It's not hard to understand that jobs lubricate the economy. Give a person a good, steady job, with decent pay and the country will prosper.
President-elect Barack Obama has promised that the economy will be his first order of business after the inauguration.
He appears to be leaning in the direction that President Franklin D. Roosevelt took after the Great Depression of 1929. FDR created the Works Program Administration (WPA) and put millions of unemployed people to work building and rebuilding America.
However, creating public works jobs will very likely be met with much opposition from the various unions that today defend their fields with the ferocity of a mother lion guarding her cubs.
Construction and civil service unions are well-organized and could easily view any intrusion of non-union workers as a threat to their own jobs. Just how Presidentelect Obama will finesse this dilemma bears watching.
It's obvious that infrastructures in many of the large cities are in dire need of help. Bridges need constant attention—maintenance that has been sorely lacking for years. In some cases, the real remedy would mean replacement of the existing structure.
One case in point involves the Goethals Bridge connecting Staten Island and New Jersey. Appearances aside, this span, which was designed as a shorter version of the Outerbridge Crossing and opened to traffic in 1928, is an insult to any driver and even seems dangerous.
Why another bridge hasn't been built is beyond logic. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey should be ashamed to have the name of the Panama Canal's designer on such a decrepit collection of steel.
In 2007 a bridge collapsed in Minnesota killing a number of people. How many more spans are on the brink of disaster? There are probably years of work available under a public works program.
Another problem may be convincing people who have spent years—and small fortunes—furthering their education to take a pick and shovel into their hands for the digging of ditches.
Not that there is anything wrong with physical labor, especially if the pay is good and if there are medical benefits for a family.
Everything done during the 1930s was not all about public works jobs. There were some spectacular projects like the Hoover Dam, the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building, to name a few.
But nothing would do as much for the economy as bringing back some of the manufacturing jobs and the employment they produce.
One other benefit would be the pride of buying something that is marked "Made in the USA."
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