Second, the president should do more to help the American worker. He should establish a jobs program. Do the simple math: We are spending more than $110 billion annually in Afghanistan. Stop it. Or scale it back to the sort of covert operations and drone war that is warranted. Savings? Perhaps about $100 billion—per year. Use that money to create up to 5 million jobs at $20,000 each....Just as FDR did during the Great Depression, put these Americans to work in states, counties, schools, parks.
Even Drum considers this unrealistic, though for the wrong reasons (i.e. the evil Republicans in the House would never let us do it). I have a series of thoughts on this
- FDR had low paying jobs programs in part because this was the only form of relief -- there was not welfare or food stamps or medicaid or unemployment or EITC or social security. A $20,000 dig-a-hole-and-then-fill-it-in government make-work job would likely just displace about the same amount of other government transfer payments. I can't see this doing squat.
- We are really going to kick-start the consumer market with $20,000 jobs?
- The Left needs to get its story straight on the stimulative effects of wars. Democrats blame Bush for the current economy in large part because of his wars, and the author here implies that moving spending out of wars would be a net plus. But Keynesians believe WWII ended the Great Depression and Krugman wrote just the other day that what we really need is a war with space aliens (I kid you not) to end the Great Recession. So which is it?
By the way, I think wars are a total economic waste and drag on the nation. Dedicating scarce resources to blowing stuff up is the worst possible use of capital. However, diverting this into politically correct, politician-selected make-work projects is not really a lot better.