Saturday, February 09, 2008

Bob Herbert Agrees With Me!

It's Definitely (mostly, mainly, primarily) the Economy, Again, Dumkoffs!

Recently I wrote:

We need a new 'put america back to work' public-private initiative

Here's what I think we need with a new president starting on day one:

a new 'put america back to work' WPA type public-private initiative with a focus on including:

• repairing/updating/improving all aspects of the infrastructure; include job training and career-shift education which puts americans to work in good paying jobs (with benefits) created from public-private partnerships;

• a commitment to oil/gas-free energy independence/green technology/energy innovations (mostly avoid biofuels because it does more harm than good in the long run; see recent research/reports);

• a focus on fast-tracking science and technology education for public schools, community colleges, universities (includes job-training/ed for adults); create public private partnerships and feeder schools in urban, suburban, rural hubs -- those things focus on both items above.

Today Mr. Herbert wrote:

The essential question the candidates should be trying to answer — but that is not even being asked very often — is how to create good jobs in the 21st century. Thirty-seven million Americans are poor, and roughly 60 million others are near-poor. (These are people struggling to make it on incomes of $20,000 to $40,000 a year for a family of four.)

The middle class is hardly flourishing. In testimony before a House subcommittee last year, Harley Shaiken, a Berkeley professor who is an expert on labor and employment, remarked: “During a period of robust economic growth, record profits and the fastest sustained productivity increases since the 1950s, only a thin slice at the top of the economic heap is enjoying higher living standards.”

Now the country is faced with a possible recession and the likelihood of moving further backward rather than forward on employment.

“We’re building exit ramps from the middle class,” said Mr. Shaiken during an interview. “But what is the path to the middle class for most Americans now? We need to figure out how to resume building entrance ramps.”

The most direct route to the middle class has always been a good job. An obvious potential source of new jobs would be a broad campaign to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure — its roads, bridges, schools, levees, water treatment facilities and so forth.

Another area with big job creation potential is the absolutely vital quest to develop alternative sources of energy. That effort should carry the same high national priority that was accorded the Manhattan Project during World War II. I’d even call it Manhattan II.

There are moments in history that demand not just talent in a nation’s leadership, but greatness — men or women with the courage to dream bigger and the ability to convince others that those dreams can be realized.

He goes on to claim no presidential candidate has shown the required bold vision and leadership, but I have to disagree. Obama shows leadership qualities and Senator Clinton has shown a keen grasp of the dilemmas of the middle and working class and has consistently promoted her policies to rebuild the economy, stimulate green collar investments and jobs, and rebuild the infrastructure. She's not the beneficiary of the broadcast or print media lovefest. Shame on his colleagues (you know who you are). Shame on any voter who falls for hype over substance, fear-mongering and bullying over intellectual power, relevant experience and a history of political and moral commitment to families and workers.

Herbert barely mentions McCain or the republicans as part of this discussion: they will continue to decimate workers and the national infrastructure while enriching themselves and their oil/energy/overseas cronies and buddies.

Herbert may have missed the vision thing in the details of Clinton's policies -- not to mention the bloviating, Hillary haters, attackers, loudmouths and self-indulgent whiners getting so much air time, press and print space, including those at his own paper.

I'm just happy he's finally getting informed about the economic realities of working men, women, families in this nation and that he agrees with me about putting America back to work fixing and rebuilding our infrastructure. Roosevelt would have been proud!

Herbert's column is here:

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