World Bulletin/News Desk
President Barack Obama accused Republicans on Saturday of a backward approach to education funding that would mean further teacher layoffs, in a veiled swipe at Republican vice presidential hopeful Paul Ryan, who has led a drive for domestic-spending cuts.
Obama used his weekly radio and Internet address to press for increased investment in schools, as a new White House report showed more than 300,000 education jobs have been lost since the 2007-2009 recession and asserted that Republican budget proposals would call for cutting tens of thousands more.
Though Obama did not mention Ryan by name, the Wisconsin congressman - a fiscal hawk picked last week by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney to be his running mate - authored the Republicans' budget blueprint that passed the House of Representatives last March with no Democratic support.
The Ryan plan subsequently died in the Democratic-controlled Senate, but Obama's campaign wants voters to identify Romney with Ryan's austerity plan, especially with its potential impact on popular programs like Medicare and public education.
"This year, several thousand fewer educators will be going back to school," Obama said. "Since 2009, we've lost more than 300,000 education jobs, in part, because of budget cuts at the state and local level."
"At a time when the rest of the world is racing to out-educate America, these cuts force our kids into crowded classrooms," he said.
Obama earlier this year proposed $25 billion in funding for states to prevent teacher layoffs. But Republicans blocked the initiative because it was part of Obama's broader jobs package that they considered mostly wasteful spending.
"The economic plan that almost every Republican in Congress voted for would make the situation even worse. It would actually cut funding for education," he said. "All to pay for a massive new tax cut for millionaires and billionaires."
"That's backwards. That's wrong," he said.
Obama has focused on education as part of his strategy to paint himself as a champion of the middle class and cast Romney as out-of-touch with ordinary Americans.
The plan crafted by Ryan, chairman of the House budget committee, calls for reductions of about 20 percent in non-defense discretionary spending.
If these cuts were distributed evenly across budget areas, the White House report said, it would mean reductions in federal grants that would eliminate funding for 38,000 teachers and aides and a further 27,000 special-education teachers.
Ryan's budget plan attempts to slow the federal government's deficit spending, largely by cutting social programs and restructuring the Medicare healthcare system for the elderly. At the same time, Ryan proposed expensive income tax cuts, including rate reductions for the wealthy.
Former statistics chief is charged with falsifying data that laid groundwork for controversial Greek bailout
Sadiq Khan makes first international visit since he came to office in May to Paris
New figures show immigration to Britain dipped ahead of EU referendum but remained far above government targets
Council of State will issue ruling on controversial bans within 48 hours
UK politician's criticism comes as Scottish police reveal plans to incorporate hijab into uniform
Qayyara is a strategically important area for Iraqi forces planning to capture Mosul
Abu Zubayda, who the CIA admitted it had waterboarded and who has never been charged with a crime, appears for first time in 14 years at quasi-parole hearing
The CIA has declassified foreign intelligence briefings it gave President Nixon in the 1970s
Ennahda is the largest party in the 217-seat Tunisian parliament with 69 members
Kayed was placed under administrative detention for six months after he completed a 14.5-year prison sentence for his alleged work with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
Police chiefs, in order to boost the number of Muslim women in the police force, want to make the force 'representative of the communities we serve'
Four-year talks result in deal to end decades of deadly conflict
Kenya struck oil for first time in northeastern Turkana county in 2012
Just weeks after a failed coup, Turkey's entry wins support from leading European countries
Move reflects diversity of Canada, encourages Muslims to join RCMP