Killing Public Works

Slashing Public Works Programs

Last week a study was released showing that job websites still have many open positions, and new opportunities are posted daily in record numbers. While its encouraging to know that people with resumes still have opportunities, this doesn’t necessarily bode well for the millions of American’s with jobs that aren’t administrative in nature. It’s tough to tell exactly how many of these were newly created positions, but chances are most of these positions are replacement opportunities, replacing someone who was fired or left. The fact remains that 8.8% of our workforce is unemployed and that doesn’t account for people who have been out of work for so long they don’t constitute the workforce anymore. Corporations are sending more jobs overseas, and technological advances have eliminated even more jobs. Laborers are sitting on their idle hands because development is only trickling its way towards recovery.

So maybe you don’t want government to pass “job-killing” bills, but what about actual Job Creation?

To recover from the Great Depression, FDR and his crew established a number of Public Works projects to employ the masses and get our country back on track. These public works projects also elevated the public mood by giving laborers purpose again, and it took US infrastructure to the next level. Damns, roads, railroads -cities even- were built by workers paid for by Public Works projects. With the economy in shambles, and unemployment numbers where they are, where are the Public Works projects now?

"I mean I'll build the thing, but I just don't get how this will help advance our country. I got a cart, why do I need a train?"

President Obama has tried to be Public Works-y, using the technology and American labor to bring us into the future by making us more energy independent, ensuring all Americans has access to new technological advances, and re-building our transportation infrastructure. Think of it as Extreme Makeover: USA Edition. But now that great plan is being dismantled piece by piece. Take the High Speed Rail project as an example. The plan was to connect cities in ways we haven’t seen, and boost our economy by opening up new markets and creating thousands of jobs.

It seemed like such a good idea. Thankfully Al Gore didn't need Republican Approval to invent the Internet

Obama’s plan likely would actually create jobs instead of just talking about it. Workers would be needed to build the rails, build the infrastructure, man the new stations, etc. Millions of people would benefit from all aspects from this project, and new cottage industries would have resulted. Businesses would see revenues rise from the new, faster means of transportation. So many benefits for America meant someone was going to take credit for it. That could never happen, so the naysayers stepped in.

First opportunistic party-pushing Governors like Rick Scott saw a chance to impress their party base by shunning the President’s plan. Using shady numbers that is his forte, Gov, Scott decided that future costs for his state were too uncertain. Rather than commissioning more studies or attempting to figure out ways to ensure Florida’s costs didn’t exceed the tremendous benefits, he shunned the entire project and all the federal funds that came with it. He didn’t care about the jobs he just cost his state, and the years he set Florida behind the rest of the country. Creating jobs, bolstering the economy, and being a fan of labor, are tags Scott didn’t want his name attached to in a Google search.

And I thought Judge Doom liked the idea of a Freeway through Toon Town and the business it would bring

Now Congressional Republicans, who never want to see good ideas floated by their opponents, have targeted High-Speed rail as one of the programs to be slashed in the Budget Cuts. Forget the benefits, it would cost money to get there. No job creation, no infrastructure growth. Just No.

I’m sorry, but this is ridiculous. I thought our country dropped the ball on public works projects in the wake of disasters (Katrina, BP oil, etc). We had a chance to try to improve local and national morale and have these cities and areas rebuilt by the public. Our government is in a unique position to create public works projects, better our country, and keep Americans employed. Big Business sees this as a threat to their bottom-line because government can provide things they can’t, keep costs (allegedly) lower and turn a profit.

Now I can hear the argument that maybe government shouldn’t be involved in business as they shouldn’t be competing with American citizens, but someone needs to CREATE jobs for people since the private sector isn’t capable of sustaining everything. If the worry is a Tyrannical government, then pass legislation to ensure the Public Works ventures don’t get carried away and become too detrimental to private involvement. I’m not sold that the benefits to the states are outweighed by the costs. The desire to jump to high-speed rail seems like a no-brainer. So what’s the real reason? The same reason as always, someone who is making money now, will be making less of it soon if this goes through. Unfortunately, it’s wrong to shut down these programs that would benefit America just because of damage it would do to a couple American businessmen and their shareholders.

Privatization is not always the answer. Sometimes industries need the government spark to light the fuse of innovation.

There are times when the Public can get the job done, and all its shareholding citizens can reap the dividends. This could be one of those times.

We could have seen Ty in front of Florida's first high-speed rail station. Â "Are you ready America? Move that bus! Move that bus!"

