Government, Education and Spending for Special Interests

I realize that that title it about as boring as it gets, but since it accurately reflects the topic at hand, it will have to do. Perhaps if I were able to get a government grant for some lessons in writing article titles I could improve . . . hmm. Anyway, you may have heard a bit from John Boehner recently about special interests. Here is part of his press release:

House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement after Democratic Leaders indicated they would call the House back into session to pass billions in additional ‘stimulus’ spending paid for with a job-killing tax hike on U.S. job creators:

“The American people don’t want more Washington ‘stimulus’ spending – especially in the form of a pay-off to union bosses and liberal special interests. This stunning display of tone-deafness comes at the expense of American workers, who will be hit by another job-killing tax hike because Washington Democrats can’t kick their addiction to more government ‘stimulus’ spending. Democrats should be listening to their constituents – who are asking ‘where are the jobs?’ – instead of scampering back to Washington to push through more special interest bailouts and job-killing tax hikes.

Some folks with Organizing for America took this and made the determination, since this bill (which Herseth Sandlin is now supporting) would set aside monies for education expenses, among others, that Boehner was calling out teachers as “special interests.” Here’s a video response from a trio of those offended persons:

The idea that we should not be spending money on special interests has a long and storied history in these United States. In fact, Joseph Story had this to say about Congress and proper usage of its spending power:

The true test is, whether the object be of a local character, and local use; or, whether it be of general benefit to the states. If it be purely local, congress cannot constitutionally appropriate money for the object. But, if the benefit be general, it matters not, whether in point of locality it be in one state, or several; whether it be of large, or of small extent.

Perhaps it we had stuck to this relatively simple (albeit old-fashioned) approach to disbursement of our tax dollars, we would have have groups such as teachers complaining that they are not special interests. Then again, we are so far from this standard that I greatly doubt we’ll ever return–but then, I’m more pessimistic as the day wanes toward night.

Back to the teachers for a moment. If they are not special interests why not? Do they not desire specific and particular positive economic treatment by the government by reason of their inclusion in the group? The rest of the nation is reeling from economic woes and the teacher’s unions wish to ensure that none of their members are let go or fired or furloughed or otherwise removed from employment? If that’s not the very definition of a special interest group then I confess to not being ‘specially interested in knowing what other group might fit that definition.