As many of us know, Trump’s presidency means cabinet picks and new heads of the plethora of federal agencies that exist in the United States Government. Trumps nominations, just like his entire presidency, have been under much scrutiny by the American public. While many of his moves have been perceived as controversial, others have been perceived as helpful and wise. As far as the agency nominations go, it boils down to one phrase: conflict of interest.
The nomination of Betsy DeVos as education secretary has caused criticisms from every part of the political spectrum, and it is most definitely justified. She is obviously not qualified for the position, having no educational experience. Having been born and married into wealth, she also attended private schooling institutions her whole life. She had concerning answers to many questions asked by Senators, mentioning things like bear attacks being a major threat to school children. However, the public is already very familiar with this issue and these topics.
There is a much larger, scarier issue that glares down upon this situation. It, quite simply put, is money in politics and unnecessary federal agencies. These two issues combined make for a huge threat to the American public, whose money is being wasted and whose opinions are not being valued. Research by the CATO institute actually shows that since 1970, America has spent 200% more on public education but test scores have not improved at all. Due to this fact, when Devos makes the claim that America needs to further privatize public education, it may sound like a great idea. She also claims that student loans should begin being paid off as soon as they are sent out. However, due to conflicts of interest, Devos wants privatized education for all the wrong reasons. She has investment ties in many companies that would give out the private student loans that she speaks of. This means her reasoning behind supporting these policies is not to benefit the American people but most likely to benefit her financial interest. She is one of thousands guilty of pushing policy based on personal benefit. The list of companies that pose this student loan threat can be found at the bottom of this article. Devos has not only financial investment in the policy she pushes, but the Senators approving her appointment. As of writing this article, she has yet to have a confirmed nomination. However, she has donated more than $1,000,000 to over 20 senators that naturally want to approve this nomination. A longer list of money ties can once again be found at the bottom of this article.
It is more than obvious that Betsy Devos is not qualified for the position of education secretary, but the larger issue at hand is much scarier. In the American political system, there are powerful federal agencies, which are beyond ineffective and wasteful, being run by people who have ulterior motives. Betsy Devos is a great example of the corruption that infiltrates the federal government, but she is one of many who make this issue the monster that it is. Privatization is indeed a great idea when the government is no longer effective, but the American people need to first have leaders that can lead a charge of privatization without taking advantage of the powers and positions they are granted. The American people should be outraged by the idea that their political system is becoming much more of a money fueled oligarchy that it is a free market-oriented representative republic. The idea of limited government is growing fainter by the day, and until we can reduce ulterior motives it will continue to diminish.
- Cato Institute: https://www.cato.org/
- Conflict on Interest Investment List: https://www.scribd.com/document/337104757/U-S-Office-of-Government-Ethics-Report-for-Betsy-DeVos
- PR Watch: http://www.prwatch.org/news/2017/01/13207/betsy-devos-ethics-report-reveals-ties-student-debt-collection-firm
- The Atlantic: https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2017/01/betsy-devoss-policy-evasion/513440/