A year from now, who will pay the salaries of the 25 Columbus, Ohio, police recruits President Barack Obama used to defend his stimulus program?
That is a question neither Obama nor the local and state officials who have helped him promote the stimulus scheme want to address.
During a speech in Columbus on Friday, Obama cited the police recruits as proof the stimulus program is a good idea. "I look at these young men and women, I look into their eyes and I see their badges today, and I know we did the right thing," the president insisted.
The recruits were to have been laid off from the Columbus police force, because of city budget constraints. But Mayor Michael Coleman said they will be retained, because stimulus money is available to pay them through Dec. 31.
What happens on Jan. 1, 2010, when the stimulus money is gone? Will Columbus taxpayers have to dig deeper into their pockets to keep the officers, or will they be laid off?
At best, the stimulus program is a short-term paycheck for some workers. At worst, it is a scheme to saddle Americans with higher local and state taxes in the future. Either way, it is not the kind of real help the economy needs.