Over the past couple of weeks tidbits have turned up indicating members of both the senate and the house are considering the next stimulus bill; a bill that will be predominately aimed at improving employment numbers.
I’ve stated in my economic expectations that this is coming. Bluntly, it’s more likely to pass than the health care, with the only questions being details of the contents and actual passage date. Let me talk politics first, then I’ll mention what’s in it.
The reason it’ll pass – even against both the “don’t help the Democrats” mentality AND the “now we’re for fiscal responsibility” attitudes going around – is simple re-election politics. What congressman facing re-election wants to see ads that say he (or she) opposed helping constituents to get jobs? High unemployment is going to be the big anchor for the Democrats, and if it declines they get some relief. But intentionally keeping it high rebounds the pain to the Republicans instead. This isn’t like health care where the majority of people actually have something (expensive and painful as it may be). Well, it sorta is, but too many people have friends and family who are HURTING.
U6 unemployment – ALL unemployment including those who have given up and those who are eeking by with part-time while looking for full – is approaching 20%. 1 in 6 people now, and approaching 1 in 5, are hurting due to lack of jobs. It’s a wallet issue – tell me you’re going to continue screwing me and I WILL find time to get you back. Help me and I MIGHT find time to help you back.
In that light, the Republicans can’t resist the bill. Being completely fair, many of them won’t want to do so – they will want to help their constituents and jobs is a lot more understandable than “stimulus” or a health care bill that takes money from most of their constituents to help only a few. (sigh – sorry, still bitter.)
ANYWAY, given that bit of political focus it should be pretty obvious that the bill will pass. So what will it include?
I don’t have details but I can give you some broad brush areas that will probably be in there – they’ll certainly be considered if not included.
There will be tax breaks for employers who hire above and beyond. There will be supplements for employers who hire above and beyond. These two will be flipsides of the same issue, really: the goverment will give employers money to have more employees.
In addition we can expect to see more entrepreneurial assistance. SBA is already allowing 90% loans (ie, the new businessperson only has to provide 10%). Expect more help – not just to loans but to tax breaks and supplements as well.
We can also expect to see more training money – grants for trade schooling.
I think we’ll also see new jobs directly from the government, but not really government employment. Think CCC for one example, though it may also include contracts for government work that includes a “you must have x% of employees who have been hired within the past [x] months.” clause, or something of the sort.
Now in addition to informing, let me suggest some action. I’ve pointed out it will happen. I’ve suggested some areas in which the details are likely to fall. I’d like to request you think about what you would recommend, then take some time to write to your congresscritters – house and senate – with your recommendations. They are going to pay a bit of attention; it’s coming, but it’s not yet at the ‘rabid zealot’ stage. There will be discussion at lunch tables and dinner parties and while standing around waiting for business or ceremony to begin. Now is the time for thoughtful suggestion. If, of course, you’ve preferences or recommendations. Because once this hits the radar it’ll get loud and most small voices – those without something to enhance their volume (connections, money, etc) won’t be heard.