The president’s plan to expand pre-school nationwide could cost states $10 to $15 billion each year, or roughly $8,000 per child, according to the New American Foundation, a Washington-based policy group. Whoa. Of course, if the idea unveiled by Obama during his State of the Union address succeeds as advertised, those investments would pay dividends as students performed better. The federal government would work with states to provide low and moderate income four- year-old children with preschool, expand the availability of full-day kindergarten and give states incentives to boost preschool programs for middle-income families, according to a White House statement released today.
There are currently only 10 states and the District of Columbia that require districts to provide free, full-day kindergarten. Obama will detail his proposal today while visiting a pre-k classroom in Decatur, Ga. He will be taking part in a Google+ hangout at 4:50 p.m. to answer questions.
- Read more at Bloomberg
DHS PANICS OVER SECURITY CUTS Unless Congress can cut a deal to stave off the looming sequester cuts set to slash the federal budget in a few weeks, expect longer lines at the airport, less secure borders and furloughs for law enforcement personnel, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano warned Wednesday.It’s worth noting that every agency is sounding the alarm over these cuts, which represent about two percent of the entire federal budget. The overall gist is that the quality of government services will decline—an argument that will likely be tested in the weeks and months ahead. In a letter to the ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-MS, Napolitano said the agency will not be able to absorb the sequester cuts without “significantly negatively affecting frontline operations and our nation’s previous investment in the homeland security enterprise.”
- Read more at The Washington Post
SEN DEMS PUSH AGAINST REID’S SEQUESTER PLAN A group of 15 to 20 progressive Democrats are pushing back against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s plan to replace the automatic sequester cuts with an even split of spending cuts and tax revenues. The defecting Dems argue that the replacement should contain more tax revenues through closing loopholes and less spending cuts. - Read more at The Hill
ECONOMY GETS VALENTINE’S DAY BOOST Even amid a slow recovery, Americans are set to spend a record $18.6 billion this Valentine’s Day. Flower shops, jewelry stores and online dating sites are all expecting to cash in on the day of love. According to the 2013 National Retail Federation Valentine’s Day spending survey, the average American is expected to spend $130.97 on gifts, a slight increase from last year. Read more at The Fiscal Times