-free. Free universal preschool and two years of free college: That’s a new education deal.

Same with Medicare. Not just more assistance but a whole new deal, including dental, vision, and hearing coverage. The possibility of lowering the eligibility age is on the table. A new deal for seniors.

Unlike the original New Deal, Biden’s new deal could be passed by votes from just one political party. It’s difficult to accept that a president elected by 51% of the people would launch a whole new deal on a narrow party-line basis.

We have many challenges during this pandemic. But are we prepared to change our education, healthcare, tax code, and economic system just because of the virus?

To read the column at the Washington Examiner:

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/joe-biden-wants-a-new-deal

Civic Education Webinar with Senator John Cornyn and David Davenport Monday, Sept. 20 September 16, 2021

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Covid-19 Poses Risk of Permanently Big Government (Washington Examiner) September 7, 2021

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The coronavirus pandemic risks fueling a permanent expansion of government.

President Biden’s proposed plan to spend $3.5 trillion on cradle-to-grave social programs is clear evidence of this risk. But we’re also seeing tension as federal programs to augment unemployment support come to an end.

As eminent political scientist James Q. Wilson wrote of President Lyndon Johnson’s aggressive Great Society programs in the 1960s, they “lowered the legitimacy barrier” for government action. Previously, there had been debate over whether the federal government had the power to act on domestic problems such as welfare, education, urban renewal, etc. But thanks to Johnson, that debate essentially ended. Any “new” domestic program was not really new — it was arguably an expansion of what the government was already doing.

This is a consequence of COVID-19 as well: we have gotten comfortable with increased government spending everywhere — from health to education to unemployment and housing. Biden’s new $3.5 trillion social program would grow not only government spending, but also its role in people’s lives. How about paid family leave for births? Free or affordable child care? Two years of universal pre-K schooling? An increased child tax credit? Two years of free college? Expansion of Medicare to cover dental and vision?

Pre-COVID, such a vast program would likely have been near impossible to pass. People would have called it socialism, a move away from individualism toward the social welfare systems of Europe. But now? Well, COVID-19 has opened the gates to greater federal support.

My fear is that this support will be permanent. The history of declared states of emergency provides evidence. There are 30 national emergencies that have remained in effect for years, even decades. President Jimmy Carter declared the oldest in the late 1970s. Emergencies may come and go, but emergency declarations and powers persist.

Ultimately, COVID-19 poses risks to our democracy if, as James Q. Wilson said, it makes us more comfortable with increased government power and intrusion.

To read the column at the Washington Examiner:

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/covid-19-poses-risk-of-permanently-big-government

Civics Education: Let It Bloom (Defining Ideas) August 21, 2021

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It’s that time of year when summer fades and school reopens. Before we leave the summer, however, we should acknowledge that never have we seen so much debate and discussion about the teaching of civics and US history than in the past several months. 

civics “roadmap,” funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and developed by three hundred scholars and practitioners, has been released. This document seeks to foster both improvement in civic education and the use of civics to bridge some of America’s deep divisions. Meanwhile, in Washington, DC, a $1 billion “Civics Secures Democracy Act” was introduced with bipartisan support. To counter the “1619 Project” (which seeks to focus on the arrival of African slaves as America’s true founding), a competing “1776 Curriculum” was developed. The Fordham Institute recently published a 370-page report grading all the states in civics and history education; the results were not pretty. 

Plenty of noise, and some action, have filled state legislatures on the subject of US history and civics. Bills banning the teaching of certain topics, especially critical race theory, have been introduced in twenty-six states and enacted in eleven of them. Perhaps it is not surprising in these hyperpartisan times that civics and history would become highly politicized.

As we look across this lively civic education landscape, I note two kinds of efforts that seem to be under way: the planting of seeds and the abatement of weeds. I would argue that we need a lot more seed planting—improving and deepening civics education—and less time and energy spent on the admittedly important, but less vital, work of weed pulling.

