Depending on who’s talking, they say the Obama-McConnell tax cuts will cost $800 billion to $900 billion dollars over two years. Let’s split the difference, divide by two, and say $425 billion a year. If there are around 15 million workers currently unemployed, that comes out to a little over $28,000 per worker per year.
What if we put those people to work? As long as we’re going to run up the deficit anyway, why not put that borrowed money right where it needs to be? Then we wouldn’t have to worry about whether it was going to create jobs. We wouldn’t have to worry about whether that money was going back into the economy. We could get some work done on our crumbling infrastructure. We could keep Social Security on a sound basis — in fact, this would be a good time to eliminate the Social Security tax ceiling, so that people who make over $106,000 pay into the system in proportion to their earnings; that would keep Social Security on a sound basis. If we gave priority in hiring to people who have exhausted their unemployment benefits, we wouldn’t need to extend those benefits.
The only problem I see with reviving the WPA instead of pursuing these foolish tax cuts is that it wouldn’t be a free gift to the people who have paid good money in legal bribes to politicians, and expect a return on their investment. I think the proper response to that objection is, “Tough shit.”