I don’t mean the government employing them, but do roads, bridges and highways, which puts private contractors back into the hiring business and effectively create jobs directly rather than hoping that people who get tax cuts will start spending again?ROBERT REICH, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF LABOR: I think that’s right, Fareed. I think that it is useful, because I think it’s possible that the Republicans would agree to exempting, let’s say, the first $20,000 of income from the payroll tax for a year. That would put money directly in people’s pockets and they would arguably spend at least 50 or maybe 60 percent of that. That would be a direct stimulus.
But, as you point out, I think it is also very useful to extend large public projects or even a WPA, you know, as we had during the depression, works projects administration, to put the long-term unemployed directly back to work. Or a civilian conservation corps to put millions of young people who are jobless directly to work.We have public parks, for example, that are closed. We have all kinds of needs with regard to teachers’ aides, and in hospitals, many things that are – jobs that are not filled because we – nobody can afford them. The public cannot afford them.Well, better to have people do these jobs directly than to have people sitting home, collecting unemployment insurance.
David Stockman, do you think this may – or, you know, can we afford this? Obviously, there is the cost involved. A lot of this would be long-term borrowing. But it would put people back to work and they would start paying taxes. Would that help?DAVID STOCKMAN, FORMER DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET: No. I really disagree with that. That’s just more of the same old Keynesian medicine that’s failed. We may have public parks that are closed, but we also have a national balance sheet that is totally busted. The federal government and state and local governments are out of money, and so the Keynesian game is over, and there’s really literally nothing that Washington can do about the job problem.