Planting Seeds

The need for more robust and effective civic education has become apparent to nearly everyone by now. National test results show that only 24 percent of eighth-graders (the only level at which such tests are now administered) are proficient or better in civics and government and an anemic 15 percent in US history. Americans, especially the young, are unable to answer fundamental questions about our government and how it works. They do not know any of the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment and could not pass the civics test of the citizenship process. Many think Judge Judy is on the Supreme Court. 

Last year I published a studyCommonsense Solutions to Our Civics Crisis, for the Orrin G. Hatch Foundation on the poor state of civic education and what should to be done to improve it. The two most important actions recommended were requiring more time on the study of civics in our schools, including primary and middle school as well as high school, and better teacher training. The former has become a major problem as standardized testing in reading and math and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education have overtaken the curriculum, pushing civics to the side. 

As we look at the civics landscape, then, we can take encouragement from seeds being planted along those lines. Rhode Island, for example, long one of the states that required no civic education, has added a course requirement. New Jersey has added a new course requirement for civics in middle school. Since we need to start teaching civics in elementary and middle school, and building a layer cake of knowledge, this is a promising step. The governor of Tennessee has awarded a civics seal to schools and districts doing a great job of teaching history and civics. Florida, long a leader in civic education, has begun requiring the teaching of history and civics through primary documents, which is a best practice. 

We celebrate the planting of these seeds and hope for much, much more. The gold standard is a requirement of some civics in the primary and middle school grades, culminating with a one-year (not just a one-semester) course in high school. A standardized civics test at the end of the course or as a graduation requirement has also been shown to improve civic learning. As we increase the civics curriculum, we must do more teacher training, especially in the use of primary documents, which replace boring and often biased textbooks with improved learning. 

Pulling Weeds

The twentieth-century writer Thomas Mann could have been commenting on our day when he said, “Everything is politics.” Howard Zinn was among the first to politicize history and civics education with his textbook, A People’s History of the United States, first published in 1980. Zinn’s book attacks everyone from Christopher Columbus to the American founders for their selfish motives in overrunning indigenous and poor people.  His attack on the American story continues throughout his history, writing, as he said, on the side of the oppressed. Initially used as a supplemental text or alternative narrative, Zinn’s book became widely used in high school and college classes.

In more recent times, the “1619 Project,” published by the New York Times, raised political and economic questions about the founding of America, seeking to push back the founding from 1776 to 1619, when the first slaves arrived on the continent. According to this account, the economics of slavery were the founding reality, not the American Revolution or its constitution. Now, critical race theory argues that the whole American system is racist and education must take that into account. The tug of war between progressives, who advocate these changes in the teaching of history and civics, and conservatives, who seek to preserve the teaching of American excellence and exceptionalism, is now playing out in our children’s education.

Specifically, most state legislatures have been considering bills to ban the teaching of critical race theory and companion ideas about racism. This has begun to resemble the old arcade game of Whac-A-Mole, in which rodents pop up and the player seeks to beat them back down, one by one. When a liberal idea for teaching civics and history pops up, conservative lawmakers seek to beat it down with bills withholding funding if these theories are taught in schools. Without question, there are some noxious weeds in the civics and history garden, but the question arises whether passing bills banning the teaching of this or that is the best response. For one thing, it further politicizes the teaching of history and civics and sets a precedent for further such wars. For another, it consumes state legislatures, which should be giving attention instead to increasing civics course requirements and teacher training.

It has long been understood that an important and more sustainable approach to weed management is to develop and grow crops that can compete successfully in the garden. If we began building civic knowledge in the primary school years, students would develop greater judgment and stronger resistance to bad ideas later. If we taught history and civics using primary documents—not only the Constitution, Declaration, etc., but speeches and debates of the time—we could prepare students to reach their own conclusions, not those of textbooks or even teachers. The Ashbrook Center in Ohio does a fabulous job of training thousands of teachers in this method.

