President-elect Barack Obama engaged in rare, pre-inaugural lobbying on Capitol Hill yesterday, attempting to build support for an $800 billion economic bailout.
Obama spent his first full day in Washington as president-elect huddling separately one-on-one with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate majority leader Harry Reid, and meeting with a group of Republican and Democratic lawmakers. By afternoon, shortly before meeting with his economic team, Obama warned that any delays in passing a stimulus bill would further damage a badly ailing economy that is getting worse by the day.
"The economy is very sick," said Obama, who said he hoped to sign a bill shortly after his Jan. 20 inauguration. "We have to act and act now to break the momentum of this recession."
Obama has that his goal of his bailout is to "create or save" jobs. First it was 2.5 Million Jobs. Now it is 3 million jobs. Only 2.4 million of Obama's jobs will be in the private sector, requiring the creation of 600,000 government jobs to meet Obama's goal. Spending $800 billion on Obama's bailout means each job will cost the taxpayers $266,667.
There is a better way for Obama to get a bigger bang for our buck. After seven years of war the nation's military is in need of upgrade and repair. A temporary rise in defense spending on supplies, equipment and manpower could be a significant part of the stimulus the President-elect is seeking:
The increase in government spending needs to be a short-term surge with greater outlays in 2009 and 2010 but then tailing off sharply in 2011 when the economy should be almost back to its prerecession level of activity. Buying military supplies and equipment, including a variety of off-the-shelf dual use items, can easily fit this surge pattern.
One example of how a defense related stimulus would be much more efficient is the F-22A Raptor. Right away Obama could ensure America keeps 95,000 jobs by certifying that “the procurement of F-22A fighter aircraft is in the national interest of the United States of America." Those jobs, 25,00 direct jobs and 75,000 indirect jobs would be spread out over 1,000 suppliers in 44 states. Production of the F-22A will provide a $12 billion economic impact.
Military suppliers have substantial unused capacity which could quickly be put to use to produce additional supplies and equipment and jobs, creating demand and jobs here at home.
The Air Force can increase the production of fighter planes and transport aircraft without any delays. The Army can accelerate its combat modernization program. The Navy could build additional ships to deal with its increased responsibilities in protecting coastal shipping and in countering terrorism.