Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Los Angeles Times reports that the economic stimulus plan, developed jointly by House Democratic leaders and the White House, includes approximately $550 billion in new spending and $275 billion in tax breaks and

emphasizes stimulating economic demand with fast-acting tax breaks for workers and businesses, creating jobs through direct government spending on infrastructure and other projects, and investing in energy and the environment to promote long-term growth.

President Obama proposes direct government spending on infrastructure has ordered the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay closed. Why not combine the two proposals?
Answering critics, primarily Repubs, who charge that housing alleged terrorists in the continental United States is hazardous, Representative John Murtha of Pennsylvania, chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, remarked on January 23 "There are thousands of dangerous prisoners being held securely behind bars in supermax prisons across the United States."

Except that the Department of Corrections reports that the maximum-security prisons in Murtha's economically depressed district are full, and the New York Times reports there is no "supermax" (whatever that is) facility there. Still

"We're looking for some jobs down here and Congressman Murtha has been exceptional with helping us with that," said Brad Geyer, a councilman in Connellsville, Pa., when asked about Guantanamo prisoners. "My constituents ... would probably err on the side of enjoying the possibility of some new jobs."

State Sen. J. Barry Stout, whose district overlaps Murtha's, said a new maximum-security facility would certainly have to be built to accommodate the prisoners. And he said a new prison is a reliable, 'round-the-clock employer.

"It could be constructed and operated in a safe manner, and it would have an economic impact in the region," Stout said. "You never shut a prison down."

New jobs. A prison to house the 245 detainees now in Cuba. And an opportunity to build a facility according to the strict, and possibly different, security specifications necessary to incarcerate terrorists/suspected terrorists safely. It may not be a perfect use of funds, but it surely beats how most of the money donated to banks as part of the Troubled Asset Relief Program have been spent.

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