I went through the numbers on education yesterday. Let me go through this again. I did this at the latter part of the program yesterday. Everybody in this country is wailing and moaning and whining about education. We don’t spend enough money on education. I mean every day you hear some Democrat whining about how we’re under-funding education and all this. The fact of the matter is 1989, Ronald Reagan leaves office and his tax cuts, top marginal rate, 70% down to 28% from ’81 to ’89, the total take to the treasury in 1989, and that’s only, what, 13 or 14 years ago? It’s not that long ago, total take to the treasury, $915 billion. Today, 2003, the federal budget is over 2.2 trillion, and of that 2.2 trillion how many of you know what we’re spending on education? I know a lot of you think that it’s not enough. We’re spending $745 billion, and actually that number is 2001-2002. It’s not the most recent number, probably $11 to 15 billion higher, but we’ll stick with what’s cast in stone, $745 billion. We’re spending $745 billion on education, more than any country in the world. It’s not even close. Our test scores are less, we’re want anywhere near the top, we’re not getting any kind of a bang for the buck for it, $745 billion we’re spending on education, only 13 or 14 years ago the total take to the treasury was $915 billion, and there are Democrats and even some Republicans who want to try to convey the notion that we’re not spending enough on education.
Meanwhile, total Iraq war expenditures are in the neighborhood of $142 billion. The Medicare entitlement is going to start out at $400 billion. Nobody is demanding itemized costs of that. Nobody is demanding itemized costs of anything but the expenses from the military. $745 billion on education. And nobody is demanding to know where it goes! Nobody is demanding to know where it’s been. Yet we’re nowhere near under-funded. Now, do you think we’ve got a surplus on the books that’s going to survive with this kind of run away spending? That’s just one department. The next time you hear that we are not spending enough on education, blow it up, it’s crazy. We spend $300 billion a year on defense, the defense of the country, for crying out loud. We’re spending close to three times that on education. And then you look at all the entitlements that by definition never end, the war on Iraq is going to end. This money is at some point going to end up being spent. Not so with education, not so with Social Security, not so with Medicare. And not so with this new Medicare prescription drug entitlement. It just keeps growing, and there’s no end in sight to it. And yet everybody is focused on Iraq, everybody is focused on the defense budget. Well, the Democrats are. It’s irresponsible. And, again, this silly notion that we’re under-funding education, don’t buy it because it’s nowhere near the case.
About Medicare, this is a good sign. I had this yesterday, didn’t have a chance to get to it, but the news is still out there today. Let me pass it on. Thirteen conservative Republican lawmakers in the House threatened yesterday to oppose the Medicare prescription drug program if it costs more than $400 billion over the next decade. The letter was written by representative Patrick Toomey, a Republican of Pennsylvania. He urged fellow House members to hold the line on spending and resist any efforts to water down the bill to obtain a compromise with the Senate. He said, “Our deep reservations about the fiscal soundness of the prescription drug bill have been heightened by the recently released Congressional Budget Office report on this bill. Just days after we voted for a bill advertised as costing less than $400 billion, CBO revised its estimates, and now believes the cost of the bill will significantly exceed $400 billion.” The conservatives who described themselves in the letter as having voted reluctantly for the Medicare package earlier this summer said they would only support a compromise that includes no price controls on the domestic drug industry and an expansion of health care savings accounts.
Now, we’ve got 13 people out of 435 in the House, out of 100 in the Senate, we’ve got 13 people trying to be responsible. Only 13. They’re doing everything they can to keep this within reason. $400 billion is said to be in reason. That’s a little out of proportion to me as well, especially when you realize this is an entitlement that nowhere near a majority of people want. In fact, quite a few of the so-called beneficiaries of this bill don’t want it at all. They’re very happy in their requirement plan with a company they used to work, they’re going to get shoved out of those plans and pushed into Medicare. And they don’t want to go there. But it doesn’t matter. And this bill is going to provide prescription drugs for people who are totally capable of buying them themselves, and the backs of those who can’t afford it are going to be the backs of those who have to pay for this. But that doesn’t matter, because this is all about buying votes, creating more dependence, creating more dependence on government, and doing anything possible to make sure that people who can provide for themselves do so. Can’t have that. That’s not what the government is about any more. No, government’s got to be big, government’s got to be active, government’s got to do lots of good things, even when people don’t want it.
So here’s all this run-away, out of control spending, and everybody is focusing on Iraq. $87 billion. And guess what? Much of that $87 billion is not even earmarked for Iraq. A lot of it’s earmarked for the war on terror. Some of it goes to Afghanistan, some of it goes to the general war on terror. And yet the Democrats are demanding to know where every dime of it goes, and yet no other budget item do they care about such a thing. And now in the midst of all this, and I would say in the midst of all this you have a classic illustration of government expenditures that really are oriented toward the safety of the American people, doing the best we can to see to it that there are no more massive terrorist attacks on our soil, and that’s the plan that they want to scrutinize down to the penny. They know they’re weak on it, so here comes Wesley Clark announcing his candidacy, and the Democrats embrace this because they know that with none of the other candidates and none of the other people that are running can they pass the test on are they suitable and trustworthy to govern. Somehow Wesley Clark makes them think they’ll get past that. We?ll see.