 

14 Comments

  1. So you propose a high speed rail that nobody will ride just so we can put people to work? And then the state will have to subsidize it after its completion b/c studies have already shown that the cost to operate it will not be covered by the charge to ride it. So not only will the state not be able to recoup any of the costs once in operation, it will run yearly deficits as well.

    On its face this would seem to be a noble project, and were we to build a train that would connect Jacksonville to Miami, and then join with other lines connecting up the East Coast, enabling for the faster movement of goods to and from various markets, I could probably be convinced. But a high speed rail to carry sun burnt tourists from the Orlando airport to downtown Tampa makes no sense and only saves 30 minutes. We’re not talking about businessmen, er, businesspeople going from DC to Philly or Philly to NYC or NYC to Boston. We’re talking Orlando to Tampa. You know what the people in Orlando and Tampa have in common? Neither wants to go to the other’s city.

    When Disney builds a park in Tampa, hopefully they’ll just extend the monorail.

  2. Leftie, you must be young, naive, or both. It is always tough to know where to begin, but here are a couple of short comments if you are truly interested in cutting through the bullshit.
    In reference to shallow discussion of FDR, note that the unemployment rate was in the high double digits throughout the 1930’s…BECAUSE of Government spending. Most recessions do not last more than two years (unless the Government tries to interfere) In order for Government to spend money, they do not pick bills off of the money tree, they CONFISCATE money from the private sector, and then redistribute that money to pay for projects. Not all projects are bad, like the FAA making sure that planes don’t crash into each other etc. What happened in the 1930’s, and what is happening now, is the when the Government loots the private sector, the private sector grinds to a halt. Eventually, the will of the American people and private enterprise will recover in spite of the Government (at least we always have historically…)
    Consider: The $2.4 Billion for the 85 mile high speed rail from Tampa to Orlando would speed up the commute by 17 minutes (according to their website). That is $28 million per mile. Perhaps….just consider it….Governor Scott thinks that this is stupid waste of money for a very miniscule reward. The Governor rightly points out the Federal Government will HELP pay for the construction, but the State of Florida alone will have to pay to operate the train. The Feds attach a requirement too, it says, the train must operate a minimum number of trips per day whether full or empty. The Governor rightly points out that the State might not be able to afford to operate the train, and it would be a stupid waste of money to pay to operate an empty train.
    Consider this: Governor Scott has approved $77 Million for infrastructure at the Port of Miami for the deep dredge project. Dredging the Port will accommodate Post Panamax ships once the Panama Canal is widened in 2014 and provide over 30,000 jobs annually.
    Where is the infrastructure?
    Take your eyes off of the Huffington Post and look around you. In Miami there is a $1 Billion dollar tunnel being constructed. It is a private public partnership, but a huge infrastructure project nonetheless. This is not a stupid waste of money.
    Also notice the expansion of the Miami International Airport. That is well above $15 Billion.

    • I am young and naive, but I’m also good looking. Does that count for anything?

      You point to the 1930s, but don’t forget, it wasn’t the government spending that put us in the recession, it was the bottom falling out on big business and their falsified values, as well as the egregious acts of the banking industry that threw us into the depression. Banking and Big business got caught lying (sound familiar), in big ways. Individual government officials, who were on their knees servicing big business, helped as well. FDR’s government saved our country. Now granted some of the measures were drastic, but they weren’t all supposed to be around forever.
      Money is never confiscated or re-distributed. That’s just right-wing semantics. As a country we need to find different avenues to assist because we should never trust the market to work itself out in OUR best interest. The market works in the market’s interest and thats all. Stop trying to convince anyone otherwise, you lose credibility.
      As for the rail, Tampa to Orlando is only part of it. Connecting south florida by high-speed rail to the rest of the country is the biggest and most important part in my mind. That’s where we will be missing out. Also, you are once again ignoring all the intangibles that would result from the train. Doenst surprise me as that concerns you is making more money for big business that doesn’t benefit society (except by lowering prices on goods…whoopy!!!!)
      The other infrastructure projects you mention in south Florida are excellent. We need more of them. They fix morale, get people working, and better our areas. The federal government is in a unique position to make this happen. States often don’t have the money to put these projects on, and can use Federal funds and assistance. This is my point, which you often miss to preach your Big Business mantras.

      Also don’t kid yourself into thinking any of this was done by Rick Scott. He may have had final approval, but all these other projects have been in the development stages for some time, he’s just signing off. Thank goodness.

      But keep the debate up. Somewhere in the middle of the “right-wing” shit that you preach and the “lefty” crap that I spew are the solutions.

