Yesterday the the House passed a bill to provide $26.1 billion dollars in state aid to fund education and healthcare and President Obama immediately signed it. This aid will prevent layoffs of many teachers and state employees.
State governments have been under extreme fiscal pressures as the property tax base and sales tax base have been erroded by the recession. Budgetary cutbacks on the state level generally mean that our most vulnerable citizens - the elderly, disabled and children - no longer have access to vital services like health care, rehabilitiation and education.
I am glad to see that Congress and the Administration have taken this issue seriously and have acted swiftly even in the face of opposition by Republicans. I am not clear why Republicans are so opposed to this particular bailout. I understand the criticism of too much government spending and the fear of growth in government. However, a healthy, educated, productive workforce is the cornerstone of a free market economy. In fact, when we go into "developing" nations, the first investments are transportation, education and health care because until society is "productive" there will be no ability for capitalists to make money.
I opposed the auto and bank bailouts, but I strongly support this package because the money is earmarked for specific, measurable programs, it will prevent layoffs, and the programs it supports have a multipler effect in the communities. What do you think?