Democracy Soup

Making sense out of the world of politics

Democratic politicians can increase job growth, including their own, by rebuilding infrastructure

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Okay, so infrastructure isn’t an exciting topic, especially in the doldrums of August and now into early September. But chances are at some point this summer, or very very soon, you will travel on an interstate highway.

Interstate highways are samples of infrastructure, samples we enjoy almost every day. But we have many more infrastructure problems and solutions — we haven’t even tapped the surface of what we could do.

We have a problem with a solution, yet we aren’t taking advantage. The housing market has dried up, and there isn’t much demand for new office space. So we have people who build structures looking for work, and we have infrastructure problems. Why isn’t this a perfect match?

There is some construction, fixing of roads, but this isn’t enough and it’s short-sighted. We could be rebuilding bridges and building components for high speed rail trains. We could be building new and updated public transit systems in our major cities.

We aren’t building enough cars, yet those same unemployed people could be building trains for those transit systems.

Others could be working on improving electrical systems. I remember writing about these when Hawai’i had problems while President-elect Obama was vacationing there in late 2008. And those who lived in Kentucky remember the electrical problems after the ice storms hit in the winter of 2009.

We have insane unemployment, and unlike the 1930s, these infrastructure jobs wouldn’t be busy work: we really need the work done that needs to be done.

When Barack Obama took office in January 2009, there was hope on the left that Obama was learn the lessons of Franklin D. Roosevelt and implement job programs to rebuild this country. That hope wasn’t there from the right, but a lot of those teabaggers would have financially benefited if Obama had gone that route.

This isn’t to say that the racist tendencies of some of the teabaggers would have magically disappeared; even if a black president helps give a racist a job, that doesn’t mean the racist will change its stripes.

But part of why the Republican areas of the country — the South and parts of the West — feel the way they do toward Democratic politicians (regardless of color) is that they feel ignored. True they’ve been ignored by Republican politicians, but Republicans pander to their insecurities.

As poor as the people are who live in the blue states don’t understand how good they’ve had it compared to the South. I remember clearly the maximum amount in Mississippi for unemployment when I wrote about it: $230/week. That’s poor, especially since Southern states make it harder to qualify for unemployment, and $230 is the MOST you can make.

Those without jobs have left “frustrated” a long time ago. Yes, Democratic politicians have done a lot for people looking for work. And Republican politicians have said “no” more often than offer actual help.

But Democratic politicians, especially those worried about their jobs, could have done way more to help. The United States has lost its perspective on infrastructure. China is kicking our butt; Spain is too.

Americans are tired of rebuilding countries we’ll never visit (Iraq, Afghanistan). We want the government of the United States to rebuild the United States. The Democratic politicians, Obama included, should learn that rebuilding our infrastructure is a non-partisan issue, and could woo those Independents to vote Democratic. If for nothing else, they should start rebuilding this country because it’s the right thing to do. But if it will help score some political points, well that is the whipped cream and icing all in one.


Written by democracysoup

September 3, 2010 at 8:05 am

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