I recently criticized President Obama’s job creation initiative, in part because $1 billion seemed to me too little to make much impact on our high unemployment rate. Policy analyst and sometime-guest blogger Matt McKillop commented that I was understating the job creation components of the President’s budget.
A budget briefing hosted by the Coalition on Human Needs has just confirmed Matt’s view. According to Robert Greenstein, Executive Director of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the better figure is $281 billion over the next three years–or as a CBPP brief explains, $266 billion over the long term.
I relied on the figure the White House cited–as indeed did many reporters. Turns out that, for strategic reasons, the White House decided not to include the costs of its proposed extensions of a number of provisions in the economic stimulus package–expanded unemployment benefits, COBRA subsidies, the increased federal match for Medicaid, the boost in food stamp benefits and more.
While these alleviate hardship, they also provide a big “bang for the buck” stimulus to the economy–thus preserve and create jobs.
So I stand corrected. And I’m glad of it. Now let’s see what our fractious Congress does.