May 29 2013
Vicki E. Alger
Remember all those teaching jobs “saved or created” thanks to President Obama’s stimulus package back in 2009? Just two years later the Cato Institute’s Jim Powell dubbed the stimulus a “comedy of errors.” Today, it has become more of a star-crossed lover with the Affordable Health Care Act, or ObamaCare.
A growing number of school officials are reporting that ObamaCare is so costly they’re having to choose between paying teachers or compliance officers. This is ridiculous on its face since the U.S. Department of Education paid out the second largest share of stimulus funds, some $93 billion to date. (The Department of Health and Human Services came in first among 10 federal agencies for doling out more than $133 billion so far.)
One Utah school district estimates its price tag for Obama’s “Affordable” Care Act will be more than $14 million next year when the law takes effect. In response that district has restricted the hours of thousands of part-time employees, including substitute teachers, bus drivers, and security officers. Similarly, hundreds of part-time workers at an Ohio district were informed if they worked more than 25 hours, they could be terminated.
Another kind of trouble is brewing in Pennsylvania as 10 school districts figure out how to pay for ObamaCare but not run afoul of their teachers union contracts, which do not require teachers to contribute to their health care premiums. Absent those contributions, the districts will need to call for local tax increases. “It’s a crisis waiting to happen and it’s a crisis you don’t fix overnight,” said a negotiator for several area school districts.
The stimulus package has been rife with fraud and abuse, resulting in nearly 2,000 investigations as of 2012. So technically, the stimulus has put some people to work, namely government bean counters and criminal investigators. Trouble is those jobs cost Americans employed outside the Beltway anywhere between $160,000 and $2 million per job “saved or created.” Others, as we’re seeing now, are being crowded out of their current jobs for the sake of government “stimulus” and “affordable” health care.