Are Police Forces the Best Candidates for Defunding?

In the wake of the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis cop, calls are ringing out to defund the police. Those who question the wisdom of such a move might want to consider some other candidates for defunding. The U.S. Department of Education would be a good place to start. 

The federal department dates from 1980 and was established by President Jimmy Carter as a reward to the National Education Association, the teacher cartel that endorsed Jimmy Carter for president. As Vicki Alger noted in 2019, the department receives $38 billion for K-12 programs, yet performs poorly and shows little accountability. Defunders should be aware that the department maintains an enforcement division that conducts armed raids, breaks into houses, and carts people off in handcuffs. That makes a stronger case to, as Alger contends, “abolish the U.S. Department of Education once and for all.” 

In the Golden State, the unelected California Coastal Commission overrides the elected governments of scores of cities and counties on issues of property rights and land use. The elected governments of those cities and counties are entirely capable of handling their own affairs. It therefore seems unwise to continue funding an unelected body of regulatory zealots that runs roughshod over the property rights of Californians. 

California also maintains its own Environmental Protection Agency plus a California Air Resources Board (CARB), ruled by Mary Nichols, a lawyer and activist, not a scientist. With a budget of $956,370 million, CARB would seem to be the better candidate for defunding. So are California’s 58 county offices of education, another level of bureaucracy through which taxpayer dollars must trickle down before reaching the classroom. 

Funding for police is a local issue, and police forces could stand reform in their procedures and finances. On the other hand, if police forces are fully defunded, local residents might wonder who will arrest murderers, armed robbers, rapists, looters and so forth. It won’t be the U.S. Department of Education, the California Coastal Commission, CARB, or the county offices of education. 

K. Lloyd Billingsley is a Policy Fellow at the Independent Institute and a columnist at American Greatness.
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