If we needed more evidence of President Barack Obama‘s inclination to shower public treasure on public sector unions, here it is. The Wall Street Journal details some of the ways that last week’s mini-stimulus bill is a gift to public sector unions at the cost of everyone else.
For example, the portion of the spending dedicated to public schools comes with the requirement that the funds be used to increase school spending. The funds can’t be used by states to replace their own spending.
The claim that teacher jobs will be lost is false, too. The editorial notes the rapid growth of teacher employment, far more than the growth in student enrollment: “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 editorial also notes that teacher layoffs in Milwaukee could have been avoided if teachers had accepted a less expensive health care plan. The district proposed cutting per-teacher health plan costs from $23,000 per year (!) to $17,000. What happened? “The unions chose the layoffs, betting (correctly) that Democrats in Washington would come to their rescue.”
Finally, the article estimates that teachers unions and other unions will receive an estimated $100 million in additional union dues because of this bill, and much of that will be used for political purposes.
Any guesses as to what type of candidates this money will be used to support?
The latest bailout for public unions and spendthrift states.
To treat Washington’s spending addiction, the November elections are the taxpayer’s best chance to stage an intervention. But until then, President Obama and the Democratic Congress are determined to keep pushing strung-out state governments to take one more fix.
Witness yesterday’s 247-161 largely party-line House vote to approve a Senate bill shovelling another $26.1 billion out to state education and Medicaid programs. 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.