Thursday, December 17, 2009

Your government at work part 2

Only in Washington D.C. does this make sense. So we have passage of a $154,000,000,000 “jobs” bill. What do we get for the $154 billion that is going to “create” jobs?

$27 billion goes to infrastructure projects, typically short-term, closed ended projects. I am sort of OK with that. At least it will pay for people to do actual work on stuff that needs it. There is also a bundle of miscellaneous payments for a laundary list of stuff:

The bill would also designate funding for infrastructure-related projects, including transportation, school construction, rehabilitating Amtrak trains and wastewater-treatment modernization.

Ummmm. School construction? At least here in Michigan we are consolidating schools, shutting them down, laying off teachers. I just rode on Amtrak and the train was fine (and loses money every year) so that doesn’t strike me as a high priority issue (but I bet it is for some congressman who has the shop that will do the rehab in his or her district).

After that….

- $79 billion would be designated to help prop up safety-net programs, including a $41 billion, six-month extension of federal jobless benefits
- a $12.3 billion extension of subsidies for individuals who lost health-care coverage when they were laid off;
- $23.5 billion for the federal government to assume a larger portion of state governments' Medicaid costs.

So by my calculations, at least $114 billion of a $154 billion “jobs” bill is going to go toward transfer payments to pay for benefits for people who have lost jobs and their health care as a result. That is almost 75% of the bill that doesn’t do a thing for “jobs”. Why even call it a jobs bill? So instead of trying to “create” jobs to help them get back on their feet, we are going to make their unemployment more comfortable. In addition, instead of forcing states make cuts and run leaner, the Feds (who can print money) are propping up their excessive spending and making the states ever more reliant on the Federal government.

How about $154 billion in tax credits to encourage and make it easier for businesses to hire workers? Instead of supporting unemployed workers, why not let the real job creators (i.e. businesses in the private sector) hire people by incentivizing them to do so? We all know the answer to that. Taxation and regulation and Keynesian spending equals control and that is what politicians are in the business of. The more they control, the more power they wield.
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