The teacher unions finally wore down the Senate and managed to get a $26 billion Edujobs bill to avoid layoffs of teachers and increase the federal share of state Medicaid costs. $10 billion is earmarked directly for teachers and the other $16 billion frees that money in state budgets to be used elsewhere — quite likely for teachers. This $26 billion is on top of the $100 billion that education received from the first wave of stimulus spending.
So much for my austerity idea, where real reform can only happen once the gusher of new money runs dry. The spigot is going to stay fully open for the foreseeable future, which will kill this opportunity for states and localities to restructure our education system and lower costs while improving outcomes.
The fact that the feds are bailing out schools and preventing reform doesn’t come as much of a surprise. But what is shocking is how the Senate bill proposes to pay for this extra $26 billion — cuts in food stamps. That’s right, we are literally going to take food out of the mouths of hungry people in order to keep upper-middle class teachers fully employed with their gold-plated pensions and health benefits.
And if that wasn’t outrageous enough, look at what the Milwaukee teachers union would like to do with their gold-plated health benefit. They want to restore a prescription benefit for Viagra, which had been cut in 2005 to save some money.
Let me get this straight — we are going to take food from poor people to keep Mr. Happy working for Milwaukee teachers. Talk about a stimulus plan.