Jon Stewart Discovers Preschoolers Hold Key to Solving D.C. Gridlock

What do obesity, preschool and Seal Team Six have in common?
Mar 8, 2013· 1 MIN READ
Andrew Freeman is a California native with a degree in history from UCLA. He is particularly interested in politics and policy.

The dreaded sequester kicked in last week, which will cut planned government expenditures across the board by $1 trillion over the next decade. While there are many different takes on the sequester's effect on our economy, this is certain: Washington's two parties cannot currently reconcile their differences in funding priorities.

But Jon Stewart may just have found the one issue both parties can agree on: improving early childhood education.

As Stewart sarcastically puts it, "Universal preschool, seems like the sort of thing that's going to go over pretty good."

President Obama in the annual State of the Union address proposed universal high-quality preschool for every child in America.

It's not a terrible idea. The United States can stand to improve its rank of 17th in science and 25th in math. Despite rising high school graduation rates, schools in our nation's most impoverished areas have ridiculously low literacy rates.

Regardless of which side of the aisle you're on, it's tough to argue we couldn't improve, and the program isn't that expensive.

Currently, the Federal Government's Head Start program serves just slightly more than a million children at a cost of almost $8 billion. Expanding the program to cover all 3.3 million of the nation's four-year-olds would (using napkin math) bring the cost to just under $24 billion.

Stewart takes us to the heart of the debate: The Republicans refuse to cut the military. Democrats want to give teachers' unions a handout.

Incompatible. No dice. Gridlock.

But wait! Somehow the planets have aligned.

The military found that three in four Americans aged 17-24 are not able to join the military because they have criminal records, lack a diploma, and are physically unfit to serve. What did they suggest? Better early childhood education programs.