Call stimulus bill what it really is

OK, the Senate has been working for a couple of days on their version of the economic stimulus plan proposed by the new administration. As articulated by the House, the first rough numbers are in: $819 billion, of which large parts are allocated for education and health care. Correct me if IâÄôm wrong, but isnâÄôt the entire point of this massive spending effort supposed to be creating jobs? The bill isnâÄôt called the âÄúprop up education and health care plan.âÄù No, itâÄôs an âÄúeconomic stimulus plan.âÄù Spending on health care, unless itâÄôs building hospitals or funding nursing programs, does not create jobs; universal health care is a very admirable goal, and if can be done efficiently, IâÄôm all for it. However, there is no return on investment in the short term, which is presumably what this plan is trying to achieve. Spending on education is the greatest investment we can make in our nation. The key word there is investment âÄî long term. What we need now, according to those who sold this idea to our legislators, is return on investment now. And yes, you may be able to employ a boatload of new teachers, but for how long? One year? Will we have to expend the resources to ramp up teaching this year, hire new teachers, and then lay them off next year and expend the resources to ramp down teaching next year when the funding expires? If the purpose of this legislation is to create jobs and get money flowing again, a heavier emphasis should be placed on infrastructure improvements. I bet there are tens of thousands of miles of road across the country that are in desperate need of repair. Los Angeles could use a desalination plant so they stop stealing water from the rest of the world (I still donâÄôt think the Great Lakes are safe). There are hundreds of dams all across the Pacific Northwest that are nothing more than salmon-blocking sediment traps. If $100 billion were routed toward dam removal, we could put tens of thousands of people to work and help revitalize one of the most important but sorely underappreciated resources in North America. Mr. President, the honorable legislators in Washington, I appreciate your efforts to bolster education and health care, but please donâÄôt do it under an âÄúeconomic stimulusâÄù umbrella. Either call it what it is or change the allocations to reflect the name. Jake Osborne University graduate student