When President Barack Obama signed the latest bailout for spendthrift states and government unions, he claimed the $10 billion earmarked for education spending would save the jobs of 160,000 teachers. But as we pointed out before the bill was signed, this number was completely made up. Since local governments always exaggerate the number of government workers they will lay off, only a tiny fraction of teacher jobs was ever in real jeopardy. And even then, layoffs could have been avoided if teachers unions would have just agreed to pay freezes or cuts.
Undaunted by this reality, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) took to the floor of the Senate last week and claimed that the state bailout bill would save 3,300 teaching jobs in her state alone. There is one problem, though. The Washington Professional Educators Standards Board surveyed school districts last spring and found that just 445 teachers in the entire state received reduction-in-force letters last spring. Oops. So how did Murray come up with her 3,300 number? The Tacoma News Tribune reports:
Congressional math, it appears. Since Washingtonians are a bit more than 2 percent of the nation’s population, we’ll get a bit more than 2 percent of the $10 billion appropriated for teacher jobs.
Divide the average pay and benefits for a teacher into the $206 million and you get 3,300 jobs. From that, Murray extrapolates to claim thousands of threatened layoffs.
Murray was not the only one making up fake “jobs saved” numbers. The Washington State Democrat Party then added the $206 million in education cash to Washington’s share of the national $16.2 billion Medicaid bailout ($340 million) for a total of 6,400 governemnt jobs saved. But again, there was no connection between the bailout dollars and jobs saved. The News Tribune contacted both Gov. Christine Gregoire’s (D) office and House Ways and Means Committee Chairwoman Kelli Linville, D-Bellingham. Neither would support the 6,400 jobs number.
Faced with these realities, Washington State Democratic Party spokesperson Anne Martens on Friday admitted the 6,400 jobs number was completely fake and apologized: “You had every right to call us out for that and I’m embarrassed about it. I apologize and we’re going to vet everything more thoroughly from now on.