Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Nameless Spending Bill Punishes States, Rewards Democrats

Like every piece of legislation coming out of Congress these days, the more you know about the Democrats "stimulus" bill with no name, the worse it gets. Today's editorial in the Wall Street Journal brings to light the worst parts of this bad bill.

Specifically, the bill stipulates that federal funds must supplement, not replace, state spending on education. Also, in each state, next year's spending on elementary and secondary education as a percentage of total state revenues must be equal to or greater than the previous year's level.

Governor Haley Barbour of Mississippi did the math and figured out his state will be worse off. Mr. Barbour says the bill will force his state "to rewrite its current year [fiscal 2011] budget. Preliminary estimates of the Mississippi Department of Finance and Administration show that we will now have to spend between $50-100 million of state funds—funds that must be taken away from public safety, human services, mental health and other state priorities and given to education—in order for an additional $98 million of federal funds to be granted to education. There is no justification for the federal government hijacking state budgets, but that is exactly what Congress has done."
That's not all. The legislation would actually force Texas legislators to violate their own constitution.
For Texas, and only Texas, this funding rule will be in place through 2013. This is a form of punishment because the Beltway crowd believes the Lone Star State didn't spend enough of its 2009 stimulus money. Apparently Texas politicians have been clinging to the quaint notion that the government should try to live within its means.

Texans also seem to have an old-fashioned appreciation for the rule of law. On Friday, 22 GOP Members of the state's Congressional delegation sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. "This provision would have Texas violate her own State Constitution," they wrote. "The Texas Legislature has sole authority to determine State appropriations. Moreover, one Legislature cannot bind a future Legislature. Requiring the State to assure that a future Texas Legislature would commit to spend funds in accordance with these provisions would violate the Texas Constitution."

Texas Governor Rick Perry is also opposed to this new "assistance" from the federal government. He understands that one-time payments that force permanently higher state obligations are a windfall for government employees. But if given the choice, taxpayers would just say no.
Of course, we keep hearing that it's all about "the children" and saving the jobs of teachers. But the Journal also goes on to note that a Michigan teachers union refused to concede to changes in its members' health plan. The concession would have reduced the cost of family coverage from $23,000 per year to $17,000. It's like going from a Mercedes to a Cadillac, but they would have none of that. Why would they, when Congress and President Obama were waiting in the wings, ready to send them taxpayer funds they can use to fund their exorbitant benefit packages, all the while sending money back to the Democrats to help finance their campaigns.

No wonder Obama can't get his approval ratings out of the gutter. He and his fellow Democrats are legislating from the gutter. No matter how much they spend, the economy keeps getting worse. The Fed announced more plans to "stimulate" the economy and the stock market responded with its worst day in over a month. So much for confidence. The trade deficit is getting worse and millions of unemployed Americans can't find jobs.

This graph shows that none of the so called stimulus has stimulated anything but poverty and dependence in America.

No wonder the Democrats don't want to run on their record. Who would?

Cross posted from The Lonely Conservative

©2007-2012copyrightMaggie M. Thornton