What I Told the New York Times about Jobs

The Times had a few writers debate how best to help those in their ‘50’s who have lost their jobs.  One writer, Lisa Lynch of Brandeis University’s Heller School for Social Policy and Management (yeah, that’s it’s name), had an article “We Need to Create Jobs, Period”.  However all she called for was a “sensible policy for job creation” without any specifics.

In the comments section I wrote the words below (and then had to trim out a third to get under maximum size):

 A “sensible jobs policy” would have the government spend several trillion dollars to create and finance jobs directly:  federal jobs, worker cooperatives, and U.S. takeovers of carbon polluting enterprises (fossil fuel and auto companies).   The projects should be obvious.  We should realize we are in the midst of an international emergency because of the threat of disastrous climate change.   It’s not just McKibben and Hansen who are sounding the warning.  Even the (pro-business) International Energy Agency says we have just a few years to make drastic changes in energy use or else face rapid and untenable world temperature increases. 

 We need a crash program to wean the economy away from unrestrained pillaging and burning of fossil fuels.  We need to vastly increase solar and wind industries.  We need to rethink transport, making it more expensive to travel to reflect its true carbon costs.  We need to figure out how increase rail travel and decrease auto and air.  We need a new generation of economists, money managers and administrators who will concern themselves with planning out sustainable growth rather than the manipulation of money for the benefit of the 1%.

 We also need to train and employ a large pool of emergency workers to deal with the results of the “Mega” and “Super” storms that are constantly engulfing us.  We need employ tens of thousands of others to dismantle inherently dangerous nuclear power plants and to serve as eternal guards for the nuclear waste that we’ve mindlessly created.   We need to design new local economies for communities that have been destroyed by engulf and devour industrialization from  Camden, New Jersey, and Detroit, Michigan to the hollers of West Virginia and to the “reservations” of  Pine Ridge and the other mineral-looted Indian lands.

 The need is there, the willingness to work is there, the resources and the technology are there.   What’s lacking is the imagination and guts to reject the ossified thinking that can only debate whether it’s better to totally pamper or merely to stimulate the already engorged in the vain hope they will spend their trillions to open enterprises to produce products for which there is no demand.

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