Bush Campaign Lies

Monday, April 05, 2004

Bush Campaign Lie #22: The Bush Plan Will 'Double the Number of Workers Receiving Job Training' 

I noticed that I've fallen into a rut of debunking Bush lies about Kerry, specifically Kerry's alleged 'flip-flops'. So I was determined to find a lie about Bush's own plan. I have to admit, it wasn't easy. The Republicans are very cagey about phrasing their propaganda in a way which allows the greatest latitude for interpretation. However, we've got one here.

At the GOP website, there is a page titled "Better Training for Better Jobs". In typical Republican style, it contains a number of headings and subheadings, each followed by a collection of numbers and rhetoric which may or may not support the thesis of the heading. But at one point, in bold typeface and underlined, it says "President Bush proposed significant reforms to Federal worker training programs to double the number of workers receiving job training. . . .". The supporting prose claims he will accomplish this, in part, by training 200,000 people through programs run by 'community colleges, unions, and businesses.'

This is news to the AFL-CIO, the single largest organization in America representing unionized labor. Here's what they think of the Bush plan:

"Since taking office, the president has cut job training by almost $1 billion in real dollars. And under the proposed fiscal year (FY) 2005 budget, net funding for job training will fall in real terms from its FY 2004 level.

In addition to limiting resources, the Bush budget continues to propose drastic changes to job training and re-employment programs that will greatly diminish the federal role in this area of key national importance, reduce accountability and increase outsourcing of public employment service programs.

The cumulative effect of the Bush proposals is to dilute the resources and efficacy of job training and job search assistance programs."
I know that many folks will object to this quote, insisting that the AFL-CIO routinely backs Democrats, and they're right. However, if Bush really plans to use union programs to help double the number of workers receiving job training, don't you think he would have gotten the unions on board with the plan before announcing it publicly?

The community colleges are equally skeptical. From the Chronicle of Higher Education:

"At the same time that President Bush requested $250-million for a new job-training program, he proposed slashing funds for existing programs that benefit community colleges, including $300-million from the Carl D. Perkins program, which gives money to community colleges for training low-income students for jobs, and $64-million from the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), which funds training for displaced workers.

Along with cuts in other job-training programs, community colleges are likely to see a net loss in the federal funds they get for training workers. 'Essentially, the president is robbing Peter to pay Paul,' says Jason Walsh, director of field operations for the Workforce Alliance, a Washington-based advocacy group. 'It's a shell game. The money that goes into the new proposal gets shifted from other very necessary work-force-training programs.'"
Indeed, when pressed about cuts to the Workforce Investment Act, the Gannett News Service reports that "The Bush administration bills the cuts as minor and emphasizes that overall spending on job training is roughly flat" (emphasis mine).

So Bush is going to double the number of workers receiving job training while leaving overall spending on job training 'roughly flat' --- or, as the AFL-CIO points out, decreasing spending in real terms. Smells like a lie to me.

10:11 PM