I just went through the list of items covered in the final version of the stimulus plan (so called) and added up all the sums that were targeted at projects that could actually lead to jobs. I came up with $146.2 billion, which figures out to be 18.5 percent of the whole pie. The rest goes to what could be called the welfare state.
The implication here is pretty obvious: The Democrats decided to expand their favorite federal programs (some implemented by the states with fed dollars) while masquerading the whole thing as a “job-creating” stimulus package.
The question remains whether the targeted projects will “create or save” three million jobs (I also heard that Obama had raised that promised figure to four million). I’ve got a feeling that the $146.2 will just go to support unionized workers who are already working. At any rate, how does one prove that something “saves” four million jobs?
Here are the areas where money will be spent on job-creating or -saving projects: 1) Create a new “smart” power grid (to replace our current “dumb” one, I guess), $30 billion; 2) Repair and make energy efficient public housing, $6.3 billion; 3) Extend broadband services, $7 billion (again, does this create or save jobs?); 4) Implement electronic health records (EHRs), $19 billion; 5) Modernize roads and bridges, $29 billion; 6) Improve public transit and rail, $16.4 billion; 7) Restore lean water and modernize flood control, $18 billion; and 8 and last) Modernize federal and public buildings, $9.5 billion (again, already-existing union workers who will now get triple-time).
I guess that’s why White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel warned early on that “this is no time to waste a good crisis.”
*N.B.: I loosely included the health IT’s portion, $19 billion, but as I further thought about it, this really doesn’t create any jobs; it just goes to buy equipment and services that are already available. If I delete this sum, the total going to “jobs” is reduced to $127.2, or 16 percent.