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There’s a risk that the budget battle descends into a race to the bottom to see which party can cut the most. But that is not an inevitability.
Especially because there is very clear contrast to be made on jobs.
Construction industry leaders estimate that the President’s six-year infrastructure plan to invest in creating new high-speed rail systems, upgrading roads and bridges and launching an “infrastructure bank” to forge public-private partnerships would create 15.4 million jobs, with construction jobs only accounting for one-third of the total.
That’s not the only component of the President’s budget that would directly create jobs. He also proposing hiring 100,000 more teachers over 10 years, expanding broadband and investing in clean energy technology. But the wide-ranging infrastructure push would certainly be the biggest job creator.
Compare that to the job creation plans in the House Republican bill to set spending levels for the current fiscal year … of which there are none.
The House Republicans cannot point to any proposal of theirs and claim it would directly create a single job. That is not a matter of debate. That is a literal truth.
They do have proposals that will directly destroy jobs. As many as 65,000 teachers could lose jobs from the Republican education cuts. Cancelled infrastructure projects could lose 25,000 construction jobs. States would not be able to hire as many police officers and firefighters.
Furthermore, the Economic Policy Institute estimates that the overall Republican cuts would reduce GDP by 0.7%, which amounts to a total loss of 700,000 jobs.
Is the President’s plan the ideal on jobs? No. While it is solid on longer-range investments, there could be more immediate stimulus to alleviate the current jobs crisis. And of the course, our current infrastructure needs a whopping $2.2 trillion just to be in good repair, not even considering the need for modernization. There’s far more to do.
But the basic math is impossible to ignore. 15,000,000 jobs versus -700,000 jobs.
That’s the difference between public investment and gutting government. That’s the real debate before the American people.