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$320K per Job – What a Deal!

Wish lists abound for the latest proposed once in a lifetime federal government giveaway package. First, Wall Street got $700 Billion from to keep banks from closing and pulling credit off the table. Granted, that didn’t seem to have the desired effect, but as the saying goes, “Try, try again.”

Now, the latest greatest big idea is to give state and municipal governments all across the country $500 – $700 Billion in economic stimulus money. And, these government entities are just full of great ideas on how to use the money. Look no further than Albuquerque’s very own, Mayor Martin Chavez to see true economic genius at work (subscription):

Chávez unveiled a $1.6 billion wish list of projects Tuesday that includes $885 million for new renewable-energy power plants in and around Albuquerque and $90 million for a streetcar down Central.

The projects on Chávez’s list include two West Side solar power plants with a $745 million price tag, $34.5 million for a solar array at Albuquerque’s airport, and $72 million for energy-related retrofits to city buildings, along with tens of millions of dollars for city street projects.

Chávez said the $1.6 billion would be an unprecedented infusion of federal money, but it’s unclear whether the city projects would be ready to go and therefore eligible for the money.

Speaking Saturday in his weekly video address to the nation, Obama said state and local officials would have to be ready to move quickly or else lose the money — how quickly has not been determined.

“We think they all qualify,” Chávez said.

He estimates his wish list of projects would create 5,000 jobs of all kinds by 2010.

Wow, what a truly amazing accomplishment! For a mere $1.6 Billion, we could see 5,000 new jobs created. Let’s see, I guess that would work out to a cost of about $320,000 per new job created. What a bargain! Of course, most important of all is that we would finally get that streetcar that the Mayor has been lusting after for quite some time. You know, the one that has been killed time and time again.

Like, I’ve said in the past, I’ve got a layman’s understanding of the economic policy at best. I’m sure that the fact that we continue to lose millions of jobs after the bailout is just… well, just an unfortunate coincidence. I’m sure giving hundreds of billions of dollars to municipalities must somehow be a great idea – although exactly how escapes me.

Yeah, I’m probably just a little too slow to understand all of this. Giving folks like Mayor Chavez money to spend, so that they can create new jobs at $320K a pop probably makes perfect sense. Oh sure, I know some of you may point out that the private sector can do it for less:

ACCION New Mexico jumpstarted the local car and recreational vehicle detailing business Recapturing Vehicles with an $8,000 loan. The owner of Recapturing Vehicles, Jason Burns, had been turned down by five banks for a loan. Now, his company grosses $100,000 annually and Burns has two full-time employees.

But, you just don’t understand the way government works. Why spend an average of $2,500 to create three new jobs when you can spend $960,000?

See the government knows what they’re doing. Why just consider for a moment that in recent years the City of Albuquerque (same goes for the state and the nation) has had the largest budgets in their history to spend. Consider how many jobs they’ve been able to create during that time, and look at how strong our economy is doing because of it. It only makes sense that if we grow our government even more, we’ll see an even greater impact on the economy.

What we’re experiencing now is only the beginning – spend, spend, spend. Look where it got us today, and imagine where it can get us tomorrow.