$26.1 Billion Union Bailout Went to States that Didn’t Need it

-By Warner Todd Huston

As I mentioned in a previous discussion on the Democrats $26.1 billion bailout for unions that Speaker Pelosi pushed through Congress at the last minute this summer, there was no need for the money for the stated purpose of “saving teachers” jobs. After all many states still had $30 billion of the previous stimulus that has yet to be used and others already have fully funded payrolls for at least this year.

Chris Moody confirmed my claim in his Daily Caller column today. He found that states like Arkansas, North Dakota, Tennessee, Alaska and others didn’t need this new “stimulus for their educational sector. They’ve got plenty already.

Not only that but Moody notes that none of this new money will even reach the schools until a month after school starts all across the land. So, how this new money will save anything after the tough decisions have already been made and the school year fairly begun is a bit hard to understand.

But, then, we know what this was about. It was a union payoff. As the Washington Times notes, this bill was “tailored to please public-sector unions, especially those representing teachers.”

Naturally, this bailout will also prevent states from making the next wave of hard decisions.

The latest federal cash infusion will help states avoid making tough budgetary decisions that might endanger the obscene salary and pension plans offered to teachers and bureaucrats at the state and local level. Last year, for example, the California Department of Education paid a $118,218 salary for its “home economics education consultant.” The effect of thousands of similarly inflated salaries is multiplied through the state’s defined-benefit pension plans, which have racked up a whopping $500 billion in unfunded liabilities.

This is a bandaid on a heart attack that will merely “postpone the day of reckoning.”

In fact, as the Wall Street Journal notes, the teachers unions could have avoided any of the layoffs that had come just by adjusting their “rich benefits.”

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.

This newest bailout was never about “saving jobs.” It is all about Democrats shoring up their left-wing, union voter base just ahead of an election. And guess what, folks. The Democrats just gave $26.1 billion of YOUR dollars to pay off their buddies.
“The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.”
–Samuel Johnson

Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer. He has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and before that he wrote articles on U.S. history for several small American magazines. His political columns are featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart’s BigGovernment.com, BigHollywood.com, and BigJournalism.com, as well as RightWingNews.com, CanadaFreePress.com, StoptheACLU.com, AmericanDaily.com, among many, many others. Mr. Huston is also endlessly amused that one of his articles formed the basis of an article in Germany’s Der Spiegel Magazine in 2008.

For a full bio, please CLICK HERE.

Comments are closed.

Copyright Publius Forum 2001