NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Obama's Education Budget Could Hit Taxpayers Hard

April 17, 2015

President Obama's budget grows federal intervention in nearly every aspect of education, from preschool (including spending on programs for "expectant mothers") through "free" community college.

The budget increases spending on programs operated by the U.S. Department of Education by more than 5 percent, from $67.1 billion (2015 enacted level) to $70.7 billion — a $3.6 billion increase. Two of the most significant expansions of federal intervention in education come in the form of "free" preschool and childcare, provided by Washington, and "free" community college, also footed by federal taxpayers.

Here is Obama's preschool budget request:

  • $750 million in Preschool Development Grants (up from $500 million currently).
  • $907 million for early intervention preschool (up $115 million from last year).
  • A new $15 million in funding dedicated to autism programs; and increased spending on the Child Care Development Block Grant program to the tune of $266 million.

The budget also includes the Administration's "Expanding Access to Quality Child Care for Working Families" proposal, which aims to spend $82 billion in mandatory funding over 10 years to provide child care to all low-income and moderate-income families with children ages three or younger.

The federal government currently operates 45 early learning and childcare programs. Taxpayers spend more than $20 billion annually to finance them. And in all, between two-thirds and three-quarters of four-year-old children are already enrolled in some form of preschool or care program. Efforts to grow government preschool would be duplicative of existing options, and, instead of assisting families with unmet needs, would create an unnecessary preschool subsidy for middle-income and upper-income families.

Source: Romina Boccia and Michael Sargent, "$4 Trillion and Counting: President Obama's 2016 Budget Presents a Vision of Government Largess," Heritage Foundation, March 26, 2015. 


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