Tag Archives: public school construction

President Obama’s job speech reacted to by Heritage Foundation scholars (Part 4)

President Obama’s job speech reacted to by Heritage Foundation scholars (Part 4)

Ernest Istook at the Saint Paul Tea Party Rally 4/16/2011 Part 1

Ernest Istook, US Congressman, Heritage Foundation, http://www.heritage.org, spoke at the Saint Paul Tea Party Rally 4/16/2011. Hosted by North Star Tea Party Patriots, and Sue Jeffers.

I love going to the Heritage Foundation website because of articles like this:

Heritage’s experts watched President Barack Obama’s jobs speech delivered to a joint session of Congress. Here are some of their immediate reactions:

President Calls for Ill-advised Federal School Construction

As expected, tonight President Obama called on taxpayers to send their hard-earned money to the federal government so that Washington can pour that money into public school construction. In an attempt to boost job growth, the president suggested spending billions on school infrastructure projects to “modernize 35,000 public schools.”

Since President Obama came into office, spending on public education has skyrocketed:

  • Education budget in 2008: $59.2 billion
  • Education budget in 2011: $69.9 billion
  • Department of Education “stimulus” award (Spring 2009): $98 billion
  • “Edujobs” public education bailout (Summer 2010): $10 billion

And state and local school construction spending has also seen significant increases.

By some estimates, inflation-adjusted school construction spending has increased 150 percent in the last two decades. And unfortunately, profligacy and waste are the norm. Remember the $500 million RFK high school in Los Angeles, built last year after a California bond referendum was enacted? There are certainly schools in ill-repair, but this maintenance should be a local concern. Washington should not be in the business of school window repair, updating facilities, or repainting buildings. Schools don’t need increased federal funding for school repairs; they need more flexibility with funding to be able to use dollars for needs they consider pressing.

The president’s proposal to funnel more taxpayer dollars into school construction has both constitutional and pragmatic problems. School construction has historically been – and should remain – the job of states and localities. Federal forays into school construction have been rare and indirect. Federally-funded school construction is also a terribly expensive way to build schools: Washington-funded jobs must pay prevailing wages, increasing costs on average by 22 percent.

In calling for federally-funded school construction, President Obama is once again supporting Washington overreach in education. But he’s also behind the game in terms of the direction school policy is trending. As states and localities begin embracing online learning  – and as education shifts to a world outside of the walls of physical school buildings – President Obama is pushing to subsidize the old model. The administration might think “school construction” polls better than other government “jobs” projects, but it’s just as destined to be a waste of taxpayer money, and a public policy failure.

– Lindsey Burke

Not A ‘Jobs Plan’ — Just Stimulus Redux

What President Obama calls a “jobs” plan is really just stimulus redux: a typical Keynesian-style set of infrastructure, school construction, teacher pay, unemployment benefits, and temporary tax breaks that have demonstrably failed in the two-and-a-half years since the $825-billion Recovery Act.

Obamanomics has left the economy with a growth rate just a fraction above 1 percent, nearly 2 million fewer Americans working, and an unemployment rate higher now than when he took office. Government cannot “grow the economy” (as if it were a field of strawberries), and it cannot create private sector jobs. It can only maintain conditions conducive to growth — limiting government spending and regulation, keeping tax rates low, and removing the uncertainties caused by feckless public policies.

– Patrick Knudsen