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For the feds, creating jobs is Job One

By John Kominicki
Dolan Media Newswires

Long Island, N.Y. – Government officials have discovered that saving Wall Street was cheaper than they thought, and they’re now scrambling to spend the leftover $200 billion on something else.

This is a lot like thinking you have money in your bank account because you still have unused checks, but there’s just no stopping the feds when they stumble on a pile of cash that’s not being used to stimulate something.

The federal government alone has created and filled more than 1.8 million jobs. Throw in the lobbyists and we’re probably talking 4 million.

That also doesn’t include the hundreds of thousands of other jobs the feds believe have been created by the $787 billion stimulus spending plan.

And let’s not forget those 30,000 new positions in Afghanistan!

The administration’s latest plan is to take money left over from the Troubled Asset Relief Program and use it to spur job creation for small business. The government would also use this newfound “fiscal room” to invest in rail and road projects and a so-called “cash for caulkers” program that would give rebates to taxpayers who retrofit their homes to be more energy efficient.

Despite signs that the economy as a whole has started to recover, unemployment is a chronic problem. More than 7 million Americans have lost their jobs since December 2007, and the national unemployment rate stands at 10 percent, off its peak but far higher than was promised in the pitch to pass the $787 billion stimulus spending plan.

So although I’m a big fan of small business, I’m disappointed in the scope of the president’s job plan. It’s just not big enough, not expensive enough, not … historic enough for a man who swept into office on the promise of real change.

Back in the 1930s, the last time our country faced an economic emergency of this size, Franklin Roosevelt did a lot more than pony up for a little caulking.

He put thousands of men to work building the Hoover Dam, a marvel of engineering that to this day ensures they can water down the drinks in Las Vegas. He ordered the creation of the Tennessee Valley Authority, which brought hydroelectricity to more than 8.5 million rural poor.

FDR’s Works Progress Administration put another 8 million people to work, and another 3 million Americans signed up for the Civilian Conservation Corps, a kind of Boy Scouts on steroids that planted forests, repaired erosion and built roads and airfields.

That’s real job creation, not this namby-pamby pave a road and hand out tax credits.
If we’re going to kite a few checks, let’s make some history.

John Kominicki is the publisher of Long Island Business News.

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