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Harry Moroz

A Jobs Bill Is In Our Future

The prospects of another jobs bill are about as dim as the Cavaliers’ hopes of keeping Lebron James in Cleveland (at least I think that’s the sports comparison of the hour). Or maybe not.

Visiting New York yesterday, Education Secretary Arne Duncan endorsed legislation, as he had last week in a letter to Senator Reid and Speaker Pelosi, that would funnel fiscal aid to states and school districts in order to prevent teacher cutbacks, of which Mayor Bloomberg expects there to be 6,400.

The surprise, though, is the explicit endorsement the administration gave to the supplemental appropriations bill as a legislative vehicle for the emergency education aid. The bill is one of the few pieces of legislation Congress must pass before this fall’s election.

This is a level of legislative specificity that the administration is not known for and, as Firedoglake points out, the administration has in the past seemed a little too “realistic” about the outlook for an ambitious jobs bill in Congress.

But 300,000 teacher layoffs would, as Secretary Duncan expressed, have a devastating impact not only on his efforts at education reform but on the weak economy, as well. The administration’s willingness to push the measure through the supplemental appropriations bill shows that the proposal is not just about election year optics: the administration knows that savings these jobs is vital to recovery.

While it is easier to argue that teachers’ jobs must be saved, expanding this fiscal assistance to include all local government service jobs would have an even greater impact on economic recovery.

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Posted at 4:40 PM, May 19, 2010 in
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