Among the other unforced errors in government jobs policies today is the inexplicable neglect of the nation's infrastructure needs. We could create between 1.5 and 1.8 million new jobs by 2020 by investing an additional $150 to $180 billion in infrastructure each year.
Every dollar spent building roads, bridges and other infrastructure projects adds about $1.80 to GDP. Meanwhile, a dollar of corporate tax cuts contributes just $0.40 to the economy.
Further, 90 percent of the jobs directly created by infrastructure spending pay wages that fall in the middle of the income distribution.
This investment doesn't just affect today's economy. Investments in transportation, broadband, and utilities infrastructure are critical to future growth and long-term sustainability. A public spending package would provide much needed upgrades to our roads, highways, railways, and bridges, which have declined to a state of disrepair as federal spending on infrastructure as a percentage of GDP has fllen by 50 percent since the 1960s.
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2007—How to Spend a Billion Dollars:
|For the 2008 cycle, the presidential candidates are expected to raise and spend a billion dollars in pursuit of the White House, and—based on the recent numbers—well more than half of that money will be spent by Democrats. While that number screams of the need to reform our system of elections, it also shows an unmatched opportunity to change the game in a more fundamental way. Democrats have already shown they're capable of making better use of the Internet than their counterparts on the right, but most of that money is likely to end up going into the bottomless maw of the traditional media.
Face it, there really is such a thing as media saturation. The second flyer from a candidate is less effective than the first. The third commercial less noticeable than the second. The fourth visit from volunteers is more irritation than enticement. The fifth phone call is more likely to generate rage than a positive response. There really is a point of diminishing returns, and it takes far less than the kind of numbers being tossed around this season to get there. A hundred million dollar campaign may be more effective than a ten million dollar effort, but it's far from ten times as effective. At some point, each dollar pushed into a traditional media effort is about as effective as construction funding in Iraq.
Besides, if the Democratic candidates spend their millions on traditional advertising, much of that money will be going back to media conglomerates who want their campaigns to fail. Democratic dollars will flow into the pockets of CEOs who will be on the "Ranger" list for the Republican candidates. Democratic funds donated by millions of contributors, will end up as commercials that pay the salaries of Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck, and Rush Limbaugh.
I'd like to propose that Democratic candidates for president demonstrate their boldness by taking a different approach to their campaign spending this year. I want them to give it away. Not all of it, mind you. Just 10%.
On today's Kagro in the Morning show, everybody's in disarray! Angus King suggests he'd caucus with Republicans. Greg Dworkin joins us to discuss that, House Gop rumblings against Boehner (again), and wider conservative rumblings against Jeb Bush. He briefly touches on new discoveries in the Christie whitewash report before falling victim to yet more tech troubles. (We'll return to that in the future!) We finally look at the provocatively titled "Meet The Google Engineer And Occupy Wall Street Organizer Who Wants Silicon Valley To Run The Country." And from David Sirota, the growing trend in outright corporate purchase of newspapers.