- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Lower expectations

The Obama administration is counting every job possible toward its stated goal of “creating or saving” more than 3 million jobs. Even if it’s only part-time.

Unemployment numbers have increased steadily despite the $787 billion stimulus bill Washington passed in January and one of the White House’s top economists offered a new way of tallying up the numbers in a Monday appearance on CNBC. Jared Bernstein, the chief economist for Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., proposed two part-time jobs could be counted as a single full-time job.

“The 600,000 jobs are full-time equivalence, meaning if there are two part-time jobs they count as one full-time job,” Mr. Bernstein said. “So that’s some real employment in the job market.”

He went on to indicate that rather than looking at the numbers of jobs saved or created per se, it was important to emphasize in what sectors jobs are being created by the stimulus.

“We’re talking about improvements in 100 national parks,” Mr. Bernstein offered. “I think that’s a pretty good bet for summer activity. You’re talking about expanding services at over 1,000 health centers, improving more than 90 veterans medial centers. You’re talking about saving or creating jobs for 135,000 teachers, principals, staff in public schools. These are the kinds of real-life jobs the stimulus bill is going to help kick up in the second hundred days.”

At no time during the interview did Mr. Bernstein detail, or praise, the types of part-time jobs he said the administration would count toward its goal.

Job requirements

The Obama administration is using the stimulus bill to change the common understanding of what constitutes a summer job - some of the most traditional ones aren’t green enough.

The $1.2 billion allotted in the stimulus bill to give youths summer jobs comes with some strings attached, forbidding them to work for the government as lifeguards at community pools or mowing grass at golf courses.

Guidelines issued from the Department of Labor’s Deputy Assistant Secretary Douglas F. Small mandates no stimulus money may be used to pay youths to work at “any casino or gambling establishment, aquarium, zoo, golf course or swimming pool.”

Labor officials favor giving youths, which includes persons up to the age of 24, “green work experiences.” Retrofitting public buildings, constructing energy-efficient public housing, reclaiming public parks and recycling computers are among the types of jobs the government suggests youths should be given stimulus dollars to do.

“Mapping ‘green’ educational and career pathways - both short-term and long-term - is an excellent way to provide youth opportunities to align their schools with those required by ‘green’ industries and prepare them for entry into registered apprenticeships or technical training,” Mr. Small’s guidelines said.

Boycott GM

Conservative talk radio hosts are calling for a boycott of General Motors Corp. products in their outrage over the government takeover of the beleaguered auto company.

“Nobody wants to support an Obama company,” talk radio titan Rush Limbaugh told his vast radio audience last week.

“The government-controlled media is not gonna report anything like this, but there are a lot of people who are not going to buy from Chrysler or General Motors as long as it is perceived Barack Obama is running it, because people do not want his policy to work here because this is antithetical to the American economic way of life,” he said.

Mr. Limbaugh isn’t the only one espousing this logic. Radio host and columnist Hugh Hewitt has trumpeted his personal vow never to purchase a GM vehicle until it becomes a private company again.

“I won’t buy a socialist car, which means I won’t be buying a GM or Chrysler car for as long as the U.S. government owns huge blocks of the companies,” Mr. Hewitt has written.

Amanda Carpenter can be reached at [email protected] ingtontimes.com.

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