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The New York Times editorializes on the need for a strong focus on jobs:
By a large margin, Americans have told pollsters that job creation is more important than budget cuts. Yet Republican leaders are wedded to austerity and appear to think that high unemployment will hurt President Obama politically more than it will hurt them, so they will likely resist efforts to create jobs, no matter how great the need.

Without more jobs, both the economy and the budget will deteriorate further. It is past time for Mr. Obama to send a jobs plan to Congress that has popular appeal, one that he can use to try to shame Republicans. He will need cooperation from the Senate, which should bring one jobs-related bill after another to the floor, forcing its members to approve jobs initiatives or go on the record to show that they just don’t care.

The editorial focuses on one particular proposed jobs program: Fix America's Schools Today (FAST). Put together by Mary Filardo of the 21st Century School Fund, Jared Bernstein of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and Ross Eisenbrey of the Economic Policy Institute, FAST (PDF) points to the maintenance and repair needs of our aging school buildings, which are on average 40 years old, and how that dovetails with job creation:

A national project to address this backlog could create hundreds of thousands of jobs, including jobs for construction workers, building technicians, boiler repairmen, electrical workers, roofers, plumbers, glaziers, painters, plasterers, laborers, and tile setters. It could also lead to the direct hire of building maintenance workers to help slow or prevent the deterioration of buildings and building systems, while generating new savings through energy conservation.

Construction and building repair generally create 9,000‒10,000 jobs per billion dollars spent. Eliminating even half of the entire backlog and improvements could eventually create more than two million jobs, over a period of years. Addressing even one-tenth of the needed improvements could immediately create half a million jobs.

These repair needs are highly scalable and labor-intensive, as Jared Bernstein points out, and many are shovel-ready. It's a win-win-win: Kids no longer go to school in buildings plagued by mold, asbestos and lead in water; much-needed jobs are created; and many repairs would increase energy and water efficiency. It's an incredibly efficient and worthy use of government money, and one that will inject money into local economies around the country.

To comply with PAYGO, the FAST authors suggest eliminating fossil fuel preferences.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 11:34 AM PDT.

Also republished by ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, In Support of Labor and Unions, and Progressive Hippie.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Precisely the rationale behind Oregon Governor (3+ / 0-)

    Kitzhaber's "Cool Schools" initiative.

    Governor Kitzhaber estimates that every $1 million invested in schools will yield 10 to 15 construction jobs, which -- if true -- for projects that improve schools while lowering energy costs, is a pretty good deal.

  •  Isn't today's big labor story... (0+ / 0-)

    ...the announcement that BCTD AFL-CIO is going to stand back from 2012 Democratic Convention, because of the anti-union laws of North Carolina and the Obama campaign's obliviousness to labor concerns about things like this?

  •  You want to create jobs and help education? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    David Kaib

    Provide funding to hire teachers.

    There are so many teachers out of work right now that if Obama wanted to create real jobs that immediately helped education, he could help state and local governments hit hard by funding shortfalls that have resulted in across the board cuts to education. This has directly led to local school districts raising class sizes and cutting teaching positions.

    This is hurting students The curriculum has narrowed. Opportunities for students have been lost. Special needs students are losing teaching aides and special education teachers are being cut. Class sizes are rising.

    My wife is a special education teacher. She can't find a job as every district around here is cutting positions.

    Imagination is more important than knowledge. Albert Einstein

    by michael in chicago on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 02:45:36 PM PDT

  •  Thx for this! I'm linking to it on FB (0+ / 0-)

    Many of my friends are low-information Democratic voters who are completely unware of this initiative. I will make a concerted effort to spread the word by posting a link to this article on my Facebook page.

    We need to spread the word on this proposal. It's far too important and absolutely vital to our economy.

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