By some estimates, the U.S. has lost 6 million jobs during the current economic recession began in December 2007. Now, President Obama is planning to tap into the $787-billion stimulus package to create what his administration believes will be 600,000 new jobs.
"We have a long way to go on our road to recovery," Obama said in a statement issued by the White House today, "but we are going the right way."
The statement continued: "Our measure of progress is the progress the American people see in their own lives. And until that progress is steady and solid, we're going to keep moving forward. We will not grow complacent or rest. Surely and steadily, we will turn this economy around."
As part of the White House's recovery initiative, the administration posted a plan called the "Roadmap to Recovery" on the White House website detailing some of the projects the administration will fund out of the $787-billion stimulus.
The projects include:
• "Enable 1,129 Health Centers in 50 States and Eight Territories to Provide Expanded Service to Approximately 300,000 Patients" in a program directed by the Health and Human Services department.
• "Begin work on Rehabilitation and Improvement Projects at 98 Airports and over 1,500 Highway Locations."
• "Fund 135,000 Education Jobs Including Teachers, Principals, and Support Staff"
• "Start 200 New Waste and Water Systems in Rural America."
• "Create 125,000 Summer Youth Jobs"
• "Initiate Construction and Rehabilitation Projects at 359 Military Facilities Across the Nation," most of which are billed as projects to improve living quarters and install "green technologies."
In the letter announcing these projects, Vice President Joe Biden wrote: "The bottom line is that we are working hard to get Recovery Act funds out into the communities across the nation to create good jobs and serve as a pillar of the economic recovery we all want to see."
The trouble is, where are the funds coming from to fund these projects? Either from taxes or from deficit spending or from the expansion of the money supply. Regardless of which it is, or in what combination, the bottom line is the money being spent on this recovery plan by the federal government previously would have been in the hands of private investors. As such it would have been employed in the expansion of the economy via the free market. Instead, the federal make-work projects amount to a vast transfer of wealth, managed by federal planners.
Critics, moreover, continue to argue that all the spending will have a negligible effect on the economy as whole.
"I think the economy is just as likely to begin to recover on its own, wholly aside from this, before much of this has an impact," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said according to the Los Angeles Times. "So I'm very skeptical that this massive sort of spending binge that we've engaged in is going to have much of an impact."