Commentary: White House Job Plan Shortsighted

Budget, Featured, Pelican Site Featured — By on October 6, 2011 6:30 am
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Nearly no federal funding for Louisiana’s new jobs after 2012

NEW ORLEANS, La. - President Obama has been touring the country in hopes of gaining momentum for his $450 billion plan to create jobs and stimulate the economy.

The bill would set aside $434,400,000 to support 6,300 education and first responder jobs in Louisiana.

However, simple math shows that the plan is shortsighted, as it only provides a temporary boost to public sector employment while further burdening taxpayers.

Dividing $434,400,000 by 6,300 yields $68,952 to cover salary, benefits and other costs associated with providing each job in Louisiana.

Currently, Louisiana has 49,377 public school teachers.

According to the Louisiana Department of Education, the average salary for a public or secondary school teacher was $48,903 for 2009-2010.

Total benefits expenditure for teachers was $421,427,270 for the same time period, or $8,534 per teacher.

Therefore, salary and benefits included, the average Louisiana public school teacher costs $57,437 per year, using up $361,853,100 of the federal money and thus leaving only $72,546,900 for first responders and for teachers in the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

Andrew Coulson, director of the Center for Educational Freedom at the Cato Institute, contends that President Obama “is simply wrong” when he claims that the U.S. has not been aggressive enough in hiring at the K-12 level and that if we increase public school staff student achievement will rise.

“We’ve been on an outrageous hiring binge for 40 years, completely divorced from student enrollment levels. Public school employment has grown 10 times faster than enrollment.”

Coulson’s research shows that this “hiring binge” has tripled the cost of sending a child through the K-12 system, while performance near the end of high school has been stagnant (reading and math) or even declining (science).

“Just returning to the staff-to-student ratio of 1980 would save almost $150 billion annually,” Coulson adds.

The American Jobs Act includes $35 billion for state and local government employees: $30 billion to hire or preserve jobs of public school teachers and $5 billion for police officers, firefighters and other first responders.

Robert Ross is a researcher and social media strategist with the Pelican Institute for Public Policy. He can be contacted at rross@pelicaninstitute.org, and you can follow him on twitter.

 

 


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