Rescue Package for Jobless Americans

There are rumblings in Washington of legislation to jumpstart the U.S. economy through a targeted jobs creation bill focused on expanding public service employment.

Such a program could mean the creation of millions of new jobs and a dawn to this historic jobs crisis that, since December 2007, has created midnight in America.

More than 30 million Americans – including those forced to work part-time and those who have been unemployed so long, they’ve simply given up on trying to find work – currently fill the ranks of the jobless. And so far, none of the proposals currently being considered by Congress and the White House to date possess the bold, hard-hitting policies needed to pull this country out of such widespread, profound joblessness.

The IAM’s solution has always been JOBS Now! – a second stimulus package to be used in the creation of a 21 st century version of Franklin Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration, focused on revitalizing America’s manufacturing and transportation sectors.

“Today’s unemployed can be put to work renovating factories and installing new equipment; devising new financing, marketing and sales packages for local businesses; and reinventing our decaying skills-delivery system,” wrote IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger in an op-ed featured in the Chicago Tribune, on February 8, 2009. “Letting counties and local communities hire the unemployed with federal dollars and improve their global competitiveness can jump-start depressed local economies. JOBS Now! will ignite the long-term growth and sustained job creation that our nation so desperately needs.”

New research by the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research proves that no jobs recovery plan can create the amount of necessary growth without the inclusion of an expansion in public service employment.

“To restore employment conditions to prerecession levels, the economy would need an additional 10.7 million jobs,” reads the Proposal for Early Impact, Persistent, and Cost-Effective Job Creation Policies report. “If we are to sufficiently address these needs without overly adding to the budget deficit, we need to make job creation a central goal of a new fiscal stimulus package. A possible stimulus package targeted only at job creation could include three components: 1) tax credits for employers creating jobs, 2) payments to employers for work sharing, and 3) public service job creation.”

The Upjohn Institute estimates such a package could begin to address the jobs crisis immediately, creating 5 million jobs in 2010 and 4 million in 2011 – filling a little less than half of the expected jobs deficit in each year, with a gross cost of only one-third of the $787 billion stimulus package passed last year.

“If Washington is serious about helping Main Street and pulling this country out of the depths of this Grave Recession,” Buffenbarger says, “policymakers will support JOBS Now! and put Americans back to work immediately.”