Obama has already proposed putting all those laid-off sales clerks, data entry people, lawyers and waitresses back to work building bridges and changing lightbulbs--two things we're not sure the unemployed are either qualified for or willing to do. I suppose to the Obama administration, a job's a job and with the news that we could lose 3.5 million jobs next year, he might have to demand that people accept whatever job is out there, a shockingly conservative viewpoint and one likely to have him castigated by the left.
Now, don't get me wrong. I think taking any job is better than sitting around collecting unemployment. But that doesn't mean I think an attorney recently cut from the firm is qualified to go repair bridges. Or that a paralegal is going to want to change lightbulbs for $9 an hour. We are, indeed, a spoiled lot, where we want jobs that dovetail with our experience and education, rather than just putting bread on the table.
If Democrats have their way, the $800 million now being proposed for "middle-class tax cuts, aid to strapped state governments and investments in domestic priorities such as infrastructure, health-care technology and education" is sure to persuade more than a few laid-off call center workers to pursue new careers as elementary school teachers. But don't for a minute assume there won't be a few goodies (read: pork) for the constituents back home, even though Democrats claim to be banning the practice.
According to congressional sources who spoke on condition of anonymity because the plan is not yet final, the money is expected to be split into three pots, with at least $100 billion going to the states, primarily to cover the rising cost of health care for the poor.
Roughly $350 billion would be invested to rebuild roads and bridges, modernize schools and help hospitals and doctors switch to computerized patient records. That category also would include projects aimed at improving energy efficiency, such as weatherizing buildings, as well as aid to the poor through expanded unemployment and food-stamp benefits.
Obama's team has also laid out a substantial tax-cutting agenda that will include a $1,000 tax credit for working families, Obama advisers said, a provision that congressional sources said is estimated to cost about $140 billion over two years. Other tax provisions could include tax breaks for businesses, an expansion of the earned-income tax credit for the poor and new credits for tuition and alternative energy, congressional aides said.
Yes, I can see all those journalists and bankers now weatherizing buildings. And I can't wait to see who qualifies as a "working family." Where's my pony? I was promised a pony!