It appears Mr. Obama’s New New Deal economic recovery plan involves a lot of handyman work. 3 points of his 5 point plan involve, well, fixing things.
–ENERGY: “[W]e will launch a massive effort to make public buildings more energy-efficient. Our government now pays the highest energy bill in the world. We need to change that. We need to upgrade our federal buildings by replacing old heating systems and installing efficient light bulbs. That won’t just save you, the American taxpayer, billions of dollars each year. It will put people back to work.”
–ROADS AND BRIDGES: “[W]e will create millions of jobs by making the single largest new investment in our national infrastructure since the creation of the federal highway system in the 1950s. We’ll invest your precious tax dollars in new and smarter ways, and we’ll set a simple rule – use it or lose it. If a state doesn’t act quickly to invest in roads and bridges in their communities, they’ll lose the money.”
–SCHOOLS: “[M]y economic recovery plan will launch the most sweeping effort to modernize and upgrade school buildings that this country has ever seen. We will repair broken schools, make them energy-efficient, and put new computers in our classrooms. Because to help our children compete in a 21st century economy, we need to send them to 21st century schools.”
I have to say that if we have enough work in public buildings replacing old lightbulbs, putting in new heating systems and making them energy efficient that we can “put people back to work”, then we have way too many public buildings.
As for roads and bridges, didn’t we recently pass a rather large spending bill in 2008 addressing roads and bridges? Oh, yeah, we did.
Apparently, other than computers, lightbulbs and insulation are pretty much what is planned for the schools as well.
On to points 4 and 5:
–BROADBAND: “As we renew our schools and highways, we’ll also renew our information superhighway. It is unacceptable that the United States ranks 15th in the world in broadband adoption. Here, in the country that invented the Internet, every child should have the chance to get online, and they’ll get that chance when I’m president – because that’s how we’ll strengthen America’s competitiveness in the world.”
Or strengthen their access to porn and games. Look, I’m not against “access” if it is feasible and I’m not paying for it. But access for access sake isn’t going to “strengthen America’s competitiveness in the world” by any stretch.
–ELECTRONIC MEDICAL RECORDS: “In addition to connecting our libraries and schools to the Internet, we must also ensure that our hospitals are connected to each other through the Internet. That is why the economic recovery plan I’m proposing will help modernize our health care system – and that won’t just save jobs, it will save lives. We will make sure that every doctor’s office and hospital in this country is using cutting edge technology and electronic medical records so that we can cut red tape, prevent medical mistakes, and help save billions of dollars each year.”
Of course it won’t matter if this particular program actually ends up saving billions if your aim is to spend trillions. Additionally most studies I’ve seen said the medical records savings are overstated and won’t begin to be a reality until around 2019.
Last but not least, where’s the plan to help the private sector grow and generate new jobs? If this is an economic recovery plan, it would seem to me Obama’s more interested in fixing the headlights than getting the engine running.
[Crossposted at QandO]