So just what was so important that Señor Harry Reid had to rob billions from the food stamps program - on which over more than 40 million people depend in the Obama economy - in order to fund H.R. 1586, a bill "proudly titled the 'XXXXXX Act of XXXX.'" (As stop the ACLU notes, the House was in such a hurry to jam this one through, they didn't bother to name it.)
Well, with the popularity of Democrats dropping like whale excreta in the Marianas Trench, the left wants to make sure that their coffers will remain full. The easiest way to do that is to insure that our taxpayer dollars get laundered through their base - the unions. And indeed, this $26 billion dollar unnamed boondoggle, H.R. 1586, is designed to keep teachers unions flush with taxpayer cash for years. Perhaps even more outrageously, it is designed to insure that states don't negotiate down teacher salaries in the coming year.
Doug Ross does his usual excellent job blogging this issue:
. . . Yesterday economist John Lott summarized the borderline criminal behavior by the Obama Democrats.
• The new $26 billion Democrat "jobs bill" has nothing to do with jobs, it is designed to fund the teachers' unions
• $16 billion of the $26 billion goes to public teachers (and several billions go to subsidizing other public sector workers). $87 billion of last year's $862 billion stimulus also went to public school teachers' mandatory wage increases as well as more hiring of public teachers
• Between 1.0% and 1.5% percent of teachers' salaries goes directly to union dues. That means at least $160 million of money borrowed from the taxpayers' is going directly to teachers' unions
• And, to complete the circle, the teachers' unions are directly funding Democrat campaigns so they can keep the cash faucet turned on
. . . Furthermore, teachers' unions are refusing wage freezes even on planned increases in the future. In New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie (R) asked that teachers contribute 1.5% of their salaries to help pay for their benefits and agree to a one-year wage freeze. The union bosses refused.
. . . In short, the Democrats' "jobs bill" is designed to funnel $100 million into their own campaign funds through the teachers' unions.
As to tying the hands of states, the WSJ has the story on that. Note also the WSJ's figures on the explosion in teacher hiring over the past decade:
. . . The White House has promoted the bill as emergency assistance for strained state budgets. But this unique brand of therapy drives states to spend more, not less. The "assistance" is so expensive that several governors were begging for relief even before Mr. Obama signed it into law.
Standing with teachers yesterday in the White House Rose Garden, Mr. Obama said, "We can't stand by and do nothing while pink slips are given to the men and women who educate our children or keep our communities safe." Maintaining the salaries and generous benefit plans for members of teachers unions is indeed a top Democratic priority. That's why $10 billion of the bill's funding is allocated to education, and the money comes with strings that will multiply the benefits for this core Obama constituency.
Specifically, the bill stipulates that federal funds must supplement, not replace, state spending on education. Also, in each state, next year's spending on elementary and secondary education as a percentage of total state revenues must be equal to or greater than the previous year's level.
Governor Haley Barbour of Mississippi did the math and figured out his state will be worse off. Mr. Barbour says the bill will force his state "to rewrite its current year [fiscal 2011] budget. Preliminary estimates of the Mississippi Department of Finance and Administration show that we will now have to spend between $50-100 million of state funds—funds that must be taken away from public safety, human services, mental health and other state priorities and given to education—in order for an additional $98 million of federal funds to be granted to education. There is no justification for the federal government hijacking state budgets, but that is exactly what Congress has done."
. . . [T]axpayers are figuring out that these state bailouts are only making unions more reluctant to share their sacrifice. While Mr. Obama quotes the union figure of 160,000 potential lost teacher jobs, those don't have to come out of the classroom. According to research by Eric Hanushek of Stanford University, student enrollment grew by 22% from 1990 to 2007, but teacher employment grew by 41%. Since 2000, enrollment has grown by 5% but teacher employment by 10%.
The unions themselves could have prevented some layoffs had they been willing to adjust their rich benefits. In Milwaukee, for example, nearly all of the 500 teacher layoffs announced earlier this year could have been avoided if the unions had agreed to change health plans that cost $23,000 per teacher per year for family coverage. They could have accepted a still-rich $17,000 plan. The unions chose the layoffs, betting (correctly) that Democrats in Washington would come to their rescue.
. . . So in the name of still another "stimulus," Democrats are rewarding their own political funders, putting the most fiscally responsible states into even greater distress, and postponing the day of reckoning for spendthrift states. Oh, and Mr. Obama rushed to sign the bill Tuesday, violating his campaign pledge to give the public five days to read legislation online. As we say, the only way for voters to stop such fiscal abuse is to run this crowd out of town.
(H/T Maggie's Notebook)
This is about as outrageous and corrupt an act by our government as you will find. And if there was ever any question that the left stands for the little guy . . . this should be the final nail in the coffin of that theory.
- Public Sector Unions: A Toxin, A Crisis & An Opportunity
- Read'n, Writ'n & Unioniz'n
- What, Marx Or Lenin Weren't Available?
- Gov. Chris Christie, What Leadership Looks Like
- California: From Riches To Public Sector Unions To Ruin
- Detroit's Public School System, School Board & Teachers' Union
- Unions & Teachers: The Alpha & Omega
- Living With Public Sector Unions
- Public Sector Unions
- Obama, The Stimulus & Teachers' Unions
- Yet Another Reason Why Public Sector Unions Should Be Done Away With
- Grand Theft Democrat