President Obama’s bag of federal cash
As you may have heard if you were listening to Pat Snyder interview the MacIver Institute’s Brian Fraley this morning on WSAU-AM, my latest perspective piece is up over at the MacIver Institute’s website, “About President Obama’s Visit.”
The new federal education money, of course, is counter-productive. It will not reward those school districts that were able to control costs successfully, including teacher compensation.
The “Son of Stimulus” will reward those districts like Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) where the union has been intransigent on making concessions on health care benefits that would have allowed the district to avoid teacher layoffs. MPS planned to layoff 393 teachers this fall if the union failed to agree to a switch to a less expensive health plan that would have saved the district $48 million. In June 482 teachers were laid off by MPS but since then 89 have been called back.
The teachers union in Milwaukee also made news last week when it was announced they were suing MPS to have coverage of prescriptions for Viagra restored to their health plan. The little blue pills were dropped from MPS teacher health plans in 2005. If coverage of the erectile dysfunction medication is restored it is estimate the cost to the district will be $786,000. (That could keep a lot of teachers on the payroll, something about which the union seems to care not a bit).
As the MacIver Institute’s communications director Brian Fraley said on Sunday Insight this week, “You’re never going to get teachers’ unions to negotiate to make concessions to pay for health insurance, or whatever, as long as we know that Uncle Federal Government is there to bail them out.”
There was every incentive for the Democrats in Congress to pass the “Son of Stimulus.” Money from the bill goes directly to fund a core constituency, the teachers’unions. Aside from the votes the unions provide, the money will result in more teachers paying union dues. In turn, the unions will be able to support Democratic candidates more, and the symbiotic relationship continues, unabated.
The National Right to Work Committee estimates that local unions’dues could mean $40 million for the teachers unions nationally. The Wall Street Journal says a reasonable estimate of the percentage of teacher salaries that goes to union dues is between 1% and 1.5%. The teachers unions in Wisconsin could see between $1.8 million and $2.7 million in additional dues money, money that will ultimately benefit the Democrats.