The new bipartisan budget agreement recently passed in Washington undoubtedly charts a new course for our federal government. Over the past two years, deficit reduction has, very justifiably, been a major focus for our lawmakers. Now, as we begin 2014, citizens throughout the country, and also here in Indiana, may consider reflecting on how our government upholds many elements of our society that help make our nation great.
The principles of limited government under an impartial rule of law have shaped the very fabric of our government since her founding 237 years ago. Within these bounds of limited powers, some core functions inevitably develop into essential matters that help to keep our communities thriving and prosperous.
The foremost example of this is our nation’s capacity to supply our young people with a strong education. Providing opportunities to learn to the next generation is, without a doubt, one of the best things we can do to invest in our future. Across the country, and especially here in Indiana, education translates to greater economic growth and development in the years and decades to come.
Over time, achieving a high-quality education is significant to one’s lifetime earnings and ability to adjust to the evolving workforce. In 2011, the average worker who was able to obtain a bachelor’s degree earned roughly $1,000 a week more than individuals with only a high school diploma. Further, unemployment rates for college graduates are three times less than for those who did not finish high school.
Given the tremendous contributions of education, the federal government’s role in reinforcing these opportunities cannot be forgotten. The recent budget compromise importantly averts a second year of sequestration cuts, which would have deepened the education funding cuts from the last several years. While the measure is a step in the right direction, the bill only partially replaces the sequester cuts included in the budget for the 2014 and 2015 fiscal year.