The American Jobs Act is what happens when a president bereft of ideas finally gives up, throws caution to the wind, and decides to amuse himself. The joke is outrageous and expensive, but make no mistake. Joke or not, Barack Obama knows that this bill may be his last stand, just as we fear his presidency is ours.
This is the pro-union education and infrastructure spending bill we have been threatened with for months. There is nothing in the Jobs Act that we have not heard of or paid for before. Mr. Obama demands we pass his bill immediately because the word is already out as to how much of the $440 billion will go to pay the salaries of public sector employees, and to infrastructure projects that target unionized private sector industries.
With super committee deliberations underway, and the threat of across-the-board cuts lurking in the background, funding to appease the president’s supporters is drying up. Mr. Obama’s smash and grab, pass it now approach is not going to make it past the House, despite his appeals to nonexistent bipartisanship. The strategy is to take the bill directly to the people, and anyone in opposition will be labeled obstructionist, and blamed as the jobless numbers rise.
There is help for small business in the Jobs Act, but this is a straw man easy to spot. Payroll tax cuts and other assistance are little more than sops to make the pro-union spending seem palatable. Billions will go to bankroll the irresponsible behavior of our states, and to kowtow to the demands of public employee unions with 7.6 million members, and a membership rate of 42.3% at the local level. 
Spending billions to bail out states and localities is a shameful use of federal tax dollars. State and local governments and public employee unions are guilty of approving overgenerous salaries and benefits that deplete budgets, and force states to come begging. The president’s bill panders to campaign supporters with a temporary fix that funds salaries until the money runs out. $5 billion in the Jobs Act goes to police and firefighters, and a whopping $30 billion to teachers “facing potential layoffs and furloughs.”  Whether these layoffs and furloughs are real, threatened, or illusory is anyone’s guess.
If the president was serious about the economy, he would stop empowering out of control public employee unions, and demand that states and localities regain control of their budgets. He would demand that states be responsible for their fiscal condition, instead of relying on federal bailouts to pay for their workers, and to renovate their schools. Instead, the Obama administration has created a vicious cycle of damaging, contradictory policies that reinforce union demands for ever higher salaries and benefits. Education Secretary Arne Duncan fanned the flames by claiming that $150,000 is an appropriate salary for good teachers (see: Will Taxpayers Support Raising Teacher Salaries 165%?). Duncan ignores the reality many teachers already earn generous salaries, which command equally generous pensions. With unfunded state pension liabilities as high as $2-$3 trillion, and outstanding state and local debt of $2.4 trillion in 2009,  bailouts enable states and localities to delay the consequences of their irresponsibility, and allow unions to continue to control the work force that provides education and other public services.
It is a very bad deal for taxpayers to be forced to pay for state and local employees more than once, but the president asks that we pay with our state and local taxes, and again with our federal tax dollars. We spent $10 billion on teacher’s jobs last summer when the Teacher Jobs Bill was passed, and now we are faced with spending $35 billion more for public employees while the administration tells us that teachers should be rewarded with $150,000 salaries. This is a travesty. States should be given three options: lay off workers, cut salaries and benefits, or both. Otherwise, they will never get their fiscal houses in order.
Washington claims that it is trying to figure out how to cut its own spending. In the meantime, we suddenly have a $440 billion bill that helps states indulge their irresponsible ways while the Obama administration encourages unions that drive up the cost of public employees. The president’s joke is clever, and he deserves some credit for that, but will he still be laughing when this bill goes nowhere?