A editorial by the The Des Moines Register in lock step with the incoming Obama administration said, “Move quickly to pass stimulus plan.”  Why yes, by all means, do before the electorate figures things out!

This plan the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan” touted in President-Elect Obama’s speech on the economy yesterday to help bring us out of our recession isn’t just “another public works program” oh no, this is an investment, excuse me, re-investment in America’s future.

The road to recovery includes:

  • Creating or saving 3 million jobs
  • Modernizing federal buildings and making 2 million homes more energy efficient.
  • Helping states with their budgets as not to cut vital services like police, fire, education and healthcare.
  • Create jobs building solar panels and wind turbines, constructing fuel-efficient cars and buildings.
  • Developing the new energy technologies that will lead to more jobs, more savings, and a cleaner, safer planet where polar bears don’t drown because the ice caps are melting.
  • Drastically reduce the cost of health care by computerizing medical records.  I’m sure that will save money, but I’d like to point out that this was one of Governor Mike Huckabee’s ideas for helping control healthcare costs.  I don’t think he necessarily meant for it to be applied like this or that the Federal government would pick up the tab for it.
  • Of course we have to make sure the kids have the newest computers, technology, and have better training for teachers because education, don’t you know, will save us.  Kids will be equipped to compete for the higher pay, high tech jobs.
  • Then also reinvesting our infrastructure – roads, buildings, and schools.
  • A $1000 tax break for 95% of Americans (the Register didn’t think he made a good case for this – Government spending good, tax breaks – bad).

So a wind turbine in every cornfield, an energy-efficient federal building in every state capitol, and MacBook on every child’s desk.  I’m inspired.  We haven’t seen a plan like this since FDR’s New Deal.  What is this going to cost?  Oh, only $800 billion, chump change.  According to the U.S. Census our population is almost 305.6 million people.  His plan would cost approximately $2600 for every man, woman and child in the U.S.  When you consider the $700 billion already approved for the bailout rescue plan that brings the figure up to $4900 for every man, woman and child.

Obama said “the cost of the plan will be considerable.  It will certainly add to the budget deficit in the short-term.”  That has to be the understatement of the year.  But don’t worry, even though the $700 billion we already approved isn’t doing anything, this time it will work because they are going to “invest in what works.”  Oh, color me relieved.

The fundamental flaw in all of this is the phrase President-Elect Obama used twice, “only government can.”  Yes, yes we’ve seen how masterfully our government has handled our economic problems so far.  “Only government can” take a bad situation and make it even worse.  That is what FDR thought in the midst of the Great Depression – “only government can” – what did that get us?  A greater dependency on government to get us out of a jam, a substantial increase in the size of our government, and problems that we are still dealing with today over 70 years later (can anyone say Fannie Mae?).

Is the “New Deal” what brought us out of the Great Depression?  No, World War II did.  I wonder what problems we’ll be faced with 70 years from now as a result of this new “New Deal”.  But hey look at the bright side – we’ll have some shiny new federal buildings to look at and the polar bears will be safe.

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