Apparently President Barack Obama wasn't paying attention in Economics I class. Either that, or he understands full well a major reason why many state budgets are strapped is the federal government.
During his weekly radio address Aug. 18, Obama bemoaned layoffs of teachers in many states. Something has to be done about that, he stressed.
As many as 300,000 people have lost their jobs in education since the recession ended officially in 2009, according to a federal study. Obama is using it in an attempt to prod Congress to approve $25 billion to aid states in rehiring laid-off educators.
Of course, had Obama's vaunted "stimulus" program done what he claimed it would - revive the economy and reduce unemployment rates dramatically - state economies would be better able to handle public school spending. Fewer teachers would have been laid off.
But federal mandates, including drastic increases in Medicaid spending, have forced many states, including West Virginia and Ohio, to cut back in other areas of spending. Had spending required by Washington not been a factor, some states probably could have devoted more to public schools.
Even if Congress approves the $25 billion, the program will end at some point - leaving schools in many states back where they started. The solution, of course, is to cut the federal burden on states as well as U.S. families and businesses. That is not on Obama's agenda, however.