Professor Alexander Astin of UCLA has long argued that what educators need to do to improve our democracy is to help students develop a “crap detector.” That is to say, there will always be weeds in the garden, especially in a country devoted to the free flow of speech and ideas. Education, then, needs to help students develop detectors and resist bad ideas on their own, not simply be protected from them. Such protective approaches are akin to the problem of “lawnmower parents” who seek to protect their kids by removing every obstacle or problem in their path. Unfortunately, then, we develop children who lack judgment and resilience. As we sometimes say of the First Amendment, rather than prohibit bad speech we do not like, we need to overcome bad speech with good. 

I am not saying we should not resist the spending of public money on these unfortunate theories and false narratives. What I am saying is that politics and law are not necessarily the best way to accomplish our goals. The all-or-nothing arguments of “1619” or critical race theory being attacked by an all-or-nothing ban teaches students the wrong lesson. Most ideas are not all or nothing. Students need to see and deal with the gray areas as well. 

Dig In

Planting seeds of improved civics and history education is a high priority and must be encouraged at all levels. As President Reagan said in his farewell address, we need parents at the dinner table talking to their kids about America, helping them develop into “informed patriots.” We need primary and middle schools teaching civics as well as history, followed by a yearlong civics course in high school and perhaps standardized testing as well. This is job one if we want to reverse the civic education decline we have seen over the past fifty years.

Unfortunately, at the moment, the weed pulling is getting more attention than seed planting. What we see are adults (scholars and politicians, largely) playing out their political wars on the battlefield of their children’s education. In the garden of life, and of education, seed planting will make a greater long-term impact than weed pulling. 

To read the essay at Defining Ideas:

https://www.hoover.org/research/civics-education-let-it-bloom

Masking Children: Who Decides? (Washington Examiner) August 19, 2021

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If you are confused about whether children should wear masks to school this fall, join the crowd.

More to the point: Do you even know whose decision that is? With conflicting advice about the science of masking children, federalism battles among federal, state, and local powers, and pandemic political posturing all around, it is nearly impossible to figure out who is in charge here.

A recent decision by the Texas Supreme Court presents a microcosm of the larger problems. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order in May, which he expanded in July, to ban the mandated wearing of masks by any government entity, including schools. Concerned about the rapid spread of the delta variant of the coronavirus, some of the state’s largest school districts nevertheless mandated the wearing of masks. The state’s Supreme Court ruled recently that the governor’s ban of mask mandates should prevail, at least for now.

There are both legal and political ironies in all this. With a Republican governor, and an all-Republican state Supreme Court, one might expect a stronger push for federalism, allowing local government entities (including schools) to control their own fates. But mask mandates are seen as a challenge to individual freedom, also a core conservative principle. Legally, it seems unusual for a state emergency power, normally used to take action, to instead prevent action under local emergency powers.

The story does not end there, of course. Some schools are ignoring the ruling until it applies more fully and specifically to them and proceeding with mask mandates. Another added masking to its dress code, an attempt to skirt around the mask mandate for now. Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C., President Joe Biden indicated that he is exploring the use of federal civil rights law to protect mask mandates in schools.

Although both Presidents Donald Trump and Joe Biden declared national states of emergency regarding COVID-19, much of the real action has been left to states and local governments. In California, for example, where state regulations came early in the pandemic, counties were nevertheless the level at which a variety of masking and distancing rules were applied. Although the pandemic was a worldwide problem, local conditions varied, making it appropriate in our federalist system for local and state governments to take the lead.

Applying federalism to the question of masking in schools, it seems like individual districts should be able to make their own decisions. Clearly, conditions in some states and cities vary widely. Policies that make sense in more urban areas may not apply to a rural district. Then, too, people are more likely to honor the rules when they have a voice in making them. Besides, this is not like rules for flying, a situation in which many different people are exposed to one another. Rules in one school district need not have an extended effect beyond their borders.

At the end of the day, one worries that politicians making their political points about mandates and freedom are taking priority over federalism and student safety. Whether students should wear masks in school is a tough enough call without politicians in Washington or state capitals seeking to make a political statement out of it.

Masking in school is a decision for school communities, not for remote politicians and courts.

