Obama jobs plan was unlikely to help

October 17, 2011

While President Barack Obama says he will not take a no for his jobs plan, two features of history say no was the correct answer.

First, there is historic evidence that there is little that government can do to revive jobs and the economy. As it was during the 1930s, reasonable businesses choose not to recall or hire employees when they do not have customers to buy their product or service.

During the Great Depression, government programs tried to put some buying power into the public coffers to buoy up the economy, but with little and no success. Two main programs were the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) and the WPA (Works Progress Administration). And while some programs may have helped, they weren't the real answer. It is happening again, except that this time we have much less room for the debt financing.

We can agonize for jobs-jobs-jobs, again and again but Mr. Obama's first stimulus program has had a similar historical effect. This has demonstrated again that the government can do little to create jobs or help an economy recover.

Then there is the more recent history. Mr. Obama still can't demonstrate how the first stimulus money was spent. Where were jobs? Where was the economic recovery? How can he expect have half as much money again to do what has already proven to be a failure?

Perhaps the public is in favor of Mr. Obama's approach, but why? Most likely out of frustration or panic. And it just promotes more frustration. We do not have the money for wishful thinking, especially when there is not much hope that it will work any better than the first effort.

I think the Congress is on the right track this time. The public just has to realize that we are in for a quite lengthy period of economic recovery — several years and perhaps more to muddle along, as in the 1930s. Let's just stay sensible about it and not get into demonstrations and fights like they are having in Greece. They do not help solve the problem.

Richard Allchin, Cockeysville,

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