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Challenge for Teaparty: can you justify cuts to literacy programs (including Reading is Fundamental)?

Earlier this year, spending by the Department of Education was cut by $750 million at least temporarily by ending or cutting back literacy and other programs. One of those affected was the organization Reading Is Fundamental; all the $24.8 million they were getting from the feds was eliminated. You can read their impassioned plea here, and EdWeek has a round-up of the cuts here. Federal spending is, of course, a fluid thing so some of that funding might have come back in the succeeding four months.

But, obviously, much of it isn't coming back, and those in the tea parties and libertarians camp - and now the GOP under their sway - don't want it to come back. In fact, they want to get rid of even more:

"The president... needs to take much more than a scalpel to the Department of Education's budget - there’s room to take an ax," said Lindsey Burke, a policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation, a Washington think tank.

Thus, my question to those in the teaparties or libertarian camps: how's this all supposed to work? What's the end game here?

Leaving aside the details of particular programs, would anyone in the teaparties or libertarian camps care to justify cuts to literacy programs in general?

What downsides can you see in such cuts? Can you see any downsides? Please list any downsides you see in comments, and if you don't I'll assume you think everything's gravy.

What would be the total cost of cuts to literacy programs? Would it equal or exceed the total savings from the cuts?

If you say that private organizations will rush in to provide literacy programs or to fund them, then present specific examples from all across the country in comments. If you can't prove that all the literacy programs that were cut were replaced with private alternatives, and if you can't prove that literacy programs aren't needed, then... help me figure that one out.

And, if you blame Obama for the cuts in one way or another, then you're implicitly agreeing that cuts to literacy programs aren't a good idea.

I have a feeling that this challenge for teaparty will get as much of a response as my challenge for them to tell me how they opposed George W Bush, but surprise me.

Mon, 07/25/2011 - 08:47 · Importance: 4