fresh voices from the front lines of change







It doesn't matter what Friday's report of the March job numbers shows. If you listed our national problems in order of priority and immediacy, jobs has to be at or near the top.

While America's political, media and business elites are all doing fine in their personal situations, much of the rest of the country is not. Here are some things that would add at least 10.8 million jobs to our economy right now.

With more jobs available several things happen:

  • Every job creates jobs, because people are again participating in the economy. Local stores, restaurants, and other businesses are hiring to keep up. People can buy houses, cars, and other goods.
  • When more people are working, wages rise because employers are competing to find people to work for them.
  • Government "safety net" costs go way down because people can afford food, and other necessities.
  • Tax revenue increases because more people are getting wages and other taxable income.
  • People's lives are generally better.

So yes, jobs solve a lot of problems. The thing is, it really isn't hard to do what it takes to create millions and millions of jobs. The problem is that these things are being obstructed by a Republican Party that plans to campaign this fall on complaints that there aren't enough jobs. For example, they are telling people that Democrats can't deliver on their "empty promises" – even though the reason they can't deliver is Republican filibusters in the Senate and Republican leadership in the House refusing to bring bills to the floor for votes.

How To Create Millions Of Jobs

First, there is a budget in front of the Congress right now that creates 4.6 million jobs and boosts gross domestic product (GDP) by 3.8 percent within its first year of implementation. The Congressional Progressive Caucus' (CPC) 2015 budget proposal, called the "Better Off Budget," creates jobs in building and construction industries to repair and modernize our ailing roads, bridges and water infrastructure and provides assistance to states to allow them to hire and rehire public employees such as police, firefighters and health care workers.

It does this right away and "pays for" it with a financial transaction tax that reduces dangerous Wall Street speculation, a higher top tax rate on the wealthiest, closing loopholes that allow the giant multinational corporations pay little or no taxes, and other measures that are very popular with the public.

Every Democrat should vote for this budget when it comes before the House next week.

Another proposal for creating jobs is a national energy-retrofit project that would hire people to go to government and commercial buildings and to residences and simply seal up drafts and paint roofs white. A broader program could install double-paned windows, apply insulation and fix up broken, inefficient heaters and air conditioners (using American-made parts and supplies). This would pay for itself both through the benefits of full employment and the later savings from reduced energy use.

5.8 Million More Jobs

One more simple proposal is to confront countries that manipulate their currencies. According to a report by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), titled "Stop Currency Manipulation and Create Millions of Jobs," the United States could create up to 5.8 million new jobs, reduce our trade deficits by up to $500 billion per year by 2015 and increase U.S. gross domestic product by up to $720 billion per year if we act to end global currency manipulation.

So that's 4.6 million jobs in one year just from passing the CPC "Better Off Budget" and another 5.8 million from confronting currency manipulation. How many more jobs would come from an energy-retrofit program? As many as we need after those two proposals put 10.4 million people to work.

This just shows how simple it would be to create full employment right now, and how it would pay for itself. That is what public investment does. But proposals like these being obstructed by Republicans.

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