President Obama headed to Elkhart, Ind., today to drum up support for the stimulus package. This city's workers and businesses sure seem to need some kind of stimulus--Elkhart's unemployment rate is 18 percent, the mayor has said. (The national average is 7.6).
From Obama's prepared remarks on the package:
At its core is a very simple idea: to put Americans back to work doing the work America needs done. The plan will save or create three to four million jobs over the next two years. But not just any jobs – jobs that meet the needs we've neglected for far too long and lay the groundwork for long-term economic growth: jobs fixing our schools; computerizing medical records to save costs and save lives; repairing our infrastructure; and investing in renewable energy to help us move toward energy independence. The plan also calls for immediate tax relief for 95 percent of American workers. ...
The middle class is under siege, and we need to give you more of the money you've earned, so you can spend it and pay your bills. Under our plan, individuals get $500 – families, $1,000 – providing relief for nearly 2.5 million workers and their families here in Indiana.
But the President also says the plan might not work as well as planned:
Now I'm not going to tell you that this bill is perfect. It isn't. But it is the right size, the right scope, and has the right priorities to create jobs that will jumpstart our economy and transform it for the twenty-first century.
I also can't tell you with one hundred percent certainty that everything in this plan will work exactly as we hope. But I can tell you with complete confidence that endless delay or paralysis in Washington in the face of this crisis will bring only deepening disaster.
An interesting point on Indiana's state government: Fred Barnes writes in the Weekly Standard that "the $200 billion bailout of state governments might save jobs." But, Barnes writes, not all states need federal a bailout: "I talked to state treasurers from Indiana, Nebraska, and Mississippi last week. They said their states don't need the money. But they're likely to take it: approximately $6 billion for the three states."