Sep 8, 2008
One out of every ten workers either can’t find a job at all or is working only part-time or on call because no full time, permanent jobs are available.
And the proposals John McCain and Barack Obama made when the latest jobs reports came out were pitiful. Rushing to comment, they criticized each other, but nonetheless proposed remedies that were remarkably similar.
In the short term, they both would provide another “stimulus” package like the one Bush pushed through. That didn’t work so well!
In the long run, they would give more tax breaks and subsidies to the big corporations, pretending that corporations will use the money to create jobs. And that’s been done many times before – the money was given, but the jobs weren’t created.
Why shouldn’t government take that same money, but use it to create jobs directly?
There certainly are plenty of things that need to be done. If every rotting bridge were to be repaired or replaced, if every broken-up road made driveable again, millions of people could be put to work, just making those repairs. And that’s only the beginning of work that needs to be done – work that would launch many millions of jobs.
Dams need to be repaired. Five% of all dams in the country are so unsafe they could collapse without further warning – according to the American Society of Civil Engineers. And this doesn’t take into account the levees all up and down the Mississippi River system.
There are almost 50 million students in public schools – and most of them study in schools that are substandard, crowded or even unsafe. And with the number of pupils increasing by over a third of a million every year, tens of thousands new schools are needed, just to catch up.
Playgrounds, parks and rec centers need to be cleaned up, expanded, opened up, added to.
Tens of thousands of clinics and people to staff them are needed – just to take care of all those people without medical coverage today.
High speed rail trains with far-flung networks are needed – so we wouldn’t have to waste all our time getting to work.
With all those things that need to be built or established or run or repaired, there is no reason for any person to be without work. If government – which today uses the money it takes from us to increase corporate profits – if government were to put that money to work creatively, there would be no shortage of jobs. There would be a shortage of labor.
Vast public works programs have been carried out before – during periods when the working class mobilized to fight so that its interests were addressed.
The working people of this country already know what’s wrong, what needs to be fixed, what’s about to fall down, what’s missing, what should be added. It doesn’t take a ten year study to figure it out.
All it requires is the will to start working on it. What’s required is a government that puts the interests of the population before the interests of the wealthy who have lived off government handouts for years.
But that’s exactly what neither party has done, and what neither Obama nor McCain is proposing to do today.
We won’t get the jobs we need by waiting for one of them to get elected. But if we start putting our demands forward now, whoever gets elected can be forced to answer.