Under the media's radar, Obama has been aggressively promoting one of his fiscally extravagant projects announced in his 2013 State of the Union Address: "preschool available to every single child in America." The plan for the federal government to take over the care of preschool children, a longtime goal of the feminists that used to be called universal childcare, is now (probably to sound academic) called pre-K.
The Obama administration downplays the $75 billion initial cost of pre-K by claiming it can be covered by raising the federal tax on cigarettes from $1.01 to $1.95. But cigarette taxes were hiked just a few years ago, and this massive sales tax falls harder on low-income Americans.
The game plan is to bait the states into accepting this expensive pre-K plan by offering them bundles of new federal money, such as $308 million in grants dangled in front of Texas for just one year, requiring only a one-tenth match by the state. Of course, big blue-state California would receive the most funding, $334 million in the first year.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan was asked if he could re-direct existing federal education funds to cover the cost of pre-K. No, Obama wants "a massive influx of resources," instead of using existing funds more efficiently.
Duncan has become a peripatetic salesman for Obama's "Pre-K for All" initiative, traveling to make his sales talk personally to Republican governors in Georgia, Michigan and Virginia, with Alabama, Kentucky, Ohio and Minnesota on his future travel schedule. The game plan is to sell Republican governors on agreeing to take the money and then to lobby Republican Members of Congress to vote for the necessary tax increase.
Four years ago, the Obama plan to take control of education received a windfall, $4.3 billion from the stimulus fund without strings. That money was used largely to finance another Obama plan, Race to the Top, which in turn was used to coopt the states into signing on to the unpopular national standards called Common Core.
The presumed goal of pre-kindergarten classes is to close or narrow the academic gap between poor and privileged kids when they enter kindergarten. However, the billions of dollars spent for that purpose for many years have done nothing to achieve that goal.
The principal reason for the gap is the difference between kids who live with their own mother and father and those who don't. There are no plans to reduce the tremendous financial incentives of taxpayers' money doled out that discourage marriage and incentivize illegitimacy.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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