News Story

Policy Analyst Reaction: The Teacher Salary Bailout

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan says $23 billion is needed to keep 300,000 educators employed. The education "bailout" would keep 9,630 educators employed in Michigan. Reports from Congress on Thursday indicated that the proposal is facing an uphill battle for approval.

Analysts at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy sound off about it:

Joseph Lehman, president: Secretary Duncan called for "responsible" action, but bailing out states and schools that won't control their spending is not responsible.  The federal government should not bail out state lawmakers or school boards that won't prioritize spending and bring it in line with revenues.

Such bailouts should not happen even if the federal government had the money, but it does not. It is running huge deficits which means it would have to borrow the funds to send bailout checks to anybody. This proposal is a perfect example of what is driving thousands into the streets to protest government that is out of touch and spending that is out of control.

Michael Van Beek, director of education policy: The Obama administration is portrayed as vigorously fighting for educational reforms in large part because of the hubbub over the  "Race to the Top" program, but the reality is that they've pumped nearly $100 billion into funding the public school status quo with stimulus dollars and are now advocating for another $23 billion to add to that total. If one were keeping score, that'd be $4.35 billion to promote change in education, and $123 billion to make sure things stay the same.

Jack McHugh, senior legislative analyst: It would be yet one more pay-off from the political class to the government employee unions, dishonestly purchased with debt loaded on to future taxpayers. No reasonable person can read the descriptions of what is in Michigan teacher contracts and conclude that indenturing the incomes of future citizens to hand over even more is anything less than immoral.

Russ Harding, director Property Rights Network: Borrowing more money and increasing the national debt will harm the U.S. economy and will only encourage schools to postpone making the necessary structural changes needed for long term financial stability. This proposal is just a political giveaway to a favored interest - teachers unions.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.