Re-election could unleash new jobs planEditorial Thursday, September 27th, 2012
“Where are the jobs?” That’s the unabashed clarion cry House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner bellowed upon taking the lectern as speaker in 2011, and it’s the same sad song he sings when, after nearly two years of proposing nary a jobs plan of the Republicans’ own, he needs to appear relevant again. Sure the GOP says it has proposed jobs plans in the House – “hundreds of jobs plans,” in fact. Of course, those were tax-cutting bills with the word “jobs” in their titles.
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama’s American Jobs Act (AJA) has never been brought up for a vote in the House, blocked perpetually by an unmovable Republican majority in that body. Nevertheless, the president’s role as savior or sinker of the economy has been highlighted by 30 consecutive months of private-sector job growth. While a lower unemployment rate of 8.1 percent (down from 8.3 percent) is a reflection of a shrinking labor base, shrinking because people are giving up on finding work, the fact remains, unemployment is down and the private sector has added a total of 4.6 million jobs.
What’s missing from the mix is the one surefire way to rev the economy in a downturn: government work. But hiring is down in government employment settings. In fact, because it has become taboo to do anything that looks like “growing government,” the normally present component of big-government (yes, I said it) projects meant to stimulate (yes, I said that too) job growth have been avoided at all costs. If you’re a Democrat, you can’t give the GOP an example to hold up that, they can say, shows you’re a taxer and spender.
Roosevelt had a way of getting around that, which would work today too. Even today, it would be un-American to oppose the building of an icon such as the Hoover Dam or the Golden Gate Bridge. We need another iconic building project to really ignite job growth. It alone won’t do the job, but it would serve as an umbrella symbol for the AJA – the way the Golden Gate Bridge and Hoover Dam did for the Works Project Administration, giving government investment in jobs creation a good name.
If Obama pulls off re-election, there will be an opening.
The George W. Bush administration-era solution to prevent another Katrina-type disaster in New Orleans was to rebuild, and increase the height of, a stack of rocks, dirt and mortar called the levy. That’s the levy that officials were audibly relieved and outwardly proud of when it held during the recent category 1 hurricane, Isaac. Recall, Katrina was a “5.”
Here’s some inspiration for Obama’s Hoover Dam, his Golden Gate Bridge, pictured above. It’s the Netherland’s Maaslantkering storm surge barrier. New Orleans deserves more than a levy. America deserves more than just private sector jobs in the new economy.
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