Fully, Madly, Not So Much

As you may have heard, the McCain campaign's been having some surrogate trouble lately with folks like Carly Fiorina saying that McCain favors "fully funding" No Child Left Behind (i.e., appropriating a level of federal funding under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act that's as high as the authorized funding level) even though that doesn't reflect his voting record or his formal campaign promises. Education adviser Lisa Graham Keegan tried to square the circle today at a New America Foundation event, saying McCain will "fund ESEA fully where it is."

What that means in practice is that at a time when inflation is rising is the number of school-age children is growing, McCain's tax and budget policies require him to keep federal education spending flat in nominal terms -- implying substantial real per capita cuts.