Obama's plan will create jobs we need

Thursday, January 29, 2009 | 10:30 a.m. CST; updated 2:13 p.m. CST, Monday, February 2, 2009

“It’s the long-term economy and jobs, stupid.”  

James Carville would not complain about this paraphrase of his 1992 campaign assessment.

As President Obama takes his seat in the executive office, the echoes of times past reverberate through the halls of government. We are reminded of the Great Depression, the post-World War II repression, the Carter/Reagan/Bush recession/depression/stagnation and the Clinton/Bush years of falling stocks.

The United States in this decade alone has suffered bad times and exhilarated in good. So much so for the latter that we have over indulged yet again with corporations and governments now digging themselves out of ever-deepening financial quagmires.

It was the conservative leaders whose belief in free enterprise blinded them to the possibility of greed and corruption. New calls for reform are chiming from the darkened woods.

Republicans, without extremist conservative support, are changing their tune and asking for governmental oversight of the country’s financial systems. Everyone is seeking to “stimulate” the economy, though taking different tracks, to save the American dream and ideals. Both parties say they have the answer, but the answer is much more difficult than we want to admit.

On the Sunday talking-head shows, the two sides sat in their corners, waiting for the bell to ring. The era of bipartisanship has come to an end before it begun. This was not more evident than on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” The combatants: Obama’s National Economic Council director Lawrence Summers and Republican leader Rep. John Boehner (R-OH).

Each man took his seat, separated by a commercial break and by ideology, and prepared for the battle to come in the chambers of Congress. Each man took a position on how a proposed $825 billion stimulus plan should be carried out.  

I did review the summaries of the president’s and the Republicans' proposed stimulus packages. At least the summaries provided by the White House and the Republican Senate Caucus. Each has its highlights; each has its faults. The main difference is that the president’s proposal looks long-term, while the conservative counterproposal is myopic. I have also been reading news and op-ed articles from around the country and listening to my students during discussions on “argument and persuasion.”

Paul Krugman of the New York Times, editorials from the Washington Post, news from and the Dallas Morning News. The statement that caught my attention was in the last, made by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), who stressed the conservative position clearly: "What we're looking for is a jump start. This (the president’s plan) is not going to be a jump start."  

Insightful but, in my humble opinion, wrong. Spending is not the solution. Jobs are the solution.

Not only jobs, but jobs that will survive well beyond the current crisis, well beyond this administration, well beyond this decade. Jobs that are designed to improve our infrastructure and reduce our dependency on foreign supplies of oil. Jobs that will improve the education of our children, including as many as 120,000 new jobs in the nation’s Head Start program, the key to our future.  

With almost 100,000 jobs lost on Monday alone, tax relief makes no sense when 8 to 10 percent of the country is not working. This is the hole we must plug, putting Americans and Missourians back to work, to bring pride back to families and the nation. Putting money in the pockets of American workers, not once or twice, but every month in the form of a paycheck is the only way to bring this nation back to solvency.   

I urge you to support the president’s economic plan. I urge you to write senators Kit Bond and Claire McCaskill and our nine members of Congress to support the president’s economic package. The $825 billion spent on jobs today will bring more jobs, security and education for decades to come.

David Rosman is a business and political communications consultant, professional speaker and instructor at Columbia College. He welcomes your comments at

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John Schultz January 29, 2009 | 12:03 p.m.

I would say that Mr. Rosman's claim that "tax relief makes no sense when 8 to 10 percent of the country is not working" is incorrect when the United States has one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world. That is one of the reasons companies and jobs are leaving this country. Reducing the tax rate will draw investors and companies to the US.

FDR's New Deal did nothing to end the Great Depression, and many economists say his proposals extended the depression. Hopefully President Obama's stimulus package, which my children and their children will be paying on for the rest of their lives, will work differently. But I wouldn't bet on it.

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand January 29, 2009 | 12:30 p.m.

David, if you really believe that the government can do a more effective job of spending the money that you earn, why not pay more than what you owe? There's no law that prohibits citizens from making extra contributions to the Treasury.

I'm still waiting for Warren Buffett to end his charitable initiatives and instead send all of that money to the government. He argues that he doesn't pay enough taxes, yet instead of sending more to the government, he sends it to charities. That says a lot about his confidence in the government's ability to spend money prudently and effectively.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith January 29, 2009 | 12:53 p.m.

That more jobs are needed seems obvious. That most of those jobs should be lasting ones also seems obvious.

So WHO should CREATE those jobs? That doesn't seem so obvious.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr January 29, 2009 | 2:42 p.m.

Ellis Smith my question is my friend why shouldn't government create them with bridges,roads,parks,schools and so much more of our infrastructure in need of repair and upkeep and upgrades too it makes sense to me to put people to work.

Even if it is only $7.00 an hour with minimal bennies like the military gets so be it.

It puts people 18 - 80 to work and rebuilds our country that past Presidents have allowed us to flounder into.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz January 29, 2009 | 3:58 p.m.

Some government construction is OK, especially where it is warranted and needed, although it should be mostly at the state level. But Obama's stimulus package is far more than just construction projects. Congress should be spending time debating the merits of the various projects, deciding which ones are worthy and which are pork or should be properly included in other appropriations bills. But no, they want to be seen as doing something and are thus rushing this bill without reading the text.

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand January 29, 2009 | 4:48 p.m.

Unless the goal is to curry favor among St. Louis residents, why is it necessary to earmark $335-$400 million for preventing the clap?

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr January 29, 2009 | 5:07 p.m.

>>> Ayn Rand: Unless the goal is to curry favor among St. Louis residents, why is it necessary to earmark $335-$400 million for preventing the clap? <<<

Because so called responsible adults who are in reality just babies having babies were not taught by their so called own responsible parents to remember they were supposed to keep that nice piece of clean paper tightly squeezed between their knees.

This is just another product of poor parental responsibilities in our society and if you want somebody to blame somebody go blame those parents who have obviously not raised their children with better morals.

So somebody has to fix the problem now. Yes it is like putting a bandaide on a limb amputation at an accident scene but what is our country to do?

(Report Comment)
Ed Numbe January 31, 2009 | 7:56 a.m.

It's the Oconomy, stupid! The O will become an albatross around the neck of Americans over the next several years. Got Pork? That's what's for dinner! President O is showing poor leadership by using fear, pressure, and time threats to pass a 'stimulus' bill that is simply a wish list of liberal spending programs. Shameful! Endowment for the arts, are you kidding? Contraception, are you kidding? Parks, are you kidding? It's a bozo explosion of Democratic entitlements. Republicans are wise to protect America and hold out for a more well thought out plan. I guess the lesson we should all take is that Obama is a great orator, but his sensibilities in running government as a business are poor at best. Reminds me of Carter and the malaise that set in. Obama fatigue.

(Report Comment)
Jeffrey Duggan February 5, 2009 | 10:28 a.m.

there needs to be a stimulus. american people need to be put back to work. failing companies need to be abandoned and not bailed out. this spending plan isn't going to work as is. with as much as its worth it should do some good and i'm more than willing with helping others get to work but i'm not for paying for spending projects that only help the democtatic agenda. there are many issues in this bill to let it go as it stands. buying a new fleet of cars, seriously, railway projects, who rides the train anyways? this bill needs revision by reasonable people. by the ones that can see through the bulls--t in it.

(Report Comment)

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