"Obama had committed just before Thanksgiving to saving or creating 2.5 million jobs in the next two years, more than twice his campaign promise of 1 million new jobs over an unspecified period. But he didn’t say how he would do it. On Saturday, he began to spell it out, offering "five key parts" of his economic plan:
—ENERGY: “[W]e will launch a massive effort to make public buildings more energy-efficient. Our government now pays the highest energy bill in the world. We need to change that. We need to upgrade our federal buildings by replacing old heating systems and installing efficient light bulbs. That won’t just save you, the American taxpayer, billions of dollars each year. It will put people back to work.”
—ROADS AND BRIDGES: “[W]e 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. We’ll invest your precious tax dollars in new and smarter ways, and we’ll set a simple rule – use it or lose it. If a state doesn’t act quickly to invest in roads and bridges in their communities, they’ll lose the money.”
—SCHOOLS: “[M]y economic recovery plan will launch the most sweeping effort to modernize and upgrade school buildings that this country has ever seen. We will repair broken schools, make them energy-efficient, and put new computers in our classrooms. Because to help our children compete in a 21st century economy, we need to send them to 21st century schools.”
—BROADBAND: “As we renew our schools and highways, we’ll also renew our information superhighway. It is unacceptable that the United States ranks 15th in the world in broadband adoption. Here, in the country that invented the Internet, every child should have the chance to get online, and they’ll get that chance when I’m president – because that’s how we’ll strengthen America’s competitiveness in the world.”
(Incoming White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel had talked about expanding broadband access, but this is the first time the transition has formally proposed it.)
—ELECTRONIC MEDICAL RECORDS: “In addition to connecting our libraries and schools to the Internet, we must also ensure that our hospitals are connected to each other through the Internet. That is why the economic recovery plan I’m proposing will help modernize our health care system – and that won’t just save jobs, it will save lives. We will make sure that every doctor’s office and hospital in this country is using cutting edge technology and electronic medical records so that we can cut red tape, prevent medical mistakes, and help save billions of dollars each year.”
If this is the "Big Plan" that Obama supporters have been waiting for it must be anticlimatic. After all rehashing 50-year old government "get to work" plans simply won't work in today's economy.
In the 50 years since Ike build the nation's interstate system, the task of building roads has become boondoggle of red tape, delays and budget overruns. Take a look at the last time you noticed a highway contruction project in your area and you'll see why.
The people who drive the heavy equipment all the way to those who clear the trenches are all union employees by and large and as such are paid good salaries. Yet at a time when the government is going into hock giving away cash to failed banks and car companies the last thing they can do is begin a construction company.