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Barack the Handy Man
Posted by: McQ on Saturday, December 06, 2008

It appears Mr. Obama's New New Deal economic recovery plan involves a lot of handyman work. 3 points of his 5 point plan involve, well, fixing things. Private sector? Nada:
—ENERGY: “[W]e will launch a massive effort to make public buildings more energy-efficient. Our government now pays the highest energy bill in the world. We need to change that. We need to upgrade our federal buildings by replacing old heating systems and installing efficient light bulbs. That won’t just save you, the American taxpayer, billions of dollars each year. It will put people back to work.”

—ROADS AND BRIDGES: “[W]e will create millions of jobs by making the single largest new investment in our national infrastructure since the creation of the federal highway system in the 1950s. We’ll invest your precious tax dollars in new and smarter ways, and we’ll set a simple rule – use it or lose it. If a state doesn’t act quickly to invest in roads and bridges in their communities, they’ll lose the money.”

—SCHOOLS: “[M]y economic recovery plan will launch the most sweeping effort to modernize and upgrade school buildings that this country has ever seen. We will repair broken schools, make them energy-efficient, and put new computers in our classrooms. Because to help our children compete in a 21st century economy, we need to send them to 21st century schools.”
I have to say that if we have enough work in public buildings replacing old lightbulbs, putting in new heating systems and making them energy efficient to "put people back to work", then we have way too many public buildings.

As for roads and bridges, didn't we recently pass a rather large spending bill in 2008 addressing roads and bridges? Oh, yeah, we did.

Apparently, other than computers, lightbulbs and insulation are pretty much what is planned for the schools as well.

On to points 4 and 5:
—BROADBAND: “As we renew our schools and highways, we’ll also renew our information superhighway. It is unacceptable that the United States ranks 15th in the world in broadband adoption. Here, in the country that invented the Internet, every child should have the chance to get online, and they’ll get that chance when I’m president – because that’s how we’ll strengthen America’s competitiveness in the world.”
Or strengthen their access to porn and games. Look, I'm not against "access" if it is feasible and I'm not paying for it. But access for access sake isn't going to "strengthen America's competitiveness in the world" by any stretch.
—ELECTRONIC MEDICAL RECORDS: “In addition to connecting our libraries and schools to the Internet, we must also ensure that our hospitals are connected to each other through the Internet. That is why the economic recovery plan I’m proposing will help modernize our health care system – and that won’t just save jobs, it will save lives. We will make sure that every doctor’s office and hospital in this country is using cutting edge technology and electronic medical records so that we can cut red tape, prevent medical mistakes, and help save billions of dollars each year.”
Of course it won't matter if this particular program actually ends up saving billions if your aim is to spend trillions. Additionally most studies I've seen said the medical records savings are overstated and won't begin to be a reality until around 2019.

Last but not least, where's the plan to help the private sector grow and generate new jobs? If this is an economic recovery plan, it would seem to me Obama's more interested in fixing the headlights than getting the engine running.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

My doctor has mentioned a few times his disgust with electronic records he says were required by Bush. I can’t wait to see him again and guage his reaction to Obama.
Written By: Rick
URL: http://
Or strengthen their access to porn
You say that like it’s a bad thing... :)
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Of course it won’t matter if this particular program actually ends up saving billions if your aim is to spend trillions. Additionally most studies I’ve seen said the medical records savings are overstated and won’t begin to be a reality until around 2019.
ok hacker steals online medical record, blackmails the hospital, savings capoof.
Written By: mac
URL: http://
The fable that an EMR will save gadzillions of dollars in health care costs ranks up there with a similar myth: that we can save gadzillion more with preventive medicine — see My Favorite Medical Myths.

There are many positives to EMRs, but cost-savings ain’t one of them.

I know: I wrote my own, and have used a number of large commercial systems in hospitals.

The acquisition, training, and implementation costs are enormous; standardization and interoperability are distant dreams; and even when fully implemented (which will take many years), any possible savings will prove illusory.

Written By: Dr Bob
I have to say that if we have enough work in public buildings replacing old lightbulbs, putting in new heating systems and making them energy efficient to "put people back to work", we have way too many public buildings.
Perhaps, but the truth is that we have a lot of really old public buildings. I work in buildings which were constructed as temporary facilities to fight WWII. We’re still using them. I know things are like that all over the DoD if not the entire federal system.

Not that Obama’s plan is a good idea. My building has had its heating plant revamped multiple times over my short time there. It still doesn’t work right. The building is too old and it really isn’t possible to update it properly anyway. What they should be doing is ripping down all the ramshackle WWII construction that is costing ridiculous amounts of cash to heat/cool/maintain and building new modern construction.
Written By: Jeff the Baptist
What surprises me is how unimaginative the list is. I mean, he can only think of 5 things to fix?

Supposedly there is this life-as-we-know-it threat, namely, global warming. We ought to be building nuclear power plants to reduce our production of CO2.

Unless, of course, the whole thing is a scam...
Written By: ben
URL: http://
At least the illegal aliens will have work for a few years.
Written By: SkyWatch
URL: http://
Of course, to recognize the full value of EMR, they will have to change HIPAA enough to remove the fear most doctors and their staffs have of sharing ANYTHING. I once needed a doctor’s note for my employer and the nurse refused to deliver it in any other way than to my hands in the office, citing HIPAA, until I reminded her and the doctor that this document was intended to be seen by other people.
Written By: SDN
URL: http://
Two million of those jobs are for the highway construction, too. Were I trying to turn the economy around, I wouldn’t try to flood it with low paid laborers that spread asphault and dig ditches for fiber optic cable. All the HVAC work might do some good, but it will not save the government billions like Barry says. He thought we could save billions of barrels of oil with a tire pressure gauge, too.
Written By: slackathor
Wait ... we’re supposed to be saving the world from the gasoline demands of the EEEEVIL AUTOMOBILE, so the first order of business is: BUILD MORE ROADS!!! Well, mmmkay ... aand we need to employ hundreds of thousands of people, so, we’re gonna do that by cranking up the HVAC guys, who aren’t, as far as I know, exactly underemployed right now anyway, and who can’t take on squadrons of unskilled help since it’s a, you know, SKILLED area of labor, to do work on government buildings which has to be bid out for contracts and to unionized labor primarily ... yeah, that’ll get a buncha white-collar guys ’n gals off the bread lines... and then there’s the vaporous promises about internet connectivity and medical records ... If this is his actual PLAN, guys, the result of what he considers a serious thought process, this is just pathetic. And scary.
Written By: Megaera
URL: http://

Build them and they will come. A corollary of Parkinson’s Law (work expands to fill the time available), traffic will grow to exceed the available road capacity.
Written By: timactual
URL: http://

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