  3. Market cycles happen. Like gravity. In your example of the 1930’s, unemployment and the recession was prolonged BECAUSE of government. Read the book, The Forgotten Man by Amity Shaels.
    The recession is prolonged BECAUSE of the government. If instead of wasting $1 Trillion on the “stimulus” the government did absolutely nothing, we would be better off.
    On planet earth, the government (President Obama) said that the Stimulus was essential to keep unemployment under 8%. That didn’t happen. Stimulus didn’t end the recession in the 1930’s and it didn’t end it today.

    “Money is never confiscated or re-distributed. That’s just right-wing semantics. As a country we need to find different avenues to assist because we should never trust the market to work itself out in OUR best interest. The market works in the market’s interest and thats all.”
    Ummmmmm….what??? Money is never redistributed? Didn’t you post earlier that the wealthiest 1% pay 40% of all income tax revenue to the government? The top 1% of earners pay more than the bottom 95% of taxpayers combined (Source: http://blog.heritage.org/?p=30423 You should add this think tank to your Huffington Post, CNN, and TMZ.)
    If those 1% of the people are taxed to the tune of billions, they can’t possible use more roads or fire departments than the 95% of the people. The math doesn’t work. Of course the production of the rich is confiscated (call it taxed if it makes you feel better) and then redistributed to the non-producers. America’s “poor” receive more in goods and services than they produce. And as you posted, 40% + are not paying taxes. It isn’t semantics, wealth redistribution is reality.
    “As a country we need to find different avenues to assist because we should never trust the market to work itself out in OUR best interest.” The market always works unless impeded by government. If General Motors makes a lousy car and/or their production inputs (union labor) are higher than competitive options, the market (the market is the people) will vote with their dollars and not buy GM. GM should then fail. At some price, me and a group of friends would buy the assets of GM. Odds are, someone smarter and with more money would do it first.
    Instead, the Government interfered in the Free Market, and wasted well over $20 Billion in taxpayer dollars….GM went bankrupt anyway, and now business has mistrust for this administration.
    You should not need me to “convince” you that the the law of gravity is a given any more than you should need me to convince you of the free market. Observe….look around.
    I am ingnoring the intangibles from the train???
    Really?? $2.4 Billion for the 85 miles to Tampa to Orlando. How much for this glorious Miami to Orlando?? Is it $28 Million per mile too?
    Okay…Intangibles:
    Suppose Miami to Orlando happens. It will probably cost a half a billion and 10 years to build. Once completed, tourists can now take a train. They will not rent a car from the fellow in Miami that owns the car rental franchise. The 11% tourist taxes that Miami-Dade County is expecting to fund a stupid baseball stadium will dry up.
    This is what you mean by “haven’t thought of the intangibles…right?”
    Instead of pumping $65 per day plus $7 per day in taxes into our local economy, the tourists will take the train instead of the Turnpike. So much for the tolls collected on the Turnpike…
    By the way…this is ASSUMING that people actually ride it. The population is not dense enough to necessitate this debacle.
    Look…the market works. If this rail made sense, private industry would lunge to do it. Remember the lefty narrative, Corporations are Evil and only want to make a profit no moatter what. If that is true, and it is true that this high speed rail is a good idea, then the greedy evil corporations would find a way to build it.
    Spend the billions and billions on useful projects that do not cannibalize existing private sector business. Great job Governor, quashing the ridiculous high speed rail was a no brainer.

    • Eaton, your argument against the train at least has merit, I just disagree. You are completely forgetting the fact that transportation will be one of the biggest woes facing us in the next 10-20 years as driving population will double and triple, and we wont have any room for all the cars that will be on the road. I’ve lived in 5 different major metropolitan cities, and transportation sucks in them all. 100% need new ways to get around. They’re won’t be flying cars. I think trains are better than the eventual double-decker roads we’ll be forced to build. You claim it would waste money? Id rather the money go to the train, than this pork:

      http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/04/20/2177746/pork-turkeys-earmarks-florida.html.

      As far as your re-distribution, doesn’t hold water for me. Just corporate mantra. Business runs our country. I think our people should. Call me lefty, call me socialist, i dont care. When the 95% of our wealth is in less than 2% of our population (the numbers change, so its hard to find the exact %) I have no problem with them being taxed more. They are obviously benefiting exponentially more from the system, they can put it back in. You might say business savvy got them those dollars, but it was the opportunities provided to them by the system and the people that allowed them to make that money. And yes they use the fire-systems and roads more than anyone. They have tons of employees that need to get to work to build the stuff they’re making right? The workers that put the food on the billionaires tables need protection to get to work, right? And you are 100% wrong that the market fixes things. If GM makes crappy parts, they lie about the part, then put them in their cars anyway, hope they get away with it, and factor in money for lawsuits as a cost of doing business. They still make money, shareholders happy.

