As the national economy continues in free fall, President-elect Barack Obama has at long last outlined his recovery plan. The new administration wants to jump start the economy with a massive stimulus plan that will eventually reach $1 trillion.
The plan - as outlined this week - includes tax cuts for individuals and businesses. But since the plan doesn't include any more rebate checks, some of Obama's supporters are sure to be disappointed. Instead of a check in the mail, Obama has smartly included tax cuts in the paychecks of American workers.
I don't pretend to be an economist, but the one aspect of the Obama plan that I find troubling is his goal of 600,000 new government employees. He hopes to create 3 million new jobs with 600,000 of those coming in the form of government service.
Since there are no plans for a program similar to the WPA, I can't help but wonder what these 600,000 new taxpayer-funded government employees will do.
There's no mention of more cops on the streets or teachers in the classrooms. And yet we're discussing the possibility of 600,000 employees added to the payroll of the government. And just so you won't forget, those wages come from the taxes we currently pay.
When the economy was in a similar tank during the Depression, a jobs program was implemented that resulted in countless construction projects - many of which remain to this very day. But the Obama plan has no such goal. If the devil's in the details, then I can't wait for the specifics of this grand scheme.
The soon-to-be President was quick to defend his plan this week when he told reporters that he wanted "strict accountability for achieving results" and that his plan was not an attempt to "throw money" at the economic problems. But I have yet to understand how the prospect of this growing government dependency is anything but throwing money at the problem.
I repeat, I am not an economist.
Let me, however, pose a question. If the states share equally in Obama's new government hires, then each state would have another 12,000 government workers. And in Missouri, each county - if shared equally - would have about 100 new government workers. So exactly what are these new government workers supposed to do to improve our lives, our economy, our future?
This certainly is the change that was promised. I can't help but wonder, however, if it provides the hope to go along with that change.