Last week, congress passed the "EduJobs" bill. This bill is ostensibly to help save teacher's jobs in states with budget deficits. In reality, many of the states that are to receive this "aid" don't need it, and it seems that the unions are the real beneficiaries, with $36 million going to the National Educators Association and an additional $14 million going to the American Federation of Teachers. Let's not forget that unions are some of the biggest contributors for democrat campaigns, with teachers unions at the top of the list.
The bigger question is how this $26 billion piece of legislation is going to be paid for? Why, by appropriating from other programs, of course. Let's remember before we discuss where funding is coming from, that this bill was sold as helping teachers and children. The teachers unions love to invoke the children, and yet most of their demands help no one but themselves and their members. The unions wanted the $26 billion to be counted as "emergency spending", but the democrats were afraid to give republicans more ammunition with yet another unfunded spending bill. Instead they decided to abide by their oft ignored PayGo legislation and raid a few piggy banks - at some point in the future. So where is the funding coming from (via Education Report):
Education Week reported that the bill takes $50 million from the Striving Readers adolescent literacy program, $10 million from the Ready to Teach program that pays for teacher telecommunications programs and $82 million from student financial aid administration. The bill would not take money from the "Race to the Top" fund, as earlier proposed, according to Education Week.
Some of the funding will also be coming from the charter school system - a system the teachers unions oppose - because most charter schools, like private schools, are not unionized. This is also why unions (and democrats) oppose school choice - most parents would chose a private or charter school over a public one, and most of them are union free. How very convenient for the unions that they are getting increased funding by
The remainder of the funding will be coming out of the food stamp program, to the tune of about $12 billion...but not until 2014. Why take the blame this year when you can pile it on another congress a few years later? Kicking the can down the road - congress' favorite sport.
Congress seems to think the food stamp program is the newest cash cow, because they are now proposing to dip into the kitty yet again to fund Michelle Obama's anti-obesity campaign. Perhaps it's because there was little outcry from the public over the funding of the edujobs bill, perhaps because there's just no where else to get it from (hey, how about what's left of the non-stimulating stimulus?), but either way, the food stamp program seems to be the congressional pot of gold du jour.
Taking money from the food stamp program to fund Mrs. O's "Let's Move!" program makes sense, though - the easiest way to crack down on obesity, particularly in the poorer neighborhoods where it seems to be reaching epidemic proportions, is by taking away the means to buy food in the first place. There is a great deal of irony in taking food out of kids mouths in the name of education - aren't we told that good nutrition is essential to good education? Let's not forget, too, the war on cheap convenience food (led by Michelle Obama) - so they are taking away cheaper alternatives, thus forcing poor parents to pay more for food, while at the same time reducing the amount of assistance they receive to buy food.
Progressive humanitarianism - it's a frightening thing.
What is most galling about these programs and the way they are being funded is the moral superiority their backers are displaying. The teacher's unions and supporters of Let's Move! are crying that these programs are necessary for the good of the kids. No, they are for the good of the unions and progressive social engineering. It is appalling that these groups are using children as human shields to further their agendas - agendas that seem to be more harmful than beneficial in the long run. Unless, of course, your idea of beneficial doesn't include a decent education and food on the table.
As for the fruits of the liberal tree of knowledge, things are looking pretty grim. Better not be too vocal about questioning their success, though.