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More Broken Promises, Fuzzy Math from Obama Administration

Almost immediately after releasing a new report that claims the president’s latest stimulus proposal will “support nearly 400,000 education jobs,” administration officials tried to downplay promises of lasting job creation.

According to Wednesday’s Daily Caller article, “White House promises, then retracts, 400,000 teachers”:

But administration officials quickly backtracked on the 400,000 number once they were quizzed by reporters during the press conference.

The money would only support 400,000 teachers for one year, leaving state and local government to pick up the tab every subsequent year, admitted Katharine Abraham, a member of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers.

It’s no surprise the president’s advisors are trying to back away from quantifying the success of their temporary stimulus schemes. After all, the American people have heard this spiel before:

FEBRUARY 2009 – $812 BILLION STIMULUS PACKAGE:

  • When peddling the stimulus package in 2009, the president promised it would “save or create three to four million jobs” and keep unemployment under 8 percent. 
  • Instead, the unemployment rate has averaged 9.4% since passage of the stimulus. In fact, a recent report by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) stated unemployment will remain above the administration’s projection of 8 percent until at least 2014.
  • Since the stimulus was signed into law, the economy has shed more than 2 million jobs.

AUGUST 2010 – $10 BILLION TEACHER UNION BAILOUT:

  • In August 2010, President Obama and then- Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) asked taxpayers for another $10 billion to save the jobs of 160,000 teachers across the nation.
  • This was in addition to the nearly $100 billion in “emergency” state bailouts included in the stimulus package, purportedly a “one-time investment.”
  • Today, the administration has more than $10 billion in unspent stimulus and bailout funds, highlighting the waste and inefficiency of the president’s failed attempts to use temporary cash infusions to mask larger budgetary issues.

It’s difficult to keep your promise when it is based on a flawed approach to the nation’s economy and schools. If money alone could improve the quality of our classrooms, America would long ago have overcome our education challenges, erased achievement gaps, and guaranteed opportunities for every student. The reality is, simply funding the status quo will not help states overcome their budget challenges or improve education for our children. Yet that is exactly what the president claims his latest stimulus package will do.

  • The president’s proposal does nothing to save the best teachers’ jobs. Most school districts use “last hired, first fired” policies. That means the teachers who have been on the job longest will keep their jobs, regardless of whether they are effective in the classroom.
  • More school staff has not improved student achievement. According to the U.S. Department of Education’s Digest of Education Statistics, since 1970, student enrollment in public elementary and secondary schools has increased just 8 percent, while public elementary and secondary staff has increased 88 percent. Yet student test scores have remained relatively static, and the Obama administration has said “the status quo clearly isn't good enough.”

After two years of failed stimulus measures and broken promises, the president has again come to Congress and the American people to request even more money under the false pretense of propping up our economy and preventing teacher layoffs.  It’s time to change direction.  Another multi-billion dollar teachers’ union bailout won’t create permanent jobs, won’t improve education, and won’t balance state budgets.


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