Is it just me, or do certain Democrats seem to have difficulty distinguishing the difference between “education” and “teachers’ unions”? Anyone?

Speaking to the nation’s second-largest teachers’ union, Vice President Joe Biden accused Mitt Romney of awarding education with something less than priority-status. Oh, the humanity:

Biden addressed 2,500 delegates at the American Federation of Teachers national convention in Detroit on Sunday.

Biden painted Romney as planning to gut education funding to finance tax breaks for the wealthy.

From what Romney and his GOP rivals said during the primary debates, “it looks like they don’t think public education is worth the investment,” Biden said.

A spokesman for Romney’s campaign accused Biden — and President Barack Obama — of kowtowing to teachers unions. “Instead of putting students first, this administration has put the union bosses that fund their political campaigns ahead of what’s best for our children,” said spokesman Sean Fitzpatrick.

“Mitt Romney has the plan and record to put students first and make sure that they have a job waiting for them when they graduate,” Fitzpatrick said. …

Biden said Romney backs Republican budget plans to slash spending on the Head Start preschool program, as well as grants and loans for college students.

First of all, how is it that everything Republicans want to cut from the federal government is somehow meant to finance “tax breaks for the wealthy”? Isn’t Biden perhaps forgetting about — oh, I don’t know — our trillion dollar federal deficits? Higher taxes on the wealthy will barely make a dent in our national deficit. We need real, substantive, major spending cuts to the national budget to accomplish that, but President Obama & Friends are conveniently forgetting to mention how the federal government’s metastasized size and scope of recent years is what’s burning through all of our money. Apparently, Republicans’ desire to stop economically damaging tax hikes on the wealthy is to be blamed for educations cuts, defense cuts, and who knows what else.

Secondly, good for Mitt Romney for proposing federal cuts to public education — and I don’t think he goes nearly far enough. I’m with erstwhile presidential candidate Rick Perry on this one; if I had my way, the federal Department of Education would go the way of the dodo. Education is an institution best managed by the efficiencies of federalism. When states compete, students win. Monolithic, top-down education policy and the auspices of teachers’ unions — not so much, as evidenced by the our many “investments” resulting in the current state of our flailing public school system. And if college students are looking for someone to blame for the ridiculous inflation of higher-education tuition, look no further than the federal government interfering with incentives and flooding the market with relatively inexpensive student loans.

America’s education system needs a serious examination — and bankrupting ourselves by throwing more money at it, only to reinforce the terrible status quo, is not a solution, Mr. Vice President.