* New White House report says 300,000 education jobs lost
* Obama says Republican budget plan would cut thousands more
* He wants voters to identify Romney with this austerity
WASHINGTON, Aug 18 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.