A bailout for the mid-term elections

The Congress of the United States is on its way to enacting “Son of stimulus,” a $26 billion rescue package that will go to states and public schools across the country. States, remember, have balance-budget requirements, whereas the U.S. Government has the right to (literally) print money.

While the infusion of cash will certainly be welcome in administrative and legislative offices, to say nothing of the families of people who work for public schools, the aid package poses some serious questions, some of which touch on education and some of which go beyond it.

To take the broader perspective, it’s a good thing for states to have balanced-budget rules. But the federal money is a round-around those requirements. It is, in effect, a reward for states that have not practiced financial prudence.

It also means that states are more vulnerable than other to dictates from Washington. It seems to me that a lot of people who work for the public school industry don’t like being told what to do by Washington–think No Child Left Behind. Yet the new money would, morally if not legally, give Congress more rights to tell schools what to do.

Meanwhile, one observer calls the funding package, “pure political evil, a naked ploy to appease teachers’ unions and other public school employees that Democrats need motivated for the mid-term elections.”

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