Thursday, August 21, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Stimulus trifecta

So what's the point of this stimulus-funded job subsidy program? (WorkPays in New Jersey and Way to Work in Pennsylvania) Obviously, for people who are out of work, or on welfare, the point is decent-paying job. Naturally, a worker with money can spend it on food, clothes and other wants and needs, stimulating the economy. But I'm gunning for a trifecta of stimulus -- one in which the business is stimulated to grow and by growing stimulates other businesses.

Stimulus trifecta

So what's the point of this stimulus-funded job subsidy program? (WorkPays in New Jersey and Way to Work in Pennsylvania.) Obviously, for people who are out of work, or on welfare, the point is a decent-paying job. Naturally, a worker with money can spend it on food, clothes and other wants and needs, stimulating the economy. But I'm gunning for a trifecta of stimulus -- one in which the business is stimulated to grow and by growing stimulates other businesses.

Take, for example, the modest story of Gina Seagrave, who owns 1st Class Laundy LLC in Glassboro's Doubletree Shopping Center. As I wrote in Tuesday's Philadelphia Inquirer, she was just about to hire a new attendant and had even selected someone who was on welfare to join her tiny business. But then, the applicant let Seagrave know about the WorkPays program. Because WorkPays is covering the salary for the new worker, Seagrave was able to use the money to buy (albeit second-hand) a triple-loader washer, a must-have in the world of laundromats. By doing so, she strengthened the survivability of her business, providing more stability to herself and her employees. She also stimulated the economy of the retiring laundromat owner who was selling the equipment. He went into his retirement with a better ability to purchase goods and services. 

A great example happened in Tennessee. I wrote about this a few months ago. A couple with big ambitions bought a local bakery. Because the couple was able to bring on subsidized help for manufacturing, delivery and sales, they could spend money on improving the bakery's equipment and expanding its fleet. Now their market is nearly half the state and the majority of the people will remain employed when the program ends. So there's the trifecta. The new employees, who had been laid off, gained paychecks, stimulating the local consumer economy. The couple's purchase of new machinery and a truck meant that a manufacturer benefited, and helped the manufacturer keep its staff employed. And the business itself was stimulated leading to continued employment.

If anyone is using this program in an interesting way, please let me know. Or, if you've got complaints, also let me know. 

Jane M. Von Bergen Inquirer Staff Writer
About this blog

Jobbing covers the workplace – employment, unemployment, management, unions, legal issues, labor economics, benefits, work-life balance, workforce development, trends and profiles.

Jane M. Von Bergen writes about workplace issues for the Inquirer.

Married to a photographer she met at her college newspaper, Von Bergen has been a reporter since fourth grade, covering education, government, retailing, courts, marketing and business. “I love the specific detail that tells the story,” she says.

Reach Jane M. at jvonbergen@phillynews.com.

Jane M. Von Bergen Inquirer Staff Writer
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