This editorial appeared in The Miami Herald.
There aren't a whole lot of people in the country who can honestly say that they understand how the government's $700 billion – and growing – bailout plan is supposed to work. Buying up toxic assets in credit markets and throwing money at uncooperative banks in hopes of jump-starting the economy aren't the kind of things you learn in Econ 101. And so far, those efforts have done nothing to stave off the worst economic crisis in America since the Great Depression.
By comparison, someone who has never cracked the pages of an economics textbook can easily grasp the potentially positive impact of putting some of the almost 11 million unemployed Americans into productive, well-paying jobs. Working people spend more money than people who are jobless. Multiply the buying power of millions of people who suddenly have cash in their pockets, and begin to grease the wheels that turn the economy.
This is why President-elect Barack Obama's promise last week to create a jobs-oriented stimulus package makes eminently good sense. Mr. Obama told a governors' convention that he would help states beset with budget deficits and funding gaps by creating a jobs program to build and repair roads, bridges and schools. Some of the stimulus money also could be used to cover increased Medicaid costs, improve medical-information technology, expand broadband Internet capacity and fund renewable-energy projects.
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