“Gut Check Time”: AP Smashes Another Obama Speech
October 11, 2011 - 2:43 pm
Speaking in Pittsburgh today, President Obama once again called on Congress to pass the Save Obama Bill, a bill he has no intention of passing at all. Calling the moment “gut check time,” Obama pushed Republicans to pass the bill despite the fact that most of the problems he is encountering in getting a vote on it are coming from vulnerable Democrats.
Update: Let me try this again. Today Obama spoke in PA. The AP fact-check, below, is of a different speech he delivered in Texas. Substantively, he says pretty much the same things about the bill wherever he goes.
Whether it’s gut check time or not, the AP decided it was fact check time. Bam:
OBAMA: “Now, this bill will prevent up to 280,000 teachers from losing their jobs. This bill will support almost 40,000 jobs right here in the great state of Texas. So here’s what I need you to do: Tell Congress to pass this bill and put teachers back in the classroom where they belong,” Obama said Oct. 4 at Eastfield College in Mesquite, Texas.
THE FACTS: There’s no doubt that public schools, which rely heavily on state dollars, are hurting. Since 2008, when the economy collapsed, about 294,000 education jobs have been lost, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That figure includes not only public school teachers, but also administrative and support personnel and employees of colleges and universities. In desperation, school districts have not only laid off teachers and aides but taken measures such as eliminating pre-K programs, going to a four-day school week and cutting bus routes.
Obama is predicting that without his legislation, nearly as many jobs will be lost this school year as in the past three school years combined. In a report released this month titled “Teacher Jobs at Risk,” the White House says “as many as” 280,000 teacher jobs are at risk in the coming year. But to get to that number, the White House makes a lot of assumptions.
The administration says it started with projected state budget shortfalls in a report from the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. It then made a series of assumptions, including that spending cuts in each state would be applied proportionally across major budget categories, and that school salaries would be cut in proportion to their share of total spending for K-12 education. The spending cuts were then converted into numbers of jobs based on teacher pay in each state.
Even the group the White House relied on for its data says you can’t do that. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities said in another report that “it is not possible to calculate directly the additional loss of jobs resulting from state education budget cuts.”
The AP also hits Obama for claiming again that his legislation will “create or save” jobs, when that’s impossible to quantify.
President Obama won Pennsylvania comfortably in 2008 but is underwater there now. Brazenly fibbing about what his bill will and won’t do is unlikely to help.