Democrats this week called the House back to Washington for another last-minute federal government bailout of more than $26 billion. It is another in a long line of perpetual bailout bills coming out of Washington.
This time, the money is for state governments to bailout their education and Medicaid systems.
Of course I am a strong supporter of public school teachers - my own kids all attend public schools - and I'm aware the current economic downturn is painful for everyone, including teachers. But I have opposed all bailout bills to date, and cannot support one that favors one group over everyone else.
In order to receive the education money, states would be prohibited from reducing their education budgets below 2009 levels and the federal money could not be used to reduce the state's debt. Thus, the bill not only shields states from making tough budget choices, it prohibits them from doing so. These bailouts protect the states from developing their own long term sustainable spending plans.
The education funding also is on top of $53.6 billion already given to states in the Democrats' stimulus bill; the Department of Education called it a "one-time appropriation" that was meant as "a historic infusion of funds that is expected to be temporary." To date, Florida has only spent about half of the education stimulus dollars it was given.
Part of this bailout is paid for by a $10 billion permanent tax increase on American companies. This tax has been used by Democrats at least three other times as offsets for other spending bills. While Democrats call these "tax loopholes," these tax hikes could risk jobs and put American companies at a competitive disadvantage. This tax undermines private enterprise and long term economic prosperity.
Democrats also claim to pay for this bailout by taking $14 billion from their own stimulus bill. They call this a spending cut, but stimulus money is designated as emergency funding and wasn't paid for in the first place. Thus, the Congressional Budget Office says this bill will actually increase the deficit by $12.6 billion.
Everyone knows that state budgets have been hit hard and no one wants teachers lose their jobs. But where do the bailouts end? Are we going to bail out states next year and the year after that too? Will enough ever be enough?