To read the column at the Washington Examiner:

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/masking-children-who-decides

The Flurry Of Civic Education Bills In State State Legislatures Is Not The Real Solution (Washington Examiner) August 3, 2021

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To read the headlines, you would think all state legislatures are doing is passing voting rights laws. But look again and you’ll find that some 34 states have been considering 88 bills concerning civic education.

On one hand, you might be encouraged to know that states are working to improve civic education. After all, the most recently reported national tests show that only 24% of 8th graders are proficient or better in civics and government, with a meager 15% proficient in U.S. history. The federal government has largely abandoned civics, spending $54 per student per year on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education and only 5 cents on civics. Certainly, somebody needs to do something.

The problem is that the state legislatures are stirred up over the wrong things. What we need is to require and teach more civics. Instead of just a single course in high school, which is the low bar set in most states, we need civics to be taught from kindergarten throughout the grades, building a layer cake of civic knowledge, culminating with a full-year course in high school. Yet only a few states are moving in that direction.

Rhode Island has finally decided to require some teaching of civics. New Jersey recently added a requirement to teach a civics course in middle school as well as high school. Florida, long a leader in civic education, now requires it be taught in all grades. These are examples of what states should do: Set higher bars for civics requirements in their schools. Following on such increased requirements, states should also assure that proper teacher training is available to teach the new civics curriculum.

But the rest of the bills have very little to do with improving civic education at all. Instead, most of the bills are arguments over the content of American history, especially the founding. According to Education Week, legislators have introduced bills in 20 states to restrict teaching about racism, with eight states having passed such bills. These bills are attempts to weed the U.S. history garden of progressive initiatives such as the 1619 Project (about slavery) and critical race theory (about systemic racism). These may be arguments worth having. But they are not about improving civic education, and they do not belong in state legislatures.

Proponents of the 1619 Project and critical race theory are not attempting to improve civic education, but rather to make political points using U.S. history and civics. Others, such as a recent Roadmap Project in civics, seek to fix America by means of civics, not improve the teaching of civics per se. As Shawn Healy, an executive with iCivics, put it: “Things are not going well in our democracy, and civics can heal some of these divides.” Not likely with 24% proficiency.

What America needs most in civic education is to require more of it to be taught from grades K-12. Let scholars have their debates about racism and slavery. But legislatures should not be passing bills about the content of history; rather, they should be requiring more teaching of history and civics.

There are a lot of bad ideas out there about the teaching of history and civics. Action civics — requiring students to get out in the community and serve or protest — would put the cart of civic engagement before the horse of civic knowledge. The latest — called “lived civics” — would start with where students live, not with the knowledge they need to learn. Good civics is the same as other school subjects: knowledge. It’s not about experience; it’s not about how you feel. It’s what you need to know to understand our country and its systems, so we raise up good citizens.

State legislatures have a vital role to play in the teaching of civics. But it’s not redefining civics and history; it’s about requiring that more civic knowledge be taught in their schools.

To read the article at the Washington Examiner:

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/the-flurry-of-civic-education-bills-in-state-legislatures-is-not-the-real-solution

Civics Forward (Webinar with US Chamber of Commerce Foundation) July 22, 2021

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I did a 30 minute webinar today with Hanna Skandera on civic education in America for the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation. The Youtube is available here: https://youtu.be/_yaX9dws3DI

Affordable Housing Crisis Creates Federalism Tug of War (Washington Examiner) June 18, 2021

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Longtime Speaker of the House of Representatives Tip O’Neill might once have been right when he said, “All politics is local.” These days, one wonders.

Now, everything seems to be a federal case. From K-12 education to the condition of bridges and highways, from how we vote to what farmers can grow, Washington seemingly has its hand in everything.

Now, a new case study in the erosion of local power is presenting itself in California and elsewhere. Pressure to address an affordable housing shortage is prompting state government, and probably soon enough Washington as well, to override local control over zoning laws and land-use planning. People who bought into comfortable suburbs with single-house lots suddenly find their American dream may be crowded out and diminished by distant government mandates to build more and denser housing in their backyards.