      Also, the 1% paying 40% of taxes was pre-Bush cuts. If you don’t think that this is “fair” then figure out a way to adjust it, but the tax cuts are a joke that have harmed our country. I don’t care if a billionaire has an extra couple million. That can go back into the system, then people will have more money to give back to the hypothetical billionaires that you love defending.

      But like I said, I love the debate.

  4. Look. Here is the difference. I believe in people, you believe in Government.
    People are corporations. I am incorporated, as are most small businesses. People/Corporations create things. Look around you.
    Your monitor, keyboard, mouse, operating system, all ideas started in an individual’s brain, brought to fruition in a garage or a factory. Created, by an individual.
    Today’s Government is a parasite out of control. It sucks the life blood from individual’s. The people in the Federal Government today are looters. The don’t own the store, they didn’t create the store, or work in it. The Federal Government had nothing to do with it, but by force or by law, or by regulation, they loot from it. They take away what they call is a “just amount” and they give it to other individuals to buy votes to enhance their power.
    Note: You did not see Democrat or Republican in the above. Because the Federal Government is full of looter of all stripes. They want bloggers and everyone to fight among themselves and ignore the looting.

    I have given you very specific, concise, and thoughtful reasons why the high speed rail is frivilous. There isn’t an answer in between.
    If ever South Florida has population density enough to support it, then fire away.
    In school, “educators” want to protect the students self-esteem by telling them that there are no stupid questions. Bullshit. There are stupid questions, stupid people, and stupid ideas.
    The high speed rail proposal is plain and simply a stupid idea at this time.

    • Stop trying to paint my views to suit your argument. Its transparent. Just tell me your thoughts, not mine.

      I don’t believe in government. I believe in people. I believe in a government that protects its people. Idealism I know. Idealism that should exist, but doesn’t because our government is a mess. The difference is, we can “check” our government. And the government hacks are temporary.

      I dont believe in the “good” of businessmen who have destroyed the world to fill their pockets. we can’t “check” them. They aren’t temporary. We are playing on their field, and MY HOPE is that the government of the PEOPLE can find that balance.

  5. We can “check” our government? I agree…but citizens have to dig deeper.
    Think more.
    Study the issues and support plans that make sense.
    The Plan for Prosperity is an excellent start. Ask a Republican, they say it goes to far. Republicans do not want to cut the military budget. Ask a Democrat and they say, the plan kills old people starves school children, George Bush, Haliburton, Cheney, Rush Limbaugh. Ask me, it doesn’t go far enough.

    Reducing the size of the Federal Government must be a priority. Without regard to political parties in the Federal Government. If the Feds can do it well…let them do it. National Defense, okay. Making sure borders are secure, planes don’t crash into each other, radio signals don’t encroach on each other across state lines, etc. sounds fine.
    But spending $20 Million of taxpayer’s earnings to produce a Pakistani Seasame Street???http://coburn.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/news?ContentRecord_id=e606235f-93e6-47b1-a8b2-fca873742fc9&ContentType_id=abb8889a-5962-4adb-abe8-617da340ab8e&Group_id=2b5f5ef9-5929-4863-9c07-277074394357&MonthDisplay=4&YearDisplay=2011

    How do we allow this to happen? CUT THEM OFF! The Feds have to much of OUR money. Starve them.

    Vauge diatribes about business destroying the world?? Please.
    Next semester take an Economics class.
    “Destroyed??” Anywhere you find a thriving business community, you will find economic development, low poverty, and a high quality of living. Look around…think….people are not swimming from the USA for Cuba.
    Ahhhhh….Maybe you are right…without businessman you would not have a computer to type your blog, a blog, air conditioning, etc etc. Perhaps it would be a better place.
    Just kidding. Enjoy the fruits of other people’s labor while you deride their efforts. Support the looters…they are people too. Parasites have their merit.
    Keep up the good work.

    • Dr. Doolittle. Way too many insults, not enough basis. Saying the “government” is too big is an empty mantra. You wont be taming the beast, you’d be killing the zoo. Its dumb. Its what businessmen want their supporters to say so they have less regulations to put up with and more money gets in their pockets.

