On September 8th and September 15th, my favorite liberal, Democratic moonbat, Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, had two “Go Obama” press releases that basically said the same thing about his American Jobs Act, otherwise known as Stimulus II, or Special Interest Payoff (insert number here). Without getting into the “soak the rich” rhetoric and double counting of savings from the wind down of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and other fuzzy math, I looked at a particular quote which she used twice: “This legislation also places special emphasis on getting unemployed Americans back to work- from veterans, to teachers, to construction workers, to first responders-…” So, using some statistics I found on-line, I looked into these job categories (but not veterans).
Every year, usually in spring near the end of the end of the school year while school boards are preparing budgets for the next school year, we hear the perennial cry about pending teacher layoffs and loss of teaching jobs at a time when we should be stressing education. In June 2010, for example, teacher unions were predicting 300,000 teachers would lose their jobs in that year alone. That number was used to justify a $23 billion proposed bailout of the educational establishment by the Federal government. In fact, these figures are derived from estimates based on notifications which are required for school boards to basically cover their asses. According to the US Education Department, in 2008 there were 3,233,000 public school teachers in the US. In 2010, there were 3,219,458, a loss of 13,542 teachers. Furthermore, the primary reason for teacher turnover is they found a better opportunity elsewhere. Reductions in workforce through layoffs and terminations (almost an impossibility given archaic tenure laws) ranks very low on the reasons for a teacher turnover.
Alright, you may say, but with increasing enrollment and decreasing number of teachers, isn’t that a bad thing? Despite these facts, the teacher to student ratio in 2008 was 15.0 to one, while in 2010, it was 15.7 to one, which was the ratio in 2001. The historical average since 1970 is 16.9 to one. Regardless, the nexus between class size and academic performance is tenuous at best. There are a lot of factors. I substitute teach in an urban public school system. Some classes have 22 students and they perform quite well while some classes have 14 students and they are bedlam. In my home state of New Jersey, Newark has a teacher-student ratio of 10.7:1 AND THE WORST TEST SCORES in the state.
Regarding those first responders, in 2006 we had, according to the Department of Justice, there were 803,000 police officers in the US versus 921,000 in 2009. That is an increase of 118,000 officers. Meanwhile, among career firefighters (non-volunteers), in 2007 there were 323,350 while in 2009 there were 408,650, or an increase of 85,300. So taking these three public service categories, over a 2-3 year period, while the private sector was shedding jobs, the public sector added over 400,000 jobs.
There are two ways to address this alleged “problem” that boils down to the quantity versus quality dilemma. Do we inundate the educational system with teachers, or do we retain and reward and the most effective teachers? Do we just go out and hire police and firemen willy-nilly, or do we make sure our existing forces have the best training and equipment to do their jobs? Has consolidation of services by neighboring communities been utilized to address staff cuts? There is a plethora of ideas that better address the perceived problems than attacking it through sheer numbers. The teachers, in particular, are an especially protected class of public worker by the Democratic Party given the amount of campaign contributions from teacher unions to Democratic candidates.
With construction, the numbers are more up-to-date. In 2007, there were 7.268 million construction employees employed in the US compared to 5.524 in 2011. That is a loss of 1.744 million construction jobs in a four year period. No one denies that the infrastructure in the United States needs repairs. However, because of onerous Federal regulations like Bacon-Davis and environmental rules, there is no such thing as a “shovel ready” project. Bacon-Davis is a particularly egregious example of a Federal law that restricts job growth and costs the government billions every year. Does making, for example, $25 an hour (a hypothetical prevailing wage) versus making $22.50 an hour that great of a difference to the unemployed construction worker? How many traffic feasibility studies are required before a shovel is put in the ground to widen a highway? And God forbid there a horned owl or tree frog discovered in the path of that shovel. Here is a perfect example of how Obama’s job plan is a farce. The proposed pipeline from Canada’s oil fields to refineries in Texas will be a hotly debated topic in the coming months. This is a huge public works project that would hire many construction workers in many states. But without a doubt in my mind, there will be resistance to this from environmental groups that will delay and drive costs up at a time when we could use the jobs and the oil from a reliable ally. Another job creator that Obama seems to turn a blind eye towards is development of the offshore and even onshore oil/natural gas exploration and exploitation. The American Petroleum Institute estimates that if fully implemented, it would create over 1 million good paying jobs over the next decade. Instead, the Interior Department is paralyzed by the one-off BP oil spill. By all means, make the oil company responsible for 100% of the clean up costs, make them post bonds or whatever. But when there is a win-win-win situation staring you in the face, now is not the time to pander to your liberal, tree-hugging base.
Debbie Wasserman-Schultz can fawn over Obama’s pandering jobs plan all she wants, but recent history has proven that “summers of recovery” are a farce. You want to create jobs? There is a two-part solution. First, get government the hell out of the way and secondly, fire Barack Obama in 2012. A new face in the White House would be the greatest job creator in the United States.
Incidentally, regarding construction, most of the job losses are attributable to the housing market collapse which precipitated this entire economic debacle. Yet, while Obama and company tout banking reform, that same reform does precious little to address the underlying housing problem in America. Again, Obama misread the tea leaves and expended political capital, as he did with Obamacare- something we, as a nation, cannot afford for another four years.
HELP CREATE JOBS– FIRE BARACK OBAMA IN 2012.