With well over 60% of Americans supporting spending cuts at a federal level and budget cuts becoming one of the key issues in the Presidential election, it stands to reason that fiscal responsibility will be a top priority, regardless of who is elected in November. If Obama wins, there will be massive pressure from the right and from those who vote for him to curb spending and balance the budget. If Romney wins, he will have been elected with a mandate of fiscal reform, and he will be expected to slash government spending.
The only question is, where will they do it? Obama’s team has consistently attacked Romney for not providing any details to back up his claims that he will cut spending and increase revenue. But it’s not as if Obama has been exactly forthcoming with details, either. Obama’s budgets have consistently increased spending; the only real spending cut the administration has to its credit is widely known as the fiscal cliff, which consists of a basket of cuts that no one in Congress or the country wants to see in action.
The lack of details makes it hard for the average American to figure out what either candidate’s policy ideas will mean. How will cuts affect each American individually? How will they affect “America” as a collective? Before going to the polls in November, voters need to know the answers to those questions if they are going to make an informed decision.
When it comes to cuts to education, the candidates are starkly divided. Obama has consistently voiced support for education, including increasing spending on programs to promote scientific excellence and innovation. Republicans have tried to paint the administration’s spending on education as a payoff to the teachers’ union, from which Obama receives unwavering support. And the Romney-Ryan ticket has expressed an inclination to cut education spending.
Ryan’s budget, for example, cuts billions of dollars in spending on public education without offering any direction for systemic reform to ensure that the cuts in funding don’t correlate to cuts in the quality of American kids’ education.
The fact is that without a reform policy solidly in place, any cut in education spending will be a cut in quality. At the very least, cutting spending on education will limit private sector spending on researching and developing programs that improve education. In recent years, dramatic advances have been made in overcoming learning disabilities. The Institute for Integrative Nutrition has pioneered holistic health, which can improve the quality of nutrition in schools. Scientists have developed various assistive technologies for children with physical disabilities.
If conservative policymakers had their way, schools wouldn’t have money to waste on new products that might or might not work. Without that money, there wouldn’t be a market for new teaching technology. Without that market, development would grind to a halt, and our kids would lose their advantage in an increasingly competitive world.