      Cut the spending for stupid things. we dont need to study ducks in alaska or bigfoot sightings in oklahoma. Thats obvious. Eliminate the pork. Get the military industry out of our government. I’m not talking about cutting defense, we needs to spend more on defense. Im talking about the military pork. We dont need 30 engines for the same jet.

      The Feds dont have too much of our money. I want our government to have our money to do GOOD things with. They are the ones with the ability to do it. Once again, I know you hate that sentiment, but Id rather have a food stamps program than a corporate exec throwing a 10 million dollar party.

      And now you pretend I said that we dont need business and the innovation that comes with it. Of course we do. Our beautiful country came from capitalism and the rewards its provides. Dont be a moron, and dont suggest I need schooling. I have way more schooling that I know what to do with. Its tough being this educated and having to listen to un-educated morons spill their propaganda.

      Business needs to be checked and regulated. Learn the difference before you try to use my replies as fodder for your right-wing, anarchistic blog.

  6. On Federal income taxes:
    Whoever made you think that “Also, the 1% paying 40% of taxes was pre-Bush cuts. If you don’t think that this is “fair” then figure out a way to adjust it, but the tax cuts are a joke that have harmed our country.” is wrong. Dead wrong.

    Make sure to tell them the truth. The truth is that in 1980 the top 1% of income earners paid 19.05% of the taxes collected. When George W. Bush took office the top 1% paid 33.89%. The percentage share of the top 1% went up during the Bush Administration to 40.42% of receipts in 2007. Like John F. Kennedy before him, President Bush knew that cutting tax rates increases total revenue. Source: http://www.heritage.org/BudgetChartBook/top10-percent-income-earners
    Today, the wealthiest 1% are paying much more. If President Obama continues to beat the class warfare drum, he might be able to suck more blood out of the people that create jobs, goods and services, and wealth. THAT would be bad for our economy.

    By the way, I am not defending Billionaires per se. I am defending my boss. We have an agreement, I work hard, he pays me well.
    Obama calls him and the business that he created in 1983 rich, and wants to suck more money out of his business. Obama doesn’t understand that GE and GM don’t pay taxes, it is the S Corporations that do the majority of the paying. The more the parasites and looters suck, the slower our business grows. Is that what you want? Will the poor be better off when the businesses close up shop? If we opened our eyes here on planet earth, are we seeing businesses closing now? Think…

  7. At ease soldier!

  8. I am not an anarchist….at all. The Federal Govt is too big. To support this fact, you posted an article about pork. Thanks for supporting my argument.
    “Hi….I’m rhino, I want the Feds to do GOOD things!! Like save the planet, end all wars, and protect endangered Unicorns.”
    Can you name ten GOOD things the Federal Government does that a private individual’s company, a State, or local government can’t do better or more efficiently? Now try twenty and one hundred.
    Hint: Neither Amtrak and high speed rail are GOOD answers.

    • Pork supported my argument, Dr. D. There is plenty of pork to cut out of our government without having to dig into the useful programs. Glad you agree. Thanks for coming out.

  9. Listen Leftie. Listen then think.

    THINK. What does your house (apartment) need?
    ?????????

    Don’t answer. The FEDERAL government will answer for you. YOU are an idiot…so says President Obama. (for the record, I don’t think so…..I am on your side). The FEDERAL government wants to take money away from you and you boss (the Feds are much smarter than both of you……See……Our Savior will decide what is good is for you…just give him 35% or 50% of your money….all hail the king).

    Go ahead Leftie…give them the money….give them your soul…give it all to the Great Leader….trust him….he has told you all the right things….give up your sovernty…after all, the Great Leader told you that he was good. He told you to think that those Republicans (who told you to fight for you individual rights) are evil. The GOP must be evil….Obama and his operatives told you so. Believe it leftie. The GOP wants to kill babies ( so says Obama), the GOP wants to kill old people (So say Obama).
    Believe it leftie.
    Hope.
    Believe.
    Hope.
    Leftie….did you notice that on planet Earth, the unemployment rate has skyrocketed ever after our Great Leader pushed a $1 Trillion stimulus?????
    Decision time:
    1. Has it worked? Honestly…study it…after over a year….has the $1 Trillion “stimulus” kept unemployment below 8% as Biden promised????

    The answer is no….

    This blog is so weak…forget about 2 and 3 and 4.

    you can’t stay focused, or have a cohesive rebuttle for anything…
    It is a sad state of affairs for the American Education System…..