As someone who has [nearly] made it through college with financial aid programs, work-study, spending my own personal savings from high school, school loans, and funnelling summer job money into my education, I am appalled by the two-facedness of President Bush on the issues of competetiveness and education.
President Bush was handed not only his riches but also his presidency by a political dynasty and a largely unrecognized system of political nepotism. Other Americans have worked hard in the face of adversity, and are still given a raw deal with low wages, incomplete health coverage, and an uncertain future.
If we want to remain competitive, we have to preserve the American spirit that encourages rugged individualism, but we must also recognize that it is only when people break free of the shackles of ignorance that they can excel and contribute to our society.
In my view, the government’s primary domestic goal should be ensuring there be affordable (ideally free) education to all of its citizens so that they can be lifted out of the shackles of ignorance and thrust forward into upward economic mobility. This President treats education like an afterthought, first spearheading a bad program (No Child Left Behind) and then underfunding it. President Bush would seem to prefer if all schools were private like the ones he attended, accessible only to those fortunate to be born into rich households.
When will the $400 billion dollars we fruitlessly spend on “defense” (about 6 times more than China spends, they’re #2) start to be the target of cuts, instead of our precious few social programs and our public education system, which are so desperately in need of preservation and expansion?