Prospects for 2009 Crisis: Obama and Arroyo

I continue to be inspired by the inaugural speech of the 44th US President.  I wonder when our turn will come to be inspired by a leader who talks to his people of hope and virtue, of citizenship and equality, of courage and selflessness, and a keen appreciation of reality…
“That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at
war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is
badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of
some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the
nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered.
Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day
brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our
adversaries and threaten our planet.
These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less
measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land —
a nagging fear that America’s decline is inevitable, and that the next
generation must lower its sights.”
And from an report entitled ‘Stimulus package raised by P30B’ (excerpted)
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said, “As an economist, I also know that things can turn, and quickly. That is why we are planning for better days, even as we are developing contingency plans if things get worse.”  She said the stimulus package aimed “to upgrade infrastructure, expand social protection, and ensure sustainable growth in the midst of the global economic crisis.”
[These she said when] Malacañang on Tuesday increased a planned economic stimulus package by P30 billion and raised its job generation target to three million by yearend.
The “economic resiliency plan” — the government’s response to the global financial crisis — now calls for P330 billion, most of which will be spent on infrastructure projects in the first half of 2009.
Much of the job creation will depend on the schools, bridges, irrigation systems and other structures the government will build during this period, said to Secretary Domingo Panganiban, point man of the Comprehensive Livelihood, Emergency Employment Plan (CLEEP).
The initial target was one million new jobs by the end of July.
The strategy promises quick employment, meaning applicants will wait just days to get hired, Panganiban said.
He said around 100,000 jobs would be made available this month. He said that as of Tuesday 50,000 applicants could be considered as “good as hired.”
Most of those applicants were at the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, which is hiring more street sweepers, he said…..
The CLEEP should be better termed as CREEP (Comprehensive [Livelihood] Roadside, Emergency Employment Plan), shades of the Macapagal presidency in the early 1960’s.
Wow, how so easy our problems can be solved.   I recall the column of Ciel Habito calling attention to the latest labor force survey reporting increased employment while on the other hand GDP slowed down during the last quarter of 2008.  The probable conclusion:  declining productivitiy.  Street sweeping, for instance, while providing emergency employment, is not sustainable, does not offer much forward and backward industry linkages, and reinforces the poor and the unemployed to lower their sights,….  
President Obama made reference: ‘To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of deceit, know that you are on the wrong side of history…’   ….Even our celebration of history takes a backseat in the name of holiday economics…
I pray that I am so wrong.


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Filed under labor force, Philippine development

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