Union Case for "Jobs Bill" Underscores Government's Ineptness

Kyle Olson

10/24/2011 12:01:00 AM - Kyle Olson

Unsurprisingly, one of the few interest groups advocating for the “American Jobs Act” is the American Federation of Teachers. Despite claims that “the money is not for us as teachers,” everyone knows that’s a farce. Nobody suggests teachers shouldn’t be paid, but they shouldn’t patronize taxpayers by suggesting that increased spending on government schools isn’t for the teachers.

The unions and Obama administration have been running the full-court press to gin up enough pressure on Congress to act on the bill. Despite the speeches, advertising campaigns andphoto ops, they can’t even get enough Democrats in the Senate to kick it out of that chamber.

Joe Biden has been carrying the water for the administration. In a recent conference call with union leaders, he claimed students in a Baltimore school are “dodging falling ceiling tiles” during their school day.

More recently, AFT President Rhonda “Randi” Weingarten visited a Yonkers school and decried the conditions those students are in. A photo published by the union shows students sitting in a basement with paint peeling off the walls and a large air conditioning system looms directly over head.

"We can hear the rats when they run" through the ventilation system, the union quoted a student as saying.

Across the country, unionists infer that the money for public education has simply vanished. It’s absurd. The reality is America is continuing to spending more per student on education than at any other time in history. So where is it all going? Are the rats carrying bags of money away?

Of course not. What we’re witnessing is the cost of government education going up, largely due to union labor contracts. In addition to a negotiated raise, most employees also get a “step raise” – which means their pay goes up regardless of their effectiveness. Additionally, the cost of employee retirement and health care benefits are continuing to escalate, and many employees pay nothing toward those costs.

Simply put, revenue is not keeping pace with the expenses. So instead of dealing with the expenses – ie.their benefits and perks – the unions want to increase government revenues, even though thousands of taxpayers are suffering from the recession.

But I ask the question again: Where are all the billions and billions of dollars currently going? Would Rhonda “Randi” Weingarten ever bother to address that, or would that distract from her narrative that teachers are being laid off and therefore the mean-spirited taxpayers must obviously hate teachers?

We’re only now hearing about the squalid, unacceptable conditions our government is putting students in? Is it any wonder traditional public school students don’t perform as well as charter school students? And charter schools, by the way, typically receive 75% to 85% of what their traditional public school counterparts receive in taxpayer dollars. Furthermore, they don’t get a dime from taxpayers for facilities. Charter schools have to find those dollars another way.

Yet they find a way to make it work.

As the unions and Obama administration continue to try to make the case for the Jobs Bill, they’re revealing the soft underbelly of government ineptness in the process.

It makes you wonder, “if this is how they’re spending our dollars, why should we give them more?”