Transportation Bill: Rebuilding America’s Infrastructure Will Improve the Economy

 
 

Transportation Bill: Rebuilding America’s Infrastructure Will Improve the Economy

Most of us would agree that our infrastructure is crumbling, with bridges and roads, sewer systems, and our electric gird is falling apart all across the country.

No one would argue against the fact the country need jobs. We not only need jobs but we need a huge amount of jobs to get the economy moving in a faster pace.  Our president, Barack Obama handed Congress a jobs bill back in September.This jobs bill called the American Jobs Act would have provided up to a million jobs through infrastructure jobs to rebuild roads and bridges and repair crumbling public schools, along with tax cuts for businesses for hiring and layoff prevention for public workers such as teachers, firefighters and police officers.

As almost all bills handed to Congress by the Obama administration, it never got past the Senate because of Republicans desire to block everything this president tries to do, even as they blame him for not succeeding in job creation.

The economy is not hurting because big corporations don’t have enough money but because consumers don’t have enough money. It would seem common sense would prevail and our lawmakers would realize that if we wish to jump-start the economy, then we need to put more money into consumer’s pockets so that they will begin to spend again. And, there is no better way to put money into consumer’s pockets than to put them back to work.

There is nothing that would turn this country around more significantly than a big jobs program. It doesn’t matter if it’s government jobs or private sector jobs. The reason is because government employees spend money the same as private sector employees. The American Jobs Act that the Obama administration tried passing would have provided jobs in both government and in the private sector.

All eyes have been on Europe and the austerity measures that are being implemented there. Fareed Zakaria, CNN contributor and foreign policy analyst makes the point clearly.

“The larger failure, shared across Europe, has been too much austerity” Says Zakaria.

“Consider that data we started with. The U.S. economy, which received monetary and fiscal stimulus, will grow at well over 2% this year. European economies that have followed the path of cutting spending and raising taxes to reduce deficits are finding themselves in a downward spiral: cutting spending means laying off people, which means less demand for goods and services, which means the economy shrinks, which – ironically – means lower tax revenues and thus larger budget deficits.”

I think Mr. Zakaria like I, understand that for an economy to grow, there has to be spending. And if the private sector will not or cannot spur spending in some way, then it’s up to the government to do so. We as a country risk going the same way as Europe if we sit on our laurels and allow the gridlock in Washington and the fervent desire to make Obama a one-term president keep us from putting Americans back to work fixing our ailing infrastructure.

There is hope; Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Jim Inhofe (R-OK) has delivered a proposal for a transportation bill to the House of Representatives. This bill would provide an estimated 2.9 million jobs which would be a big shot in the arm for the nation’s economy.

Now the question remains if the House will take up the bill, and if so – support it with a bipartisan vote. I have no question most Democrats will be onboard but I’m not sure if House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) can get his non-compromising Tea Party committed to a yes vote.

This would suggest to me that what we really need is a Congress that has a real desire to work together and do what it takes to fix the economy and put the American people’s interest ahead of powerful lobbyist in Washington who seems to have more sway over our elected leaders than a majority of Americans.

With a real jobs program there’s a good chance that the United States could overcome the financial crisis in Europe. We can’t stop from being affected by it but we can do something to counteract that affect.

This is a chance for Congress to show that it can get past its gridlock and strife and do something worthwhile before there is a new congress in town. I also believe that if the House of Representatives can’t or won’t pass, or at least amend and pass this Transportation bill, then American voters should go to the polls in November and vote out those who stood in the way.

 

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