Friday, March 26, 2010

Jobs Jobs!

“The cold truth of the matter…is that there’s not much Washington can do to gin up permanent jobs in such short notice…The great American job machine always has been and will continue to be private enterprise.”

Barbara Kiviat, “How to Create a Job,” Time, March 29, 2010

And yet politicians dither. I suspect that health care reform, energy R&D, infrastructure and financial reregulation will be the generator of new, permanent jobs in the long run. But the short-run should be more than tax giveaways that will not produce jobs or hiring.

We still have the opportunity to create more public jobs--for a diversity of the unemployed. I know a few unemployed college graduates and stay-at home moms who have reentered the labor force with part-time work at the Census – one of best short-term public jobs. But it’s not taken full advantage of as workforce development: training is arcane at best and poorly connected to the broader world of work.

Local governments are creating jobs for a range of public works projects from weatherization to food stamp application processors and to urban forestry.
The feds could put some money and direction on the table to make this crazy quilt of public jobs add up to something while the long term works its way out.

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