Wednesday, December 24, 2008
In today's commentary at Bloomberg, Caroline Baum consults former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill on President-elect Obama's $750 billion stimulus program aimed at bettering the lives of the 10 million unemployed Americans - one solution is surprisingly simple.
“If we write a check for $75,000 to each of the unemployed, we won’t have anyone ‘unemployed,’” said former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill.Just think how many jobs could be created if they used tiny spoons?
The recipients may not be working in the traditional sense of going to the office each day, but the government can provide for their needs without anyone having to lift a finger.
The Obama administration’s goal of creating 3 million new jobs by January 2011 will run smack into “the natural demographic flow, which will add 3.2 million people to the workforce” in the same time period, O’Neill said. In effect, “we are going to spend $750 billion, the number of unemployed will rise and the (unemployment) rate will go down slightly.”
O’Neill did the math so you don’t have to. Each job “will cost $250,000, which doesn’t suggest much labor intensity for the dollars spent,” he said. “It makes me wonder if any of the planners or commentators are good at arithmetic.”
They’re not good at arithmetic. And one wonders about their facility with economics.
If putting people to work is the goal, we could get rid of all the heavy earth-moving equipment and go back to digging ditches with shovels.
Why stop there? If it takes one man two days to dig a trench three feet deep and 30 feet long with a shovel, how long would it take 100 men using spoons?