Where Is The Money?

by Rabbi Philip Lefkowitz

Where Is The Money? By Rabbi Philip Lefkowitz

Although not a member of the Move On movement, I received this invitation through my e-mail.

Dear Move On member,
We’ve been pushing Congress to turn the focus to jobs, not cuts. Representative Jan Schakowsky is taking the jobs crisis seriously, and we need to show that she has our support.
She’s introducing the “Emergency Jobs to Restore the American Dream Act,” which will help get the country working again by creating over 2 million jobs to strengthen our communities. With all eyes on voters’ reactions during the August recess, it’s more important than ever for us to support strong progressive champions like Rep. Schakowsky.
There will be a public event at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, August 10, at 5120 N. Winthrop in Chicago, to release the “Emergency Jobs to Restore the American Dream Act,” and we need a strong presence to show support. Can you make it?
Rep. Schakowsky’s bill will not only create jobs for the unemployed, it will improve schools and parks, and fund neighborhood heroes like teachers, firefighters, cops, and health care workers. It also puts people to work in our communities tackling issues like rural conservation, urban blight, reclamation, and housing. And it will lower national unemployment by 1.3%.
This bill is a truly progressive take on the jobs crisis, exactly what we've been pushing for. Can you come on Wednesday and show your support for the “Emergency Jobs to Restore the American Dream Act?”

In response I wrote:

Thanks for the invitation. Am I to understand this is about developing more government jobs as opposed to taking steps to encourage job development in the private sector? Where is the money coming from for this project?
Please respond.

And this is the answer I received.

Gee, I didn't get all that from it. Come and find out Rabbi.
P.S. BTW, come to think of it, FDR partially helped us get out of the depression by investing (spending $$) on infra structure.

For me and I suspect for most individuals before we spend any money we have to figure out where we are getting the money from. The news is filled with the debt problem facing the United States. Most Democrats and Republicans agree that this is a severe problem that must be resolved. We were just witness to a clash in Congress, name calling, figure pointing, all because we face a financial crisis. And the response I received to my inquiry was “Gee, I didn’t get all that from it”, as if where the money to fund the Congresswoman’s bill is but a minor issue. Haven’t we already witnessed the folly of the “shovel ready” jobs, to which our President finally had to say with a smile I guess there weren’t that shovel ready.

I am well aware of President Roosevelt’s providing jobs for folks during the depression. My own father was a recipient of just such a job working in the C.C.C., Civil Conservation Corps, clearing government land in North Dakota. That job literally saved his life as he was just out of an orphanage and could not find any employment. At the time, unlike today, there were few if any supports in society to come to his aid. He had to resort to selling his blood at blood banks so that he could have money to buy food.

The respondent rightly comments, “FDR partially got us out of the Depression.” The word partially is the key. It was World War II that ultimately turned our economy around ushering in the golden years of the 50s when “Happy days are here again.”

It is difficult for me to understand why there are still folks who believe that all the United States must do is spend money to move us beyond the debt crisis. Planning a massive job program, a government job program, with no consideration for where the funds will be coming from to support this effort, “Gee, I didn’t get all that from it” is to me astounding.