Nobel Prize winner in Economic Sciences, Paul Krugman has been saying since late last year that the fastest way out of the kind of economic crisis now facing us is: Damn the deficits, full speed ahead employing the American work force!
Supposedly to this end, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 was enacted by the 111th United States Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama on February 17, 2009. It's short-form stated purpose is:
Making supplemental appropriations for job preservation and creation, infrastructure investment, energy efficiency and science, assistance to the unemployed, and State and local fiscal stabilization, for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2009, and for other purposes [emphasis added].
But Krugman believes that this bill isn't doing enough, remarking on March 8th that:
Employment has already fallen more in this recession than in the 1981-82 slump, considered the worst since the Great Depression. As a result, Mr. Obama's promise that his plan will create or save 3.5 million jobs by the end of 2010 looks underwhelming, to say the least. It's a credible promise - his economists used solidly mainstream estimates of the impacts of tax and spending policies. But 3.5 million jobs almost two years from now isn't enough in the face of an economy that has already lost 4.4 million jobs, and is losing 600,000 more each month.
So, is the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 at least making a dent?
Well, let's consider "job preservation and creation." What better place to start but education. But look at this April 15 AP report:
The Los Angeles Board of Education has rescinded a proposed layoff of nearly 2,000 elementary school teachers, but the jobs of almost 6,000 teachers and support personnel are still slated to be cut. The board voted to use federal stimulus money to save 1,996 elementary school jobs in the Los Angeles Unified School District.
Absolutely dismal! And also failing marks for "State and local fiscal stabilization." But how about "assistance to the unemployed"?
Well, I have a friend in Tucson who has been laid off. He found out after several trials that he must register for unemployment benefits on the internet ...but only on a Sunday. And he was required to check back every Sunday thereafter. When he missed one Sunday due to travel, the system informed him that it couldn't find his registration number in the record. When he tried to reregister, the system told him it couldn't be done because he is already registered. These past few days he has been unable to get the Arizona Labor Department of Economic Security office to answer the phone, so he went down there in person and found no one there qualified to help him. Instead they directed him to a phone and gave him a number to call ...the same one he had been calling all morning. He's heard that the situation is the same in Phoenix.
So I put these questions to the readers:
Are things any better in other parts of the country?
How do you rate the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 as a stimulus for employment?
How do you rate the rapidity its implementation since its passage back on February 17th?
Does anyone think that We The Taxpayers are getting our meager stimulus funds halfway as fast as the banksters are getting the $12.5 trillion they need to pay off their gambling debts?
And if your answers should be across-the-boards disapproval, who should we blame?