A Sunday news story by Michael Cooper bashed Republicans for the heartlessness of not continuing a "New Deal-style" federal make-work government jobs program indefinitely: "With Part of Stimulus Act Expiring, Thousands Face Losing New Jobs - Republicans Resist Extension of Salary Payment Program." The text box read: "Many see success in a New Deal-style federal effort." Not a single opponent of the job scheme was cited by Cooper, who instead noted that "some economists" (who?) found paying unemployed people for jobs in government and nonprofit was "one of the most cost-effective ways to stimulate employment."
In rural Perry County, Tenn., the program helped pay for roughly 400 new jobs in the public and private sectors. But in a county of 7,600 people, those jobs had a big impact: they reduced Perry County's unemployment rate to less than 14 percent this August, from the Depression-like levels of more than 25 percent that it hit last year after its biggest employer, an auto parts factory, moved to Mexico.
After relaying kind words about how the program was working in his state from Mississippi's Republican Gov. Haley Barbour (a source the Times doesn't typically take at his word), Cooper buttressed the pro-spending argument with data from a liberal group.
The federal program has helped employ nearly 130,000 adults and has paid for nearly an equal number of summer jobs for young people, according to an analysis by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal policy institute in Washington.
If the program is allowed to lapse, up to 26,000 workers in Illinois will lose their jobs in the coming weeks, along with 12,000 workers in Pennsylvania and thousands more in other states, according to LaDonna Pavetti, the director of the center's welfare reform and income support division.
Cooper found "some economists" who consider such FDR-era measures the most efficient way to stimulate employment. Cooper didn't quote any economists who disagreed; in fact, his story featured no critics at all, while citing five supporters of the spending, four of them local, the other being the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, the D.C. based liberal policy group.
Some economists consider subsidized jobs one of the most cost-effective ways to stimulate employment: there is no overhead or profit, as there is when firms win bids to perform work for the government.