Blog post by Gustavo Grad
November 3, 2011
California has plenty of work, with infrastructure bonds that have been sold to cover it—but “the money just sits there,” a recent Los Angeles Times article begins.
According to the article, California Governor Jerry Brown’s administration has $9.1 billion in infrastructure bonds that have been sold and are costing the state roughly $630 million a year in debt payments.
“Gov. Jerry Brown says President Obama should embark on an FDR-type public works program to stimulate the economy. Excellent idea. And Brown should follow his own advice in Sacramento,” writes George Skelton. “… Sounds a lot like bureaucratic inertia. The governor probably needs to kick some butt.”
At the same time, the state of California recently sold $1.8 billion worth of bonds. It is just math, more money, and more interest payments on these loans. But where are the jobs?
California’s unemployment rate is 11.9 percent for September 2011, with 2,152,000 people unemployed, down by 23,000 over the month, and down by 112,000 compared to September last year, according to data from the state’s Employment Development Department.
The question is why we don’t put people to work. According to a Federal Highway Administration formula, 27,800 jobs will be created for every $1 billion spent in construction. Now, multiply the effect on job creation when those workers re-spend their income on consumer goods and services. Sounds expensive?
Now, try the true cost of doing nothing. Not creating jobs is measurable: The US Bureau of Labor Statistics found that for September 2011, the unemployment number remained essentially unchanged at 14 million and 9.1 percent unemployment rate. The true cost of doing nothing is clear when you see the harm that this recession is causing in communities all around the country.
The true cost of doing nothing is astounding: For the current year, the government borrows 46 cents for every dollar spent.
It is time to rise to the challenge. Every era faces a different problem, and every problem offers an opportunity for new solutions. If climate change is our challenge, it is time to find solutions—not with 20th-century recipes but with 21st-century solutions—meaning new infrastructure, clean power, energy efficiency strategies, clean air and water, and creating jobs, jobs, jobs in order to create wealth again.
As Albert Einstein said: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
© 2011 SCGH, LLC.