There is a way for the government to spend money to create jobs that won’t increase the budget deficit for years to come. The money should be spent on labor-intensive projects that will save the government money in the years to come.
The most obvious case for this is spending on projects to improve the energy efficiency of government-owned buildings. If the government can spend $2,000,000 on improvements in one building that will reduce the energy bill for the building by $250,000 a year, then that is a plausible investment to begin with. At a time like this, when the spending can also immediately reduce the government’s costs for unemployment benefits, it is an investment with an impressive rate of return.
Repeat this thousands of times on similar projects, and the government can create the jobs that are needed now while cutting its own costs going forward.