Terry Jeffrey

All that's missing is the health-care element. Perhaps Edwardsville could build a rail-side detox center between the vineyards and the schools?

Another interesting thing about the mayors' report is that it includes a remarkable number of projects aimed at creating jobs through changing lightbulbs. In city after city, mayors have been literally asking themselves: How many government workers does it take to change a lightbulb?

They also have been asking: How much can we charge taxpayers to hire government workers to change lightbulbs?

A few examples:

On page 222 of the report, the city of North Miami, Fla., proposes to "establish a 'change a light bulb' program for all income-eligible households and change out all incandescent bulbs to compact fluorescent bulbs to reduce energy consumption citywide."

This will create two jobs, says North Miami, and cost taxpayers $2,000,000 -- or $1,000,000 per newly hired 'change-a-light-bulb' program worker.

Sunnyvale, Calif., has an even bolder proposal. Page 983 says Sunnyvale would like federal money to "replace high-pressure sodium street lights with LEDs." This, Sunnyvale says, will cost $8,378,750 -- and create one job.

Sunnyvale would be more efficient in another project it is proposing. The city, says the report, could "install photovotaic systems at city facilities" for a mere $3,094,000. That would create another job.

Midwesterners appeared to be more frugal than their colleagues on the coasts. On page 272, Des Moines, Iowa, says it can "retrofit parking garages with LED lighting and motion sensors." This would create five jobs for $1,000,000, or just $200,000 per job.

And Calumet City, Ill, does even better. On page 292, it says it can achieve "LED bulb replacement at traffic signals" for $326,000, creating five jobs in the process -- a relative bargain at $62,500 per job.

One would like to think that before the typical member of Congress votes on the Obama stimulus plan, his or her mind would be illuminated by the fact that most of the dollars spent creating government jobs from Calumet City to Sunnyvale must first be taken from the pockets of workers performing chores that people paid for of their own free will.

Terry Jeffrey

Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor-in-chief of CNSNews

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