How Would You Put Americans Back to Work?

First and foremost, pay no attention to the gyrations of the stock market. The nation is still hurting, and a big reason is that not enough people have been able to find work. Consider this. In December of 2007, just two years ago, there were 1.7 applicants for every available job. Last month, that number jumped to 6.1.

The House is currently trying to figure out what to do about this. Those people who elected Barack Obama and gave both the House and Senate Democratic majorities are getting antsy. That’s not a good place to be with midterm elections on the horizon. But what to do?

There are a number of proposals on the table. Some lawmakers want to see a second stimulus enacted. Trouble is, no one, least of all the White House, sems to know how many jobs were really created or maintained from the last one. You can probably count a second stimulus as DOA, at least for now.

There are calls for some type of incentive for employers to hire new people. They range from a tax credit, to government funding of health benefits, to a straight payment of up to $3000 to any employer who hires new workers. Congress backed away from these incentives when they were brought up before because they worried employers would game the system (who, those capiatins of free enterprise? Never!!!).

Still others want to see some form of government make woprk program similar to the WPA or CCC during the Great Depression. Cost would be a big impediment here. Moderate Democrats would have the same objections they had to healthcare reform. And the Republicans? Suffice to say that anything that they see as hurting President Obama, like high unemployment, is a good thing.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is urging caution, even in the face of mounting pressure to get something done. To pay for jobs creation, some have argued for using unspent financial bailout money, while others say new fees on securities transactions would make Wall St. foot at least part of the bill.

While out and out jobs creation sounds wonderful, Democrats in both houses of Congress have to be mindful of the political minefield any proposal would have to navigate. So as the House leadership takes its time in coming up with a plan, they must also balance fiscal prudence with an urgent need to act. Fewer and fewer Americans are buying the notion of a recovery, either now or in the near future.

So what would you do to put the unemployed back to work?

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One thought on “How Would You Put Americans Back to Work?”

  1. I would get the best brains, with some knowledge and experience, from a couple of progressive fields, historians like Howard Zinn and develop a plan with a receptive person or two in the White House. I’d include taking a look at how other countries have successfully and presently successfully do government work programs that are real. It’s not rocket science nor brain surgery (to play with some current phrases). I would like to learn, but I don’t have to write the plan. I’d like a chance to comment and make suggestions, as an American with some years of life and experience. I’d surely make sure that disabled workers are given jobs, and that it be diverse racially, ethnically, geographically, etc.

    Taking your own advice in re singlepayer, I wouldn’t start from a “watered down” position. I do not start from a position of what would Congress (D or R) want.

    And I’d ask the people in the cities, the rural areas, the towns, what they’d like. Why not? The drat bankers, Wall St. got their wishlists (on our trillions of dollars).

    Cost? Make the link between military spending and money available for work programs (wars, occupations, bases in over a hundred countries – see TomDispatch dot com and writing by Chalmers Johnson “The Sorrows of Empire”, and the book before it, “Blowback” and the one after it, “Nemesis”.

    Michio Kaku, nuclear physicist once made the point on radio
    WBAI (yes, there’s been a coup, see http://www.takebackwbai.org) that military spending is “dead end” (my word, not his). He was pointing out that military spending does not create a round of money going forward into the economy.

    As you have mentioned, Mr. Mark Riley, in earlier postings, green jobs are a way to create real jobs and improve the economy and the future ecologically. Infrastructure in the US is a mess. Jobs in infrastructure.

    The money given so far, in this administration, for building jobs and green economy hasn’t gone far. The New Deal was broad and WORKED. Start googling “Howard Zinn” folks. He made suggestions at the time of the first bank bail outs in Sept. 2008.

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