Stimulating Health, Education, and Welfare

This is Alan Reynolds, writing in today's Wall Street Journal:

The December unemployment rate was only 2.3% for government workers and 3.8% in education and health. Unemployment rates in manufacturing and construction, by contrast, were 8.3% and 15.2% respectively. Yet 39% of the $550 billion in the bill would go to state and local governments. Another 17.3% would go to health and education — sectors where relatively secure government jobs are also prevalent.

Comments (6)

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  1. Joe S. says:

    This is a great article by Alan. One of his best.

  2. Larry C. says:

    Agree, Joe. This stimulus package is turning out to be a total scam.

  3. Ken says:

    There must be some public choice principle at work here. Why are politicians spending the most money where there is the least need?

  4. Richard Walker says:

    Here is the CBO’s estimate of the spending provisions of the Senate appropriations economic stimulus package:

    • • Only 12.1% will be spent this year.
    • • Only 49.3% will be spent over the next two years.
    • • The full package will not be exhausted until ten years.

    Obviously, they expect the problem of recession to be around for a long, long time.

  5. Lesley Albanese says:

    See Cato’s full-page ad in today’s New York Times (page A11) challenging President Obama’s belief that there is no disagreement on the need for massive government spending to stimulate the economy. In fact, many economists disagree. Hundreds of them, including Nobel laureates and other prominent scholars, have signed our statement that lower tax rates and a reduction in the burden of government are the best ways of using fiscal policy to boost growth.

    To check out the ad and back up studies, please visit our website at

  6. Velma Troup says:

    Education is undoubtedly a vital field, because everything in civilization is determined by education. I saw that on a website someplace — a non-profit organization in the Philippines. Teachers strive at their craft (most of them, anyway). But there are several who appear to have a gift to inspire. My high school world history teacher was one particular. She had lived in China as a kid. When she taught in Rockville, Maryland, you could actually feel the wisdom of all her experience. She didn’t have us memorize dates. That had been the first excellent thing I had heard from a history tutor. What she said next took the subject several magnitudes higher in value. She wanted us to know the motivations of history — the deeply visceral, human aspects of what can otherwise be a deadly dry subject. Jaime Escalante of “Stand and Deliver” fame, dared to dream big. Calculus for the typically dropout crowd? Pushing them to go on to college? Wow. And I have this book called, “Calculus Made Easy,” by Sylvanus P. Thompson, first published in 1910. It’s been through lots of printings all to create a straightforward subject simple. What are we able to do to create more teachers who inspire world-changing quality? Einstein once revealed that imagination is much more important than knowledge. Knowledge can give you the inspiration. Imagination may take you to the stars. Don’t our kids ought to get better?