Six out of ten professed Republican Tea Party Conservatives now would rather emphasize a focus on the economy over the spate of recent Washington Beltway Scandals. Just shy of nine out of ten Democrats want that same focus. Just why are politicians from President Obama to Congressional Democrats and especially House Repblicans ignoring the obvious bi-partisan, dare we say unabashedly American, support for jobs and economic development and growth?
Wall Street, great world-wide corporations still headquartered in the United States and the one percent of course couldn’t care less. Why? Well of course they already have more than what they need by the present state of affairs–the old status quo ante. The Stock Market has never been more profitable in its entire history. Corporate profits have been running at record levels since 2010. And the top one percent of Americans in terms of income have, well, enough money to live well and not have to worry about their next meal or paying the rent.
But if you are are regular guy or gal who is out of work, is working but in a job that doesn’t pay much and is a dead end, or the owner of a small business struggling to find customers you know how important re-focusing on jobs is. The monied interests in this country are creating millions of new jobs but fully two thirds of them are being created outside the United States. It’s not important why but more important as a bare knuckled fact confronted by working Americans of all parties, views, and situations both in and beneath the once vaunted middle class.
And worst of all is the fact that our National Security, and our ability to compete economically in the world–even the very quality of life in America is directly impacted by the inability of our political leaders to focus on what we want focused on.–jobs. The nation has shed over 600,000 public sector jobs in the last three years. Unemployment has come down from just under ten percent in 2010 to 7.5% today. But we know some people have given up looking for work and our not included on those figures. And we know that most of us earn less yet work harder and even smarter now than we ever have before. The United States is now a nation where your children will be less well off than you have been unless of course you are in the top one percent of income earners. Between 2002 and 2010 99% of income growth went to one in a hundred of us. And this economic reality is no respecter of political party or how staunch you are about gun rights, or female reproductive rights.
When you give a man or woman a job you give them a higher sense of dignity and self-worth. Oh yeah, you take somebody off unemployment insurance or welfare. Many will still be on food stamps as wages have fallen considerably in the last ten years and have been stagnant for most of us the last thirty years. Note how we are not making a partisan argument here at all but an American one.
Struggles for Justice loudly declares that now is the time to rebuild America. And we all get to do it together. Democrats or Republicans alone can’t do it. It is going to take all of us. And the national interest of the United States (just in case you are the least bit patriotic) demands it.
Interest rates hovering in the last year and likely to remain their for a while are at just 2%. That means money borrowed by the U.S. Government now for all sorts of physical and human infrastructure modernization and improvement that is sorely needed and long overdue will cost us less if we act now. Why wait until our infrastructure has progressively crumbled around us and interest rates have doubled costing us more to borrow and get things done that need doing. Factually we have the cash. We’ve done a great deal of budget cutting and deficit management since 2010.
The Power Grid: The U.S. power grid is not only ridiculously outdated and a patchwork of fixes but we are increasingly vulnerable to foreign nations or terrorists hacking into it and turning our nation off and swtiching off the lights on us all. Our power plants of all kinds need modernizing both for more power but safer and more environmentally sound power too!
Bridges and Roads: Thousands of bridges you and your family depend on every day are rated “deficient” meaning there will certainly be more bridge collapses and deaths in our collective future. It is not a political argument but simply the factual reality of where these structures are at. The American Association of Civil Engineers gives our bridge and road net a D+. If you are a businessman or woman you know that a nation cannot compete nationally or internationally with such a deteriorating infrastructure.
Housing and Public Buildings: With interest rates so low it really makes sense to build. The Housing industry has not been this good since the collapse of 2008-09. Our airports, train stations, and so many county and municipal buildings need a facelift or entirely new structures. Families want to own a house of their own. Let’s get to work on that! Foreign nations have airports and train stations far better in both design, modernity, but most importantly functionality which translates into national economic competitivness.
Transportation Networks: We have a good interstate highway system in the United States that just needs repairs. But as fossil fuel energy gets more expensive–and it will just as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow–incidently another energy source. A dwindling supply of fossil fuels even with shale oil projects and natural gas exploration sees the now almost two deccade trend toward higher energy prices for gasoline, fuel oil, natural gas and electricity is going to make mass transit critical to moving people and goods where we want them moved and as fast and safe as we can move them and at lower cost. France has trains that hit 350 mph. an hour and cover much of the nation. Yes the French! Our rail system, though still extensive, is badly outmoded and really dates from a 1950’s technology. Speed trains that can carry both people and goods on long rides to supplement our system of air travel is urgently needed.
Education and Research: The United States is 32nd in the mathmatics skills of its children. Overall, our educational system struggles to stay in the top fifteen. We still have the best system of higher education anywhere and our scientists are still very good. The diversion of a lot of public money to tax cuts for corporations and for tax payers we’ll assume to be a good thing. But Struggles for Justice must tell you that a lot of this money is being sucked out of education and rearch and technology. If we are going to create the jobs of the future and not those strictly of the mid 20th Century we’re going to have to put more money and not less into our entire public educational system for Head Start to Graduate School Ph.D. programs at our public universities. With such low interest rates and programs for college students to benefit from the government handling school loans we ought to be increasing student help with tuition for college and getting more American kids into top notch state-of-the-art Technical School programs and the best colleges and universities. And one in four of our recent college grads should not be doing work that does not require a college degree. What that tells you is that the jobs they are trained for are just not out there in the numbers required or they are just well, not out there. They must be.
What all this leads to is demand for workers in just about every area you can imagine. Well trained workers currently unemployed or underemployed can spring into action and snap up jobs. When we get America back to work finally the demand for goods and services will climb quickly and noticeably. It is profitable to working Americans, small and large business alike here in the States to do these things. Government must provide the impetus for most of this. The private sector cannot act with the breadth, depth, and decision that the public sector can. We all want government to be responsive to us and not larger than necessary. But government, especially at the national level must be put to work getting our nation and most of its people back on their feet. This should have been done back in 2010 and 2011 when President Obama put out a $400 billion infrastructure jobs package and Republicans obstructed all of it. That is a fact. Why not have the Federal Government lead the way on all of these things and then let business carry the ball from there. Let’s modernize and increase the competitive quality of our entire economy. Let everyone benefit.
John Boehner and Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan and a host of Republicans have cried “Where are the jobs?” since 2010. But since then the House of Representatives has voted 38 times to repeal Obamacare. That bears little or no relation to what has been outlined here. And President Obama and most Democrats have not insisted strongly enough that we do in fact pursue jobs and the total facelift of our 20th Century Economy in a 21st Century world. Yes. Give a man or woman a job: that’s what moves America.