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Obama's stimulus package

Bloomberg:

Obama, in his weekly radio speech today, said his plan to create or preserve 2.5 million jobs will also include making public buildings more energy efficient, repairing schools and modernizing health care with electronic medical records.

“We won’t just throw money at the problem,” he said. “We’ll measure progress by the reforms we make and the results we achieve -- by the jobs we create, by the energy we save, by whether America is more competitive in the world.”

Obama spoke a day after a government report showed employers in the U.S. slashed 533,000 jobs last month, the biggest decline in 34 years. The losses are “another painful reminder of the serious economic challenge our country is facing,” Obama said.

“When Congress reconvenes in January, I look forward to working with them to pass a plan immediately,” he said. Obama takes office as the 44th president on Jan. 20.

To the states that will be the conduits for the funding, he had a simple message: “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,” he said.

In addition to investing in infrastructure, requiring energy standards on public buildings and updating health-care practices, Obama said that he will start a “sweeping effort to modernize and upgrade school buildings” and will boost broadband access across America.

Obama’s plan to make public buildings more energy efficient should reduce the government’s energy bill, which he called the highest in the world. He plans to replace heating systems and install energy-efficient light bulbs.

Obama also plans to upgrade Internet infrastructure, calling it “unacceptable that the United States ranks 15th in the world in broadband adoption.”

Upgrading health care is the final component of the plan. By introducing new technology and electronic medical records, he said health-care workers could “prevent medical mistakes, and help save billions of dollars each year.”

Something for the techies...

I do think, though, that we need to think of a program like this as a baseline -- something any sane policy maker would do. Progressive? Not necessarily. Single payer, now, that would be progressive.

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chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

first off: what about those of us who can't work on new roads, because we're old or sick or not physically able? in practically every state i've ever lived in, the 'build roads' industry is...let's just say not fully reliable, free from corruption, nor open to all comers. i can't say any more or someone will break my legs.

secondly: yes, we need to repair roads. but how, exactly, do better roads lead to long term economic growth? this isn't china, our roads may suck but for the most part, you can get anywhere you need to in this country, and in general to your job or shopping place just fine right now. (assuming you have a job or money to shop with, that is) so i don't see, other than stimulating the mob construction industry, how this is true "economic stimulus."

moving on to schools. so we're fixing them and making them greener and more efficient. great! are we going to shrink classroom sizes, hire better teachers, reform bloated administration and top-heavy systems, or, i dunno, maybe buy the kids some books and computers? it's great to have a shiny new skool builing with a fancy eco-greenroof and those energy saving lightbulbs. i know an urban school like that, got taken over by the feds one year for having something like a 90% dropout rate. you know what? they still have a near absolute dropout and failure rate, a decade or so later after getting their shiny new building. i wonder why.

improving the intertubes: good.
upgrading gov't buildings: good.

improving electronic records: /screaming/ WTF is your fucking problem, you moron!!!1! i don't need to get a bill from a hospital i can't pay even more quickly! i don't need yet another corporate or gov't agency to have all my personal information more readily at their unregulated fingertips, the better for information thieves to get their hands on.

I NEED SOME HEALTH CARE RIGHT FUCKING NOW.

ahem.

and anyway, so how does this 'create jobs and long term growth?' i don't see any mention of hiring new doctors and (real) nurses, or expanding treatment centers in underserved areas, or goddess forbid: investing in that which will actually save us money: preventative care. where the hell is that stuff?

and lemme just say in conclusion that "2.5m jobs" is peanuts. let's add and subtract boys and girls. if we lose a half million jobs for the next, i'll be generous, six months, how many lucky duckies does that make? 3m, plus all those already unemployed, plus the rate of growth in the population and job creation needed to meet that, plus those not being counted by the gov't unemployment agencies, plus all those people who are underemployed...hmmm, that sounds like a lot more than "2.5m" to me. and he's saying that 2.5m will be over the next couple of years.

wow, that's stimulus and job creation we can believe in, my friends.

oh, and on review/edit: i see it's not 2.5m "new" jobs, it's also "retaining jobs people already have." i wonder if like the union workers and the auto industry bailout, we'll be asked to sacrifice benes and working conditions so we can continue to enjoy our status as "well paid" slaves.

Damon's picture
Submitted by Damon on

And, yes, a baseline, at least. At least we're no longer praying to the god(s) of Laissez-faire Capitalism to come save us this time. That said, like everything else he's proposed over time, he's being purposefully nebulous and unspecific. So, one point for setting some kind of baseline, but that's it.

BTW, I'm also a little annoyed by the "roads and bridges" kicks everyone seems to be one. We should not fund them solely at the expensive of improving mass transit where it can be improved. Why can't we have both?

Stephanie's picture
Submitted by Stephanie on

a number of people (I know one personally) who graduate nursing school do not go into the nursing profession. I know someone else who is a nurse, but doesn't want to take a job directly with a hospital because of the number of hours demanded, so instead she works for a nursing job/temp-type agency.

It's a high stress job to begin with, but after going thru the training, and learning how high stress it is these days because of the nursing shortage, rather than practicing the profession, the grads often prefer to just go into teaching (or back to their old line of work).

But while there are lots of people who want to enter nursing, the schools are crowded and there is not enough room to admit them all.

Our current government (the shrub) has responded to the nursing shortage by allowing more work visas for immigrant nurses.

So while we export some jobs, instead of hiring our own, we also import other workers, instead of training our own.

Building some nursing schools would provide some more construction jobs. And people who want to be nurses would have more schools to attend, and more nurses would equal less stress, and along the way better health care.

And if somehow we manage to get universal health care, we'll be needing lots more nurses and GP Mds (not specialists).

Submitted by gob on

Me (sounding the waters): maybe it will do something to lower medical costs...

She (sounding like she's heard it one too many times): oh please, the only people who'll save money will be the insurance companies; it'll make it easier to deny care.

And on further discussion it emerged that she's worried (rightly) about mis-coding of patients' conditions and the difficulty of getting electronic records corrected once they're wrong. A code for "seizure disorder" can seriously ruin your life, for instance.