One day after the government reported the worst hemorrhaging of jobs in a month since 1974 — with 533,000 jobs lost in November — President-elect Barack Obama revealed aspects of his (hopefully sufficiently) ambitious plan for a stimulus package that would save or create a minimum of 2.5 million jobs while investing in our long-term infrastructure.
Obama’s plan includes investments in bridges and roads, schools, sewer systems, mass transit and other public utilities. The New York Times reportsthat investments in green jobs might be to the tune of $100 billion over two years, “including jobs dedicated to creating alternative fuels, windmills and solar panels; building energy efficient appliances, or installing fuel-efficient heating or cooling systems.”
There is speculation that the entire package will run anywhere from $400 billion to $1 trillion, and Democratic leadership wants the legislation ready for Obama’s signature on Inauguration Day.
But the Washington Post writes that quick passage might not be in the cards. (Remember, during the Wall Street bailout, Senate Democrats couldn’t even get the 60 votes needed to overcome a Republican filibuster and pass $56 billion in spending on infrastructure, unemployment, and aid to states struggling to meet Medicaid obligations. Our Bill Greider will lay out how to take on the vise of the filibuster in our next issue.)
“Under the timelines being discussed, the only way we can get something done is with the cooperation of Republicans,” a senior Senate Democrat told the Post. “The dynamic hasn’t changed.”
While most Americans recognize the urgency of public spending to create jobs, rebuild our crumbling infrastructure, and repair our shredded social compact, too many Republicans are still spouting talking points that reflect the disastrous policies of the last eight years.
“Anyone who has talked to the American people knows that while they are hurting, they don’t believe that more Washington spending is the answer,” a spokesman for Minority Leader John Boehner told the Post.