Since being sworn into office a little over a month ago, President Barack Obama has found a way to increase the size of government spending in just about every possible way. Except when it comes to government spending to empower parents to better educate their children. George Will notes:
In one wee particular, congressional Democrats want to shrink government. At the behest of the teachers’ unions, the $410 billion omnibus spending bill dooms a $14 million (a rounding error on GM’s bailout) scholarship program that enables 1,800 children, mostly low-income and minorities, to escape the District of Columbia’s catastrophic public schools. But sinking this lifeboat for the poor serves liberalism’s dependency agenda: No poor child left outside the government’s education plantation.
The Examiner’s Tim Carney details just how the teachers’ unions became such a powerful special interest in the Obama Administration and Congress:
Beltway bandits, defense contractors, influential industries—most of them pale in their influence efforts compared to the teachers unions, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics.
Take defense contractors. Lockheed Martin, the top recipient of military contracts most years, spent more on politics than any other defense firm in the 2008 elections. They still spent less than the American Federation of Teachers, which shelled out $2.8 million in the last cycle—with nearly every AFT dime going to Democrats.
The top two teachers unions—AFT and the National Education Association—spent more combined, $5.27 million, than the top two defense contractors.
The top five lobbying firms, combined, didn’t equal the AFT and the NEA in federal contributions in the 2008 cycle. Both of the teachers unions gave more than any oil company, and the NEA and AFT combined gave more than the top four oil companies combined.
These contributions give the unions clout, and federal lobbying records show they use this clout. Again, on closer inspection, the teachers unions look an awful lot like those corporate special interests Democrats supposedly oppose.