In 1975, Congress passed the predecessor law to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, designed to improve special education. Programs under IDEA received $11.6 billion in funding in 2012, and much of that money goes to hiring teachers.
In all, the federal government pays for nearly 11 percent of the country's public school costs.
Uncle Sam also funds thousands of police jobs ever since the Community Oriented Policing Services program was created in 1994. In its first eight years, COPS provided about a billion dollars annually, mostly for hiring. In 2010, separate from any stimulus spending, the federal government awarded $298 million for 1,388 officers. It spent $247 million to hire more than 1,000 officers in 2011. About 800 will be hired with $111 million in 2012. The Congressional Research Service estimated that as of January 2011 the program had paid for the hiring of 117,000 officers.
The feds have doled out less for firefighters, but the money is still substantial. In 2009 and 2010, the Federal Emergency Management Agency awarded some $630 million under Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grants, hiring about 3,400 firefighters. Grants are still being awarded in the 2011-2012 period, for which Congress has set aside about $640 million.
[The President’s] got a new idea though. And that is to have another stimulus, and to have the Federal government send money to try to bail out cities and states. It didn't work the first time, and it certainly wouldn't work the second time.