Obama’s Job Plan: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

By Rep. Mike Sanders

President Barack Obama is calling for another stimulus, a $447 billion plan that closely resembles the original $800 billion stimulus. The plan includes components Republicans can get behind, such as a payroll tax cut. However, it also includes spending that I believe will ultimately be ineffective and detrimental to the economy.

While the payroll tax cut is a decent strategy for boosting the economy by putting more money in the pockets of everyday Americans, I think the best way to encourage positive growth is the elimination of the excesses of government regulation. This has been shown to be effective time and time again. States with the fewest regulations have seen job and population growth.

The portions of the president’s plan that increase government spending are short-sighted and irresponsible in light of our current debt crisis. The plan includes $30 billion in funding for public school renovations, $35 billion to protect the jobs of teachers and public safety workers and $50 billion to states for road and bridge repair.

I question whether the $35 billion will actually save the jobs of teachers and public safety workers. Large school districts will receive the lion’s portion of education funding and likely will be able to spend it as they see fit. Some of the money will undoubtedly be misspent. Also, although it may seem that the federal government is taking on the cost of paying those teachers, the money will not address state pension systems, which have unfunded liabilities that states are already struggling to address. This one time infusion of money is not an effective solution to the long-term expenses of employing teachers and public safety workers.

The $50 billion for state road and bridge repair is similarly short-sighted. Although it will boost the construction industry temporarily, it will do little for long-term job creation. We have already seen the president admit that many of the “shovel-ready” jobs that were part of the $800 billion stimulus were not actually “shovel-ready.”

School renovations, while certainly important, are more appropriately funded at the state and local level.

I’ve talked about the good and bad parts of the president’s plan. Now let’s talk about the ugly. Public confidence plays a large role in our economy. When people are worried about things to come, they hold onto their money tightly and do not invest in the economy. I think the credit rating downgrade was an especially deep blow to that confidence and will have many other long-term effects on our economy. The past $800 billion stimulus only contributed to our deficit and that downgrade. The U.S. government is broke, so where are we coming up with the funds for this initiative?

The country needs an economic plan that takes the long view. Although I support a payroll tax cut, I do not support stimulus spending.

I look forward to new constituent requests that I can turn into legislation next year. As always, I would love to hear from you. I can be reached at the Capitol at (405) 557-7407.

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