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What’s a Job Program
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Opinion page editor Rick Holmes and other writers blog about national politics and issues. Holmes & Co. is a Blog for Independent Minds, a place for a free-flowing discussion of policy, news and opinion. This blog is the online cousin of the Opinion ...
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Opinion page editor Rick Holmes and other writers blog about national politics and issues. Holmes & Co. is a Blog for Independent Minds, a place for a free-flowing discussion of policy, news and opinion. This blog is the online cousin of the Opinion section of the MetroWest Daily News in Framingham, Mass. As such, our focus starts there and spreads to include Massachusetts, the nation and the world. Since successful blogs create communities of readers and writers, we hope the \x34& Co.\x34 will also come to include you.
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By Rob Meltzer
Jan. 9, 2014 12:10 p.m.



So, here’s an idea to create jobs. Congress should declare that Christmas will occur once per month. Santa Clause will have to hire all his elves as full-time, health-insured employees with pensions, he’ll need to keep a larger stable of reindeer, which means more animals, more caretakers and more fodder producers. Equally, retail stores will have to hire seasonal workers every month, and people will go out and shop like crazy every month and all that money will cycle into the economy.

Its a great plan, and it is typical and reasonable thinking in the minds of the Democrats. Problem is, the plan is based on three fallacies. First, Santa Claus doesn’t exist. Second, the amount of money in the economy isn’t finite, and third its not clear that the plan would create the kind of meaningful full time jobs that create a meaningful middle class life style. other than that, it’s perfect.

Now, all you have to do is switch “Christmas” for “infrastructure investment” and you get the same program. I’m not sure why Democrats in Congress continually rant about so-called infrastructure improvements. Couple of things: first, infrastructure improvements won’t provide employment to the mythical 1.3 million long-term unemployed, who are not skilled construction workers. Second, meaningful infrastructure improvements take at least ten years to work their way from the drawing board to actuality, during which time they provide no benefit and by which time they lose their purpose. (like the Big Dig or the Crosby Corner fiasco). Third, these jobs tend to benefit large construction corporations with ties to government officials, they rarely hire local workers and the usual beneficiaries are the union leaders who put the money not into the economy but rather into the pockets of the Democrats who push infrastructure projects. Equally, as even the Democrats’ own coalition partners point out, infrastructure improvements as federal programs rarely meet other social needs and often cause greater social ills. (We can thank infrastructure programs for pushing urban sprawl into the exurbs, causing increase carbon release, obesity and lack of spending on mass transit, bike and walking commuting, which in turn leads to the need for social welfare programs like Obamacare to care for the car-dependent sedentary and obese commuters)

The one thing that Harry Reid made clear yesterday that is that there won’t be Senate hearings on a jobs bill. They are just going to pass jobs bills this election year, and dare Congress to say no. Higher minimum wage, infrastructure, you name it. But look at what happened yesterday–Macy announces its laying off 2500 workers, and its stock goes up. macy’s stock is popular with pension funds and retirement accounts, so the reduction of 2500 low level workers was great news for more than 130,000,000 middle class retirees. So, is a job bill that would encourage more retail entities to lay off workers a good thing or a bad thing?

This is about disclosure. We can have a jobs program. If we can figure out what one is. And whether it makes sense.

 

 

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