Obama calls it an "emergency" measure to prevent "massive layoffs of teachers, police and firefighters." Yet, none of the 20 million state, county or municipal workers can lose their job unless an elected legislature and a chief executive agree that they should go.
Obama is calling for a taxpayer rescue of the political class to which he belongs, to spare it the painful duty tens of thousands of business executives have had to perform. Private employees -- 25 million of whom are out of work, underemployed or have given up looking for jobs -- may be expendable, but government workers are not.
As America is running a second consecutive deficit of $1.4 trillion, however, the U.S. government has no tax revenue to send to the cities and states. We would have to borrow the $50 billion from China, Japan and the Persian Gulf nations.
Obama is thus asking Congress to deepen America's fiscal crisis and put the next generation on the hook for another $50 billion so today's mayors and governors can get an exemption from their political duty.