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Betsy DeVos Watch: Freedom, Prosperity and other lies of Capitalism

July 31, 2018

Last week, hundreds of high school students from around the country attend a conference in Washington, DC, hosted by the ultra-conservative group Turning Point USA.

From the Turning Point USA website

Turning Point USA’s mission is to educate students about the importance of fiscal responsibility, free markets, and limited government. Through non-partisan debate, dialogue, and discussion, Turning Point USA believes that every young person can be enlightened to true free market values.

Therefore, it stands to reason that those invited to speak at this high school summit, were those who also embraced the mission of the organization, such as Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Senator Orin Hatch, Senator Rick Santorum, billionaires Peter Thiel, Mark Cuban and Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. 

DeVos spoke to the gathering of conservative high school students on Wednesday, July 25. In her prepared remarks, DeVos addressed several issues. DeVos began by speaking about the Parkland, Florida school shooting, stating that President Trump has taken swift action to respond to this kind of violence, by appointing  a Federal Commission on School Safety, which has no real experience in this area, but reassuring the crowd that whatever schools do to respond to violence is really up to states and school districts.

DeVos used her states rights mantra on school safety to then talk about applying the same principle to all aspects of education. DeVos clearly panders to an audience of young people who embrace her philosophy of freedom or more specifically, freedom to chose.

The Secretary of Education then goes on to make the following statement:

There’s one thing for sure: you’ll enter an economy that’s the strongest it’s been in years! After the historic Tax Cut and Jobs Act, confidence is at a new high and unemployment – in nearly every sector – is at a new low. Nearly 3 million jobs have been created since President Trump took office, and Americans are more hopeful about their futures!

Of course, Secretary DeVos provided no evidence to support any of these claims, the claim about the economy in general, the claim about the Tax Cut and Jobs Act (which really benefits the wealthy) or the claim about job creation. Of course, Secretary DeVos doesn’t have to verify these claims, because if people like her just say it, they must be true.

Betsy DeVos also made the following claim in her speech:

So, let’s conclude by returning to the idea that made this country great: freedom! You’re blessed to live in the most free and most prosperous country in the history of human civilization. Most free and most prosperous. That’s no accident. You cannot have one without the other.

Again, no substantiation of such a claim is necessary. In fact, that the US is the most free and prosperous nation in the history of the world is just a truism. It just is. And to question such a claim, borders on treason and heresy.

The high schools students who attended to the Turning Point USA summit certainly believe this truism, that the US is the greatest country in history. In fact, it is a fundamental belief that isn’t just embraced by conservatives, but by many liberals as well. In fact, those who are the beneficiaries of this freedom and prosperity, people like the DeVos Family, are well aware of the fact that the prosperity of the US really means the prosperity of the few, act the expense of the many. The lie of wealth accumulation is that anyone can do it. However, the reality is that those who are part of the billionaire class, like the DeVos Family, are well aware of the fact that their wealth is predicated on the poverty and exploitation of others.

This was really the message that Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, was delivering to the 800 students gathered last week in the nation’s capitol…….if you believe in capitalism, then you can do whatever you want with your life. To hell with the masses of people who will suffer while you make millions.

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