Wednesday, February 04, 2009

What Obama's Stimulus Plan Will Mean For Indiana

The White House press office put out a state-by-state analysis of what the Obama stimulus plan will accomplish. The first claim in the release is that the new spending will create or save 79,300 jobs during the next two years, over 90% of which will be in the private sector. I'm pretty sure that number was pulled right out of some one's ass, but when you modify your claim with the word "save" in addition to "create", are you really promising anything at all? It's hard enough to track the jobs your program created, let alone figuring out the number of jobs it saved.

Another way the stimulus plan will work we're told is that it will provide "a making work pay tax cut of up to $1,000 for 2,480,000 workers and their families." This is supposedly a down payment on the President's promise to provide tax cuts to 95% of all Americans, but beyond that, I don't have a clue what this means. The political hack who wrote those words must have thought they sounded really cool.

Another benefit of the stimulus plan will be to "modernize at least 176 schools in Indiana so our children have labs, classrooms and libraries they need to compete in the 21st century economy." Why only 176 schools? Who decides which schools get the money? And is modernization the answer to our failing schools? You don't need the latest in computer technology to teach the basics which our school are currently failing to do.

On the modernization front, Obama's stimulus plan also promises to computerize every American's medical records over the next five years. That's shorthand for saying the government plans to create a master database housing every body's medical records, allowing untold numbers of people to secretly access your records at will, including bureaucratic snoops looking for dirt on political enemies.

The plan promises the "largest investment increase in our nation's roads, bridges and mass transit systems since the creation of the national highway system in the 1950s." Weren't we already promised this at the state level with the Major Moves program?

I did find one promise that I think many Hoosiers can appreciate right now: an additional $100 per month in unemployment insurance benefits to 456,000 out-of-work Hoosiers and extended benefits for those whose benefits have run out. Now, that's a benefit people can take to the bank and actually hold in their hand.

If the objective of this press release was to build public support for Obama's stimulus plan and put pressure on Indiana's congressional delegation to support it, then the Obama folks need to head back to the drawing board. This just doesn't cut it.

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