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Are You Mad Yet? Cutting Funding For The Special Olympics

While we may not all come from the same political affiliations, there is one thing we probably can all agree on – there is some fucked up shit going on out there, and the only way it stops is if we get off our asses and do something about it.

So in an effort to discuss some issues that may unite us rather the divide us, l’ll occasionally be bringing you some news that should seriously piss you off, regardless of whether you lean red or blue. To kick us off, let’s talk about some news that came out yesterday: the Department of Education’s budget request for the next fiscal year completely cuts funding for the Special Olympics.

Are you motherfucking kidding me? The budget would eliminate the measly (in government spending terms)$18 million to support Special Olympics. When asked about the cut during a House subcommittee on Tuesday, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos suggested the Special Olympics is better supported by philanthropy and added, “We had to make some difficult decisions with this budget.”

But yet Betsy, while making the “difficult decision” to defund a program for children and adults with intellectual disabilities and physical disabilities, proposed to add $60 million more to charter school funding. I’m not going to get into a debate about charter vs. public schools, but making that proposal while cutting funding for a program that makes a difference in the lives of thousands of people with disabilities and their families seems kind of gross, doesn’t it? Wisconsin Rep. Mark Pocan drove that point home when he asked DeVos if she knew how many children would be impacted by the proposed elimination federal funding for Special Olympics programs, which also serve adults. DeVos did not have the answer, but Pocan did: “That’s 272,000 kids,” Pocan informed DeVos.

The truth of the matter is that the Special Olympics is well funded by private donations, “as well as by some of the largest corporations and richest philanthropic foundations in the world,” according to Deadspin, and the cuts proposed to the Department of Education aren’t likely to pass anyway. But honestly, isn’t it more the principle of it? What exactly does it say about our priorities? Our government wastes millions of dollars on everything from the Department of Transportation spending $1.04 billion to expand the city of San Diego’s trolley by 10.9 miles, which is about $100 million per mile, to the National Science Foundation blowing leaf blowers at lizards for $75k, and yet somehow our moral compass thinks it’s ok to cut $18 million from Special Olympics? Oh, and by the way, $18 million is the same exact amount that our government spent last year supporting Egyptian tourism…which is not exactly in the same level (in my opinion) of importance as supporting a 50-year-old organization that provides year-round training and competitions to 5 million physically and intellectually disabled athletes.

So what can you do? Well, as I mentioned, the cuts aren’t likely to pass, but giving your representative a call or an email if they sit on the House Appropriations Education Subcommittee can’t hurt, nor can making a donation to the Special Olympics.

What’s that old saying? “If you are not outraged, you are not paying attention.” Hopefully, this series will make us start paying more attention. Together.

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hodgep
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hodgep

Thank you for writing this. I’m a sped teacher and seeing people outside the field as outraged as we are is very nice.

commenter27
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commenter27

Thanks for writing this. Looking forward to similar articles. While I hope that there are zero representatives that would be in favor of this proposed cut, I like the comparison that the US also spent $18 million supporting tourism to Egypt. A country that isn’t the US. Not to get too pedantic, but proposing to cut $18 million to an organization that directly impacts American Special Olympians while presumably not cutting $18 million to support tourism efforts for another country that doesn’t share a border with us doesn’t sound like it fits with the “America First” mantra of the current… Read more »

Nived
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Nived

Guys, I don’t condone the actions of this man per se but the Unabomber was right about a lot of things and took steps to send a message to the vile bags of shit that are in power plus he was vastly smarter than them. To revisit the facts of Betsy and her fucked up family: her personal security detail costs nearly 50% of the overall budget of the Special Olympics that she’s looking to defund. This is a testament to what her priorities are as these losers need to pay for mob-like protections in order to shield themselves from… Read more »

Fireflygirl77
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Fireflygirl77

The Unabomber was ahead of his time, and a victim of a bad branding initiative. Today, he would be elected to Congress and his manifesto would be called the Green New Deal. If the actual Green New Deal passes, those of you who are not killed and eaten will have the opportunity to emulate the Unabomber’s lifestyle by living in the woods and scavenging for acorns.

Nived
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Nived

Academi*

Fireflygirl77
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Fireflygirl77

In 2017, the last year for which a budget is available to the public, the Special Olympics organization had expenditures of $130 million. Only $8 million was spent on competitions and training. The remainder was largely spent on administration, including $15 million spent on fundraising. So, no, I am not outraged by the Federal government cutting its support for this organization. Sorry.

Dominooch85
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Dominooch85

Jenna I appreciate your writing nd this is your place to write your content and I dont speak for anyone else but, I liked your pieces not on political subjects…

Still love you but just wanted to say