Greg Valliere, chief strategist with the Charles Schwab Washington Research Group, presented a misleading GOP talking point as fact when he told FOX News Channel host Neil Cavuto that the federal government spends $23 billion on job training programs annually.
This claim -- which is off by more than $15 billion -- comes from mixing job training programs with student loan and grant programs.
From the July 21 edition of Your World w/ Neil Cavuto:
VALLIERE: I did a little research this afternoon. The federal government spends $23 billion -- with a B -- on job training programs annually already. Is that not enough? Do we need to spend more than $23 billion? Do we need to have to go protectionist on trade? I think the jury is out on just what Kerry will prescribe in terms of policy.
In fact, President George W. Bush's fiscal year 2005 budget proposes federal spending on training and employment resources of $7.7 billion. The $23 billion figure -- which appears on a GOP fact sheet -- is a distortion reached by combining federal funding for job training programs, most of which falls under the Workforce Investment Act, with funding allotted to specific federal education programs; namely, $6.88 billion on Pell Grants and $7.6 billion in student loans for students attending technical and two-year post-secondary schools.
In fiscal year 2003, the most recent year for which actual figures are available, the federal government spent $7.1 billion on training and employment resources. The conflation of education expenditures and job training figures by Republicans is an apparent attempt to obscure the fact that, according to a report by the National Association of Counties, actual job training funds have been cut by 15 percent since 2002.