What I read there seems to belie the reports that Barack Obama is an intelligent man. See what I mean:
Note: Word is that "investment" is the Democratic euphemism for government spending. Focus groups evidently prefer that language by a wide margin.
President Obama believes that if we do not act quickly, this recession could linger for years – and America could lose the competitive edge that has served as the foundation for our strength and standing in the world.
That's why the President has put forth an American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan that will jumpstart job creation and long-term growth by:
- Doubling the production of alternative energy in the next three years.
- Modernizing more than 75% of federal buildings and improve the energy efficiency of two million American homes, saving consumers and taxpayers billions on our energy bills.
- Making the immediate investments necessary to ensure that within five years, all of America’s medical records are computerized.
- Equipping tens of thousands of schools, community colleges, and public universities with 21st century classrooms, labs, and libraries.
- Expanding broadband across America, so that a small business in a rural town can connect and compete with their counterparts anywhere in the world.
- Investing in the science, research, and technology that will lead to new medical breakthroughs, new discoveries, and entire new industries.
On January 8th, 2009 -- less than two weeks before taking office -- President Obama spoke on the need for urgent action on his American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan to save or create over 3 million jobs while investing in priorities like health care, energy, and education that will jumpstart economic growth. The plan represents not just a new policy, but a new approach to meeting our most urgent challenges.
We've got a recession, Obama says, so we need to stimulate the economy to end the recession. Great. With you there, Mr. President.
If we don't stimulate the economy then we could lose our "competitive edge." Hmmm. I don't know why that would follow from a recession unless we're in a recession that other countries aren't experiencing. From what I can tell, pretty much the whole world is getting the opportunity to experience this one right along with us.
Did the president just use the recession to justify addressing a separate social concern? That is, our ability to compete globally? Do we look like suckers?
So then we look at the outline of the president's plan. He wants to stimulate job creation. With you there, Mr. President. How do you propose to stimulate job creation?
- He wants to subsidize less efficient energy sources (which will almost certainly make energy costs rise).
- He wants to make homes and businesses more energy-efficient. At least that will help offset the higher prices promised by his first initiative. On the other hand, it's going to take energy to save energy, so this idea looks like an overall loss.
- He wants to computerize medical records. Look out, economy. Watch the boom from this one. I'll be watching the ACLU response to this one. Can we trust the government with our private information? Or are medical records no big deal whereas cell phone conversations are sacrosanct? Seriously, this one doesn't look like a big boost for the economy and it figures to put some persons who work in medical records out of work.
- He wants to modernize schools. Again, where are the jobs from this? Looks like a sop for the teachers unions.
- Expand broadband access. Won't that take time? And even if it gets done quickly, businesses don't compete simply by having broadband access. It takes either money or computer savvy to compete on the Web.
- Invest in science and research. Aren't we doing that already? Perhaps he's saying that the government will borrow money and spend even more on reseach. The researchers are bound to like it. They'll have jobs. But this one is clearly focused on the long term.