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Spending Money We Don’t Have

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The Washington Post reported last night that the Obama Adminstration was supporting $23 billion in emergency funding for states to avoid teacher layoffs.

Politico’s Kendra Marr reports that the Administration’s $4.35 billion dollar grant program/contest for shcools is generating criticism across the country, even as the White House asks for another $1.35 billion for the program. (There is $3.4 billion not yet spent in the DOE’s coffers.)

Neither story mentions that the country is headed towards a deficit of between $1.4 and $1.6 trillion. An appropriation is simply borrowed money –another mortgage on the already bankrupt future of the country.

School systems across the country simply have to reboot, probably beginning with existing contracts and levels of employment. Like GM and Chrysler, and now Greece, unsustainable levels of spending are, well, unsustainable. States could and should reconfigure their spending priorities so that schools are right behind public safety, but state legislatures prefer to rush to D.C. to ask for bailouts.

The GOP has got to be willing to say no. Education budgets are the jobs of the states, not the feds, and the feds don’t have any money to begin with. At a minimum the $3.4 billion that Arne Duncan hasn’t yet spent on the “Race to the Top” should be redirected to any “bailout” before an even deeper debt hole is dug.

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