The Economic Stimulus Package - What Will It Do?
Biden Predicts 400,000 jobs will be created by stimulus package
Trying to predict the future when it comes to the economy is tenuous at best. There are so many variables that can affect it, not the least of which is consumer anxiety, that anyone who tries to predict the exact impact any piece of legislation will have is merely putting forth a hypothetical educated guess.
That said, Joe Biden is predicting that if the economic stimulus package that is being debated in Congress is passed, at least 400,000 jobs will be created by the package. Furthermore, independent analysis of the legislation predicts that between 3 and 4 million jobs could be saved by this bill.
The major expenditures being planned for this bill are upgrades to the nation's infrastructure, ranging from roads and bridges to seaports and train stations. Here in Maine, where I reside, construction workers who are desperate for work came out in support of the bill. Is it any wonder, then, that Senator Susan Collins, R-Maine, has emerged as one of the Republicans who have been working on the compromise to satisfy the rabid concerns of people on both sides of the aisle.
The Obama Administration plans to expend 75% of the funds in the first 18 months by, "including major fast-spending provisions like tax cuts for middle class families, measures to avoid state health care cuts, and temporary expansions of unemployment insurance, food stamps and health care for unemployed workers," according to a White House report titled, "The American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan Creating Good Jobs by Modernizing Our Infrastructure."
At least $100 billion, the largest investment in the nation's infrastructure since the creation of the Interstate Highway System, will be dedicated to rebuilding roads, bridges, highways and other projects.
Other key components of the plan include:
· Double renewable energy generating capacity over three years, creating enough renewable energy to power 6 million American homes. · Computerize every American’s health record in five years, reducing medical errors and saving billions of dollars in health care costs. · Launch the most ambitious school modernization program on record, sufficient to upgrade 10,000 schools.
If you look at these priorities outlined by the Administration, it begins to look an awful lot like kinds of promises President Obama made while he was the Democratic nominee for the Presidency.
Unlike the Wall Street Bailout bill, which I vigorously opposed due to the lack of specifics regarding how the money would be spent, this stimulus package has the real priorities spelled out for all to see. I suspect this is an example of the "transparency" Obama spoke of during the campaign.
It's been said that making legislation is a lot like making sausage - once you've seen it being done, you'll never want to see it again. To be sure, when you have 435 Representatives and 100 Senators, each with his or her own agenda to bring home the bacon to their districts or states, a certain amount of pork is inevitable. To the degree that they are able to keep such "pet projects" to a minimum, the American public will be well-served. For while it is important to invest money in our nation's infrastructure, and create jobs in the process, it is equally important that we do not dig ourselves a hole that is too deep for us to have any hope of ever climbing out again.
President Bill Clinton began to pare down the size of the Federal Government before the 1994 election that brought the Republicans into control of Congress. He continued to shrink the size of the Government, with the obvious encouragement of the Republicans who were even more rabid in that regard than Clinton was. As a result of a robust economy that resulted in huge increases in Federal Revenues, Clinton left office with a record surplus.
The likelihood of Obama leaving office with such a surprlus appears slim. But his administration will be judged based upon how well the economy responds to this bill. I hope for his sake, and all of America, that they get it right.