We all want American children to have better education, and the Right and Left seem only to disagree on how to achieve that goal. Well, at least that’s what we thought.
The leftwing publication The Nation let the cat out of the bag recently, revealing the real reason behind the Left’s most recent universal pre-K push.
“The problem that universal pre-K programs address is not simply the need for more enriching early childhood education,” The Nation’s executive editor Betsy Reed writes. “The bigger problem is the huge and growing gap between rich and poor.”
Yep, that’s it. Universal pre-K may or may not help the children (there are a lot of reason to think it won’t), but at least it can take money from the rich. After all, when the rich are richer than the poor, well, you know, that’s bad.
Not once does Reed explain why inequality is bad, nor why taking money from the rich is more important than improving education. Instead, she praises New York mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan as “less a data-driven long-term intervention in the ‘great divide’ [in education] than an attempt to achieve wealth redistribution in the here and now, in a city that sorely needs it.”
That’s why Reed praises de Blasio’s plan over Governor Andrew Cuomo’s. Cuomo wants to create a universal pre-K program without raising taxes whereas de Blasio wants to create a universal pre-K program funded by taxes on people who make $500,000 or more a year.
It is generally wise to be wary of a politician who says, “Here’s a new great program, and, guess what, it won’t cost us a dime!” but Reed does not even attempt to argue that Cuomo’s plan is practically unfeasible. Instead, she praises de Blasio’s plan because it taxes the rich. There is no attempt to create a universal pre-K program with the least harm to others possible, only the explicit desire to pull down the rich simply because of the unsupported assertion that inequality in itself causes harm.
“The fate of de Blasio’s plan matters in New York,” Reed writes, “and . . . the rest of the country should pay attention.” I couldn’t agree more.
— Alec Torres is a William F. Buckley Fellow at the National Review Institute.