Monday, September 06, 2010

More Ignorance From the White House

Again, more from the President's weekly address:
The steps we have taken to date have stopped the bleeding: investments in roads and bridges and high-speed railroads that will lead to hundreds of thousands of jobs in the private sector; emergency steps to prevent the layoffs of hundreds of thousands of teachers and firefighters and police officers; and tax cuts and loans for small business owners who create most of the jobs in America.
Where to start?  Roads and bridges are short-term employment, and too often used to pay back the states whose legislators carry the White House message - i.e., political payback.  Unlike the 1950s and 1960s, when the roads made possible growth in new suburbs and cities, today's roads are just repair jobs, and lead to NO long-term job creation.

Repair of bridges, while often desperately needed, often closes down major business access to markets, further depressing the economy, while employing only a fraction of the workers who lose their jobs.

While I'm generally in favor of teachers, firefighters, and police officers, it's Constitutionally wrong to use federal money for the purpose of keeping them employed.  Further, the teachers who are being laid off are generally K-8 - many of the teachers who were laid off from K-3 jobs were originally employed to keep class sizes low, often in the 15-18 student range.  Now that class sizes are increasing, it's often to the 20-25 student range.  Not that different.

Where the impact on class size is huge is the middle and high school populations.  Class sizes of 30-40 are not unusual.  With reasonably cooperative students, not impossible.  With unruly, undisciplined, or poorly educated students, it's a nightmare.

How about firefighters and policemen?  I'd hate to see either go; but by paying for their salaries, cities are able to keep from tossing out occupants of the many bloated city hall offices.  They could try eliminating many jobs, reducing the number of workers, and out-sourcing the jobs, if necessary.  All of those solutions to the budget crunch keep the safety workers employed.

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