New "New Deal" just like the old one

President elect Obama has pledged to spend "hundreds of billions" of dollars on "public works" projects in order to put people to work :

Mr. Obama and his team are working with Congressional leaders to fashion a spending package that could invest hundreds of billions of dollars into the economy. A big part of that would be infrastructure projects such as building or repairing roads, bridges, schools, sewer systems and other public utilities. Democrats hope the new Congress that takes office in early January could pass such a measure in time for Mr. Obama to sign almost instantly after taking office Jan. 20.

The president-elect in his Saturday address offered some general ideas of what he wants to see in the package. Besides public works construction, he promised to make government buildings more energy efficient, modernize school classrooms and libraries with computers, expand access to broadband Internet service and upgrade information technology in hospitals and doctors’ offices.

The big ticket will be the public works spending. “We will create millions of jobs by making the single largest new investment in our national infrastructure since the creation of the federal highway system in the 1950s,” Mr. Obama said.

What exactly will these millions of workers be doing?

Apparently, they will be doing some much needed infrastructure work. No one denies that roads and bridges need attention - although if anyone bothered to look at the Highway Bill they would see most of those problems attempting to be a addressed.

But what kind of "work" are we talking about? Are we to expect stock brokers or just about any American who has lost their job to take up a pick and shovel and start doing manual labor? What incentive will there be? Besides, why does Obama think that Americans will work jobs that he and the Chamber of Commerce keep telling us we need to import 12 million illegal aliens to do?

This is a 1930's style "solution" to a 21st century problem. Americans have changed considerably since then. The idea that the workers losing their jobs today would go to work digging or even learn the skills necessary to operate the equipment needed to realize Obama's dream is just not realistic. Is Obama going to force these workers to join a union? Or is he going to pay prevailing wages?

The fact is, that trying to employ millions of unemployed bankers, stockbrokers, financial services types, call center workers, or other white collar jobs - or even many of the factory workers who have lost their jobs in this recession - on public works projects is not going to happen. Those people also need help.

And offering them a shovel won't cut it.

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