Over at Bloomberg they have an article which states the opinion of a self proclaimed consumer group, which states they are watching where the money goes in the last stimulus package. Depending on which side of the fence you wish to sit on, the project itself could or could not have merit. Apparently this project has been in the works prior to the last stimulus package, and was designed to reduce traffic in the Redmond, WA. area, in getting Microsoft employees off of other surface streets, to the Microsoft Campus.
The consumer group known as Taxpayers for Common Sense seems to feel that Microsoft, who is contributing part of the cost of the new bridge, could pay the entire cost and that it would be merely pocket change. Also the local government could handle more of the cost according to the consumer group.
Last week there was a news program which highlighted one part of the stimulus package that included road repairs going on in Michigan. The road crew supervisor stated he had hire back some 1500 workers that had been previously furloughed. The project was expected to employee these people for some 2 years or more.
One could look at the impact that just one reemployeed worker has on the local economy. We will call the worker Fred who is married to Mary and has two children, Lauren 12 and Jeff 10 years old. While Fred was on furlough collecting unemployment benefits, he had to trim down his budget and the famaily had to forgo many of the things they did when Fred was working.
If we look at just one small item. Mary can’t afford to get her hair done once a month at $70. This means that is less money her hairdresser earns, one less bottle of dye she uses, one less amount of shampoo and other products needed to style Mary’s hair. So this one thing that Mary no longer does has an affect on many people down through the food chain. Multiply Mary by thousands or millions and you have a real problem.
The people who will be building the bridge are the ones that need the money in their pockets. This is not about Microsoft, Gates or Ballmer. It is not about city government in Redmond, WA. This is about getting people back to work and getting Mary back to the beauty salon.
What is your opinion?