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Where to Cash in On the Stimulus

Whether you think the stimulus plan is a brilliant idea or a dangerous waste of money, chances are, you wouldn’t mind getting your hands on a little of that $787 billion the government will be paying out. So, how can you cash in (in ways larger than the pittance of a tax break most of us will receive)?

Here’s some industries you might want to consider.

Construction: Despite complaints that infrastructure projects will take too long to get going and won’t create permanent work, there’s little arguing that we need to shore up our infrastructure. As many as 640,000 construction jobs and another 300,000 supplier and manufacturing jobs could be created. I’ve long thought infrastructure projects are an excellent use of government funds during a recession. They take care of necessary projects and provide employment for a sector greatly affected by economic slowdowns.

Green Sector: Some of this is direct investment and some is in the forms of tax breaks for individuals and businesses who “go green.” I’m not a big fan of bureaucrats determining which technologies are most worth pursuing — you can lose a lot of money backing the wrong tech (ask anyone who put money into HD DVD). It’s best to let markets drive innovation. Which is why I like the tax breaks spanning a nice range of green technology. Juice the incentive for going green and then let the market determine which tech is best. In any case, if you install energy efficient windows or are a green energy scientist, go ahead and start thinking about that next vacation.

Education: If you’re a teacher or administrator and you’re state is in financial trouble, the stimulus bill should give you a sense of job security. The government is bailing out the bad decisions of your state. A short-term good thing but it does de-incentivize budgetary reform on the state level.

Energy and Utilities: We’re updating our energy grid, which is good news for anyone who works for a public utility (or wants to). Maybe it’s time to go get an electrician degree from DeVry.

Federal Government: Someone has to administer all these new programs and dispense all this money. This is great, great news for Washington, DC. Not such great news for taxpayers. We’ll be paying more over-inflated salaries for clock-watching bureaucrats and administrators. Too harsh? Sorry, living in DC for 4 years made me realize just how cushy a lot of those government jobs are compared to the kinds of work most of us have.

So, there you have it. If you want to get a chunk of that stimulus, you know what kind of job you should be looking for now.

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