Everybody’s heard of 12-step programs. Democratic strategist Bob Beckel and conservative columnist Cal Thomas have whittled it down to six. In their recent USA Today column, Beckel and Thomas swivel their guns at agriculture subsidies, corporate bailouts, federal funding of faith-based initiatives that could be privately financed, unnecessary defense programs, and wasteful-and in some cases, fraudulent-entitlement programs, including Social Security. But first on their list is the Department of Education.

Cal: New Jersey’s new governor, Chris Christie, is trying to reduce the size and cost of state government. If he succeeds – and I believe the mood in that state is for revolutionary reform – New Jersey could be a model for the rest of the country, including Washington. These include, but are not limited to, removing tenure for incompetent teachers and cutting their bloated pensions, which were a gift to the unions in exchange for votes for Democrats. So No. 1, let’s start with cuts at the Department of Education.


Bob: I am one liberal who believes this department spends too much money on national programs like No Child Left Behind that are best addressed at the state level. I could easily support cutting that department in half, with the savings going to the states – ideally starting with higher salaries for teachers.


Cal: So perhaps the great Ronald Reagan was right, after all, when he talked of eliminating the department.


Bob: Let’s not get carried away!

Well, Bob, some of us might argue that maybe it’s time American taxpayers did get carried away-from federal control of education that has produced more spending with little to show for it.