As usual, California is on the bleeding edge of this change. California’s Regional Housing Needs Allocation law has long required municipalities to plan for the housing needs of their residents. The state’s Department of Housing and Community Development then decides whether cities are compliant, and, if not, it may assign and enforce new goals. With a crisis in affordable housing, accompanied by a homelessness crisis, the goals for new and affordable housing are growing astronomically, and the state is rattling its enforcement sword. The Bay Area’s assigned growth increase of 135% is breathtaking but typical.Recommended Video

A new bill before the California legislature, Senate Bill 9, would up the ante considerably. If passed, the bill would allow single-family lots to be split into duplexes (and in certain cases even more units) with only ministerial approval. Previous bills, and others still working through the legislature, would allow greater heights and densities near transit systems.

Amid threats and lawsuits, there is now a major pushback in this housing tug of war. California Assembly member Al Muratsuchi has authored a constitutional amendment allowing city or county zoning and land-use regulations to “prevail over conflicting general laws.” It would, in effect, give local officials the ability to overturn state housing mandates in their jurisdictions, returning zoning to a matter of local control. It will be tough to enact, but it creates an important new battlefront.

There is a lot going on both on the surface and below. One issue is how readily our legislators turn to one-size-fits-all solutions whenever they face a crisis. The affordable housing crisis took decades to develop and now, suddenly, we face an emergency in which the state has to take over policies long considered a matter for local governments. The diseases in Washington of governing by executive order and emergency declarations have spread to the states.

Then, too, there seems to be little regard for placing responsibility for solutions on those who helped cause the problem. Local governments are excited when large new tech companies choose to locate in their cities and counties, with little regard for what this will do to housing, transportation, and the like. Instead, these state mandates for new housing are assigned across the state, from large cities to tiny ocean hamlets regardless of their role in creating or perpetuating a housing shortage.

On the surface, this is an important battle pitting the need for affordable housing against the rights of property owners who put their life savings into their American dream home and neighborhood. Below the surface, this is a political tug of war over who decides housing policy. The state would do well to loosen regulations that make building new houses so expensive and provide funding for affordable housing experiments and projects. But the actual decisions on zoning and land-use need to be left closer to home, in local governments.

To read the column at the Washington Examiner:

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/affordable-housing-crisis-creates-federalism-tug-of-war

Students Are Caught in the Crossfire of US History Wars (Washington Examiner) June 7, 2021

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Even as we draw down troops from lengthy wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, we are caught up in cyberwarfare, apparently with the Russians, everywhere from our meat processing plants to our oil pipelines and healthcare systems. In domestic policy, we are still fighting a war on poverty, declared by President Lyndon Johnson in 1964, not to mention wars on crime, drugs, terrorism, and, yes, even obesity and cancer, all declared by later presidents.

Now, our country is in a history war. It is a civil war, against one another, over some of the same issues on which the Union and the Confederacy battled to the death over 150 years ago. At one level, it is a battle of ideas — which ideas will be taught in classrooms and textbooks of America’s schools. Should we begin teaching that the founding of America dates not from the revolution in 1776 and the Constitution in 1787 but from the arrival of slaves in 1619, as the New York Times’s 1619 Project proposes? Must critical race theory, the idea that America has been and still is a racist nation, now be central to U.S. history (and even math) curricula?

At another level, this has become a war in state legislatures. Several states are considering and passing bills banning the teaching of the 1619 Project and of critical race theory in their schools. It looks like the old arcade game whack-a-mole as evil curricular ideas pop up and are slammed down one at a time in legislative warfare.

The history wars are also teaching students the wrong lessons. For one thing, the history warriors implicitly claim history is either black or white; it’s all one way or all the other. It isn’t enough for the 1619 Project to say that slavery prior to the establishment of the nation is important and should be studied. No, the 1619 Project, by its own terms, seeks to “reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery … at the very center of our national narrative.” It seeks not to add to 1776 and 1787 but to replace them with a new starting point in our nation’s history. The opponents are equally strident, claiming the project should not be taught at all.

Critical race theory is similarly all or nothing in its approach. It isn’t just that racism is a problem, but what must be taught is that the entire system is racist and that this affects everything. Black or white. All or nothing.

