Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Detroit JOBS Program

Michigan suffers unemployment of 15%. None of our current stimulus programs are targeted at job creation. If we want to spend money on temporary jobs programs until the economy gets on a roll and creates jobs on its own, let's spend it on 'shovel' projects. Let's just put people to work with a decent wage. That's much better than extending unemployment benefits forever, which is what Congress keeps doing. Pay people to do something, not just sit at home.

Detroit has 80,000 abandoned buildings. Some could be restored if preservationists or investors want to, but a vast majority of them can be razed. Some of these buildings are beautiful but decrepit & unsafe. How many folks in Michigan would apply for jobs using a shovel and some basic machinery to raze those buildings? Set the wage at $10-15/hr, depending on responsibilities, and watch them line up.

This could be criticized as make work, which is valid. This can be ripped for being a temporary fix, which is right. It's a bridge to a recovery that will employ these people in a private manner. What we have done so far is throw money at 'stimulus' that doesn't put folks to work. Wouldn't we rather see the borrowed govt dollars go to the unemployed to do something rather than sit at home? The latest extension of UE benefits, combined with the home buyer tax credit extension will cost $43 billion. I'd rather spend $43 on a project like FDR did that may not have helped long term with employment at least gave us the TVA and other works that we enjoy in the present day.

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