Saturday, December 27, 2008

Obama's Jobs Program

White House economic efforts will focus not on "public works but, rather, investments that will work for the American public," according to President Obama's head of the National Economic Council.

Lawrence Summers writes in the Washington Post: "The president-elect has insisted that investments proposed in the recovery plan meet standards much higher than has been traditional. There will be no earmarks. Investments will be chosen strategically based on what yields the highest rate of return for the economy and monitored closely not just by officials but also by the public as government becomes more transparent. We expect to evaluate and to be evaluated rigorously to ensure that Washington is held accountable for how tax dollars are spent."

In describing the previously announced goal of creating 3 million new jobs, Summers adds little detail but reveals that more than 80 percent will be in the private sector, including environmental technology and health care in addition to public works.

Arguing against "short-term policies that generate consumer spending," Summers says:

"Laying the groundwork for recovery and future prosperity will require shedding Washington habits. We must measure progress not by the agendas of interest groups but by whether the American people experience results. We must focus not on ideology but on drawing the best ideas from all quarters. That is why, for example, in key sectors such as energy, Obama is pushing for both public investments and the removal of barriers to private investment. It is also why his plan relies on both government spending and tax cuts to raise incomes and promote recovery."

From January 21st on, we will find out if legislators and lobbyists got the memo.

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