Reporter's Note: President Obama has enough problems without getting millions of letters from people offering advice. On the other hand, he asked for help.
Tom Foreman | Bio
Dear Mr. President,
I report to you, sir, from the front lines of the battle for economic recovery. To be specific, from a road just north of Washington, D.C.; where on this very day, I spent time with people who did not have jobs, but now do as a result of the stimulus package. No kidding.
You may have noticed in my letters, a touch of skepticism from time to time about almost any program launched by the government. It’s not that I think all politicians are greedy, or small-minded, or do not have the interests of the people at heart. Truth be told, most of the politicians I’ve met are like most people. Some are good. Some are bad. And some spend far too much time ogling the interns and plotting to take your job one day.
But put a bunch of people together in a committee room, give them a bucket of money to spend that is not theirs, and I must say the results are often disappointing. Especially if it was your money to begin with.
Now, let’s get back to that roadside in Maryland. I went to that “first in the country” stimulus-funded road repair project you all were boasting about recently, to see if it really is all that. This is what I saw: The road most certainly needed repair; the private company that got the contract to do the work is pretty pleased about it, considering that they’ve laid off about 350 people in recent years, and would like to get them back; and the two guys I met who have already been called back are delighted.
One was a young fellow with a couple of children, if I heard him correctly. The other was a somewhat older man with grown children, but some medical issues in his family that he really needs the money for. That these two guys are back on the job is undeniably good news for their families. The fact that the company has more work is certainly good news for the business owners. The community will presumably enjoy the new road, although I assume they, like everyone else, will do a lot of cursing about the construction delays in the meantime.
Does all this mean the stimulus will work, or that it is a good deal for taxpayers overall? I don’t know, and frankly I don’t think anyone else really knows either, despite some strong opinions on all sides. Until we’ve traveled that road for a while to see where it is actually heading, the best we can do is predict, and hope, and worry, and wait.
But from the side of a busy road in suburbia today, I can tell you this much: Two jobs are back on-line. Only three or four million more to go!
Call if you feel inclined, and unless I’m reclined, I’ll answer.
For more of the Foreman Letters, go here.
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