TLP: A Job Is A Job, No Matter How Small
Everybody loves to fight over jobs numbers. The monthly tally is subject to interpretation from all sides. Remember the fun a month or so ago when hiring for the Census spiked the figures? Good times.
Maybe you'd call this padding, too. About 250,000 people across the country are working now in private-sector jobs, with their pay coming directly from the government.
The opportunity to simultaneously benefit struggling workers and small businesses has helped these job subsidies gain support from liberals and conservatives. Congress is now considering whether to extend the subsidy, which would expire in September, for an additional year. A House vote is expected on Thursday or Friday.The money came from the federal stimulus package, with an initial outlay of $5 billion. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities pegs most of the jobs in the $8 to $15 per hour range. Big winners are in San Francisco, where the max is $74,000 a year. (Where does that broke city keep coming up with cash?)
Despite questions about whether the programs displace existing workers, many economists have argued that direct job creation programs are a more cost-effective way to put some of the nation’s 14.6 million unemployed back to work than indirect alternatives like tax credits and construction projects.
The average duration of unemployment continues to break records, after all, and studies have shown that the longer people are out of work, the less employable they become.
This is the way the Obama administration does it, I guess. FDR had a different approach, putting the jobless to work building roads, bridges, schools, parks and even creating art. Might not be a bad idea today, but it'll be tough to make $74k that way.