The function of Governments in a market based economy is first and foremost to protect property rights: physical and intellectual. The problem is and will remain that the US opened it's borders to countries that do not respect property rights thereby creating an extremely tilted playing field. China and Russia both are notorious at doing this with quota limit changes to full outright expropriation of entire industries.
In a democracy the government reflects the will of the people. Therefore you can't blame the government - only the citizens.
Fiscal responsibility would be political suicide because the citizens would not support it.
The idea behind spending up to build jobs is really digging the hole a bit deeper. It assumes that spending up will kick start the economy to the point where it generates wealth and will fix the longer term problems.
Where that idea falls short is that it does not distinguish between a productive and a consumptive economy and the related jobs. There is no point in boosting consumptive jobs (retail etc) because this will never fix the long term problem.
Another way to look at it is what the US imports vs what it exports. Increased retail spending (and associated jobs) that just increase consumption are pointless. Jobs that result in export make sense though.
If the USA wants to get back in the game then it needs to start making stuff the rest of the world wants.
What it really comes down to is that our government has not been responsible with the proverbial "credit card." It's not a Democratic or a Republican thing.... just a stupidity thing. We need to get the jobs problem fixed first, and deal with the deficits long term. As for did the previous stimulus work? The numbers prove that the recession was about twice as bad as they had predicted, thus the stimulus should have been twice the size it was. I would agree that congress should have written the first stimulus better. They loaded it up with their favorite flavors of pork, instead of focusing on a specific jobs plan, and agreed with it being 40% tax cuts. Hopefully they will produce something more focused this time, and not diluted to the point it fails. One of the most promising things I heard during the President's speech was "The American Jobs Act will repair and modernize at least 35,000 schools. It will put people to work right now fixing roofs and windows, installing science labs and high-speed Internet in classrooms all across this country. Pass this jobs bill, and thousands of teachers in every state will go back to work. These are the men and women charged with preparing our children for a world where the competition has never been tougher. Americans who desperately want to work, will have more ladders out of poverty." While I appreciate and respect the comments about the futility of retraining some displaced workers, Education is crutial for the future and long-term, permanant solution.
So after all these comments from engineers about improving the economy who for one thinks that what they said will really bring jobs? I would guess-none, so, what Obama says is in a way as good as yours, an engineers.
Congress is so disconnected that they don't even know the skill levels of the unemployed. Corporations agree they don't see a growth opportunity in the USA compared to other countries. In this country the worker is treated as a liability rather than an asset. Businesses with record cash will just get richer and the unemployed will go off of the radar screen as soon as congress stops benefits, problem solved.
Just go back to school and learn something new. RIGHT!! I am an engineer, I do electronic, electrical, mechanical, pneumatic, and hydraulic designs. I can program a PLC or a Motoman robot. Unfortunately in this part of the country an engineer must be able to do embedded software for automotive systems, and work with the CAN bus. It seems that the demand for general engineers has moved to some places like China and India. But I can't go to China, and don't want to go to India, so I am stuck. MY solution was to create a service company, and do all kinds of repair work, at an engineering level of competence, which it seems that people are willing to pay for. NOT AT ALL what I spent a bunch of years in school for, though. IF the president were serious about creating jobs, the first step would be to create confidence in the future, and that would require making changes to prevent the financial disaster from ever happening again. To avoid the skyrocketing fuel prices, make those who buy oil futures pay cash, instead of using credit. Just a few changes to assure that what was done before is now a felony, and then enforce the new laws. We certainly don't want to copy the government style s that some have suggested.
Innovation - wait a minute - didn't most of the money for technology in the 1980's came from tax payer's dollars funding Silicon Valley companies for the space race / star wars?
Real innovation comes from small companies with reduced bureaucratic / managerial overhead, but funding small companies is another bad joke, especially when large corporations become their "business partners" like in the millitary / government contracting sector and steal the money for guess what - managerial overhead.
Here what's happening in the old USA:
1. No government sponsored scholarships for engineering students. (Compare USA to China and India who pay for their students' education).
2. IEEE is inbedded with the management of large corporations, so nothing is done to lobby for #1 above. (How can a USA engineer with a minimun of $100k in student loans afford to take a job that requires a master's degree and only pays $45k per year? - only engineers who come from China and India can do that.)
3. What are we as engineers really creating?
A green planet, better standard of living, or a wasteland of dumped consumer gagets that get replaced every year or two? Has anybody bothered to look again at Maxwell's orginal equations to see if basic electrical circuitry can be re-engineered?
4. I blame the current economic situation on engineers who got their MBAs back in the 1980's and 1990's when the best way an engineer could make a large salary was to start a business, or become a manager. The engineers took their knowledge of systems into the business world and under corporate game rules created what we have today - the ways to make the bottom line greater.
Yeah it's all our fault! Were just a bunch of geeks and nerds who can't see the big picture because we're taking care of too many engineering and manangement details. Can we take the time to see how and what we do affects society and the entire planet. Finally, can we fix the mess we created?
Another engineer :-\
A very good point. Your post reminded me of a demotivational poster that has a picture of fast-food french fries and the word "Potential", with the caption "Not everyone gets to be an astronaut when they grow up."
It really is a serious social issue -- that not every displaced worker actually has the potential to compete for many of the jobs in the modern economy -- despite retraining initiatives.