It Is Time

Cross-posted from Working America’s Main Street blog.

Right again, Mr. Herbert:

With the marathon effort to overhaul the health care system behind us, it is time for the Obama administration to move quickly and powerfully to the monumental task of putting Americans back to work.

Bob Herbert’s column today, titled The Magic Potion, is worth a full read. But here are some snips:

The just-say-no crowd will insist that we can’t afford a real effort to revitalize employment, that budget deficits are too high, that the economy will recover without additional government stimulus, that the president has used up most of his political capital, and that there isn’t much that government can do under any circumstances to create jobs.

– snip –

The recession is not over for the nearly 15 million people who are unemployed. Many of them have been out of work for longer than six months, a seeming eternity. Widespread joblessness and underemployment are threatening to become permanent features of the American landscape, corroding not just our standards of living but the very vibrancy of the American way of life.

– snip –

You can’t get back to a robust economy without putting Americans back to work. The economy needs to be rebuilt on a solid foundation of good jobs at good pay, and many of those jobs will have to come from thriving new industries. This is a long-term project that demands big-time government involvement. It will require the kind of commitment — over an even longer period of time — that President Obama and the Democrats in Congress gave to their health care initiative.

– snip –

What is needed are bold new initiatives on several fronts.

– snip –

The United States is a rich nation. To say that we cannot afford to do the things necessary to shore up the quality of our lives and establish a brighter future for coming generations is absurd. We always seem to have money for warfare and to bolster the interests of the monied classes.

One specific jobs plan Mr. Herbert does not mention is the Local Jobs for America Act introduced by Rep. George Miller (D-CA), the chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, which would immediately support one million public and private sector local jobs. Perhaps Chairman Miller should give Mr. Herbert a phone call on it — I’d imagine he’d be rather receptive.

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