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Rebuilding Schools as an Economic Stimulus

By Michele McNeil — September 30, 2008 1 min read
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As the financial crisis continues to unfold, Sen. Barack Obama is renewing his call for a second economic-stimulus package that would help jump-start the economy.

The Democratic presidential nominee pitched his plan, originally unveiled in August, again today in a speech in Reno, Nev. Obama is renewing his calls for this second stimulus package, which would follow the first package that resulted in checks to taxpayers over the summer worth up to $600, as Congress continues even today to wrangle over a $700 billion Wall Street bailout.

In today’s speech, Obama said:

As soon as we pass this rescue plan, we need to move with the same sense of urgency to rescue the families on Main Street who are struggling every day to pay their bills and keep their jobs. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: we need to pass an economic stimulus plan that will help folks cope with rising food and gas prices, save one million jobs by rebuilding our schools and roads, and help states and cities avoid budget cuts and tax increases.

What exactly does Obama mean when he says he’s going to save jobs by rebuilding schools?

According to his “emergency economic plan,” Obama wants to create a $25 billion fund to fast-track construction projects, whether they be for highways or schools, which will lead to 1 million new jobs.

His plan will “ensure that schools can meet their energy costs and undertake key repairs starting this fall.” The plan is very sketchy on how relief from energy costs fits into his overall $25 billion construction project fund.

To stress the urgency of helping schools rebuild and manage high energy costs, the Obama campaign cites these facts: 76 percent of school buildings have structural deficiencies and schools in at least 16 states are going to four-day school weeks because of high fuel prices.

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