Ok folks, I'm irritated. I've got no time for pleasant chit-chat today. I'm ready to start ranting. Last night while chatting with a conservative blogger he stated that "Government can't create jobs". It's a mantra that I hear frequently. Everybody seems to accept this premise as fact and never takes the time to question or dispute such a ridiculous claim.
The only problem is that this statement is completely false.
Laurence O'Donnell made an inept attempt to dispel this myth with a 15 second rant on MSNBC.
While I certainly appreciate his effort it seems that citing 538 jobs in the House of Representatives and 100 in the Senate is unlikely to resonate with struggling citizens. I personally would applaud creating 638 jobs and then demand more. The basic premise of his argument is much better suited to a Republican candidate telling voters that government is the problem.
The Works Progress Administration has been credited with creating over 3 million government jobs in 1938 alone- while avoiding competition with private firms. 3 million jobs- let that sink into your brain for a second...
Hopefully the size of that number got your attention. I'm not done. It gets better.
The Civilian Conservation Corps is credited with creating over half a million government jobs. While it's amazing that the C.C.C. was able to employ so many job hunters, let's not allow the employment numbers distract us from the great accomplishments of the program. The C.C.C. was crucial in combating the Dust Bowl with re-forestation being successfully used as a tool to prevent further soil erosion of precious farmland. With all of the talk of shovel ready jobs today it's worth noting that it took 37 days after Roosevelt's inauguration to hire the first employee. Yeah, 37 days. That qualifies as shovel ready in my book.
Lets not lose sight of some of the other notable accomplishments of the Americans that chose to invest in their America. Residents of California, Nevada and Arizona should have an enormous sense of gratitude to the United States Bureau of Reclamation- everybody seems to enjoy the drinking water and electricity. The Public Works Administration was responsible for constructing almost 7,500 schools, the Grand Coulee Dam, the Triborough Bridge, The Lincoln Tunnel- I could go on with listing accomplishments all day but if you don't get the idea by now, you won't ever understand.
I'm afraid that if I just think about or mention the multiplier effect I'll go into an epic rant and end up sedated in a padded room.
So what changed? When did investing in America and Americans become taboo? How did building roads and infrastructure become a nefarious socialist plot? Could it be that the wealthiest 20% of Americans that control 85% of the wealth convinced the rest of the nation that taxes are applied unfairly to them (taxes that they see as targeting them personally, not their warehouses of idle money- or is that spelled idol money?) and that is fundamentally un-American? The 20% of Americans that have accumulated the majority of American money warn that taxing their money is un-American and worse; dangerous. After all, they are the job creators- are we really willing to bite the hand that feeds us by taxing their money?
Sometimes I wonder if I am horribly confused. I think that Government can and has created jobs. I think that investing in America is patriotic. I think that investing in Americans is patriotic. I think it's good business sense to strengthen American infrastructure. I might be alone in this but I intend to contradict anybody that claims paying taxes to invest in America is despotic and un-American. I hope that people will at least consider the possibility that Government is indeed, the spender of last resort.