Even lifelong Democratic pol Steny Hoyer, majority leader of the U.S. House, is balking at Barack Obama's latest bailout proposal.
"I think there is spending fatigue," said Steny. "It's tough in both houses to get votes."
Hoyer was referring to Obama's weekend letter to Capitol Hill calling for a $50 billion bailout of state and city governments, to spare our elected politicians the pain of balancing their budgets with their own tax revenues.
Obama calls it an "emergency" measure to prevent "massive layoffs of teachers, police and firefighters." Yet, none of the 20 million state, county or municipal workers can lose their job unless an elected legislature and a chief executive agree that they should go.
Obama is calling for a taxpayer rescue of the political class to which he belongs, to spare it the painful duty tens of thousands of business executives have had to perform. Private employees -- 25 million of whom are out of work, underemployed or have given up looking for jobs -- may be expendable, but government workers are not.
As America is running a second consecutive deficit of $1.4 trillion, however, the U.S. government has no tax revenue to send to the cities and states. We would have to borrow the $50 billion from China, Japan and the Persian Gulf nations.
Obama is thus asking Congress to deepen America's fiscal crisis and put the next generation on the hook for another $50 billion so today's mayors and governors can get an exemption from their political duty.
Where is the justice here?
Government workers enjoy far greater job security than private-sector workers. At the state and local level, their average pay and benefits, about $40 an hour, far exceed the $27 per hour in the private sector. The federal worker has it even better, receiving $30,000 a year more in pay and benefits than the average worker in the private sector.
Obama's proposal is thus about taking care of his own and the Democratic Party's political base.
Consider. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the American Federation of Teachers, the Transport Workers Union of America and other government unions in the AFL-CIO are all powerhouses of the Democratic Party.
Obama is proposing a $50 billion payoff for his own voters.
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