What students need is not more wars and attempts to indoctrinate them. They need a toolkit to understand history and reach their own conclusions. In that toolkit, they need a few shades of gray, not just black and white. They need to understand that there are both successes and failures in our history, that even heroes have their flaws. Also in their toolkit, they need eyeglasses to see the time they are studying, not just their 21st-century social justice lenses. They need to appreciate what the founders called “moderation,” the ability to see nuances and reason through them.

In the end, the history wars are not primarily about the students, as education should be. Rather, they are about adults carrying out political warfare on the battleground of their children’s education. Shame on them for making students the injured bystanders in their political wars.

To read the column at the Washington Examiner:

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/students-are-caught-in-the-crossfire-of-us-history-wars

The Danger of Bringing Back Big Government (Washington Examiner) May 19, 2021

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In the debate between liberals and conservatives, the role of government is a favorite topic. After decades of growth in the size and role of the federal government, Ronald Reagan famously began his presidency in the 1980s by saying, “Government is not the solution to our problems; government is the problem.” Even Democrat Bill Clinton acknowledged in the 1990s that “the era of big government is over.”

Well, big government is back in the 2020s. President Joe Biden is proposing nearly $6 trillion in new government spending, doubling the entire federal budget for 2021. Biden told Congress and the nation last month, “We have to prove that government still works and can deliver for our people.” COVID-19 relief, infrastructure, education, child care, unemployment relief — seemingly nothing is beyond the scope of Biden’s federal government. Increased federal powers and spending from the coronavirus crisis are rolling forward into all aspects of life.

One way to measure the size of government, of course, is to look at federal spending, and here, Biden is on track to set new records. But the fact is that when Republicans were in power, they, too, frequently overspent as well. Even Ronald Reagan, who preached cutting government size and spending, was only able to slow the rate of increase. People are numb to the burgeoning size of the federal debt.

A better way to look at big government, especially in these times, is how much of our lives and activities it moves into and ultimately takes over. If people have come to accept the size of big government, it is the role of the federal government where we need to hold the line.Recommended Video

To put the matter sharply into focus, we have come to accept a government role in retirement (Social Security) and healthcare (Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare). Now, Biden would add a major role in education, from child care and preschool to college, to the federal portfolio. Moreover, his broad ideas about infrastructure include everything from climate change to the internet, his beloved Amtrak, home caregiving, and even semiconductors. This is a massive expansion of the federal footprint.

Take education, for example, which has long been a state and local, not a federal, matter. President George W. Bush, with bipartisan leadership from Sen. Ted Kennedy, greatly expanded the federal role in K-12 education by the adoption of the No Child Left Behind law in 2002 and its regimen of federal testing and consequences. It is one of few cases in which a federal takeover of state powers was turned back: When No Child Left Behind was not renewed, it was replaced with the Every Student Succeeds Act in 2015.https://d9376e5f5b5d530c995789eb0fe5cf8b.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

Now, Biden would expand the federal role in education again by spending huge sums of money to increase child care, preschool, and K-12 education. Biden would grow the Department of Education budget by an astonishing 41%. Forgiveness of student college debt, another huge policy change, is still on the table. As we should have learned from No Child Left Behind, all that extra federal spending in education will greatly increase Washington’s role in K-12 policies and programs.

Similarly, the infrastructure bill inserts Washington into all kinds of issues that have been the purview of either states, individuals, or markets. We would all expect infrastructure to include work on roads, bridges, and water systems, and the bill does. But do we really need the federal government guaranteeing “high speed broadband to all Americans”? Is home caregiving truly a part of the nation’s infrastructure, which requires spending and involvement by Washington? Aren’t idle buildings and electrifying vehicles questions for industry or urban areas, not our nation’s capital?

All this massive new federal spending comes at exactly the wrong time with inflation already on the rise. But the greater danger is moving the federal government into everything from home healthcare to electric vehicles and beyond. That is the kind of big government we need to turn back.

To read the column at the Washington Examiner:

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/the-danger-of-bringing-back-big-government