1.4 million infrastructure jobs lost due to republican transportation budget short sightedness

Making America Competitive in a Global Economy

Thursday, 7 July 2011, the GOP House of Representatives Transportation Chairman, Florida’s own John Mica, Republican announced the six year plan to eliminate one million four hundred thousand jobs with the cuts to be made to our transit funding. Of course Mr. Mica did not spell out these budget cuts quite this way; he stated that the Trust Fund is running out of money and that his $325 billion dollar cut, approximately $56 billion dollars per year to the budget would ensure its survival. The common denominator we use to figure out the number of jobs is twenty five thousand jobs for every one billion dollars in spending. Again the Political Party of mythical job creation has proposed another policy to put our country’s working class citizen’s survival at jeopardy, making budget policies that sound kind of balanced, but actually do nothing but keep our nation from becoming competitive for the 21st century global economy.

While our nation needs to move into the 21st century competitively; without a commitment for improving our nation’s infrastructure, we’ll just never be able compete globally. While our nation is mired with a 9.2% unemployment rate and while the macroeconomic stimulus policies of the Great Depression, Financing of WW II and afterwards the recovery of our 124% Debt to Gross National Product, we do have a proven track record of success in how to stimulate our economy under present circumstances. Our House of Representatives are cloaking themselves around Ayn Rand Ideology (rationalization that humans are only motivated by one’s own self interest) and practicing partisan politics. The only plan the Republican Party has had for the past 2-1/2 years is how to make the President of the United States fail. This polarizing political policy is at the cost of millions of American’s jobs. You need to understand this fact about the actual constituency the Republican’s worry about; the 2-5% of our population who have no worries about how they will pay their mortgage, feed their families, fill their automobiles, pay the medical bills and where to go on vacation this year.

We need jobs and our infrastructure needs improvements; therefore building bridges, maintaining highways and constructing light rail systems to operate between major metropolitan regions should be our countries economic goal. The investment stimulus is needed to lower our unemployment rates, add money to the governments revenue stream in the form of more income taxes (we are down 28% in government income from when the recession began), and make people productive again.

Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon, a Democratic member of the committee, criticized the GOP plan. "The Republicans prefer to protect tax loopholes and cuts that add tremendously to the national debt, yet they won't make needed investments that rebuild crumbling infrastructure and put people back to work," DeFazio said. "We need robust investment and this proposal does not measure up." John Horsley, the executive director of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials stated, “The Mica plan also would cut Amtrak's federal subsidy by 25 percent over the next two years, and would effectively cut $1.1 billion over two years from President Obama's high-speed rail initiatives by redefining ‘high speed.’” Posted: McClatchy Newspapers, 7 July.

The Urban Land Institute and The Society of Professional Engineers have given our infrastructure system a grade of “D”. I do not know sometimes how the message can get out to the middle class, but when is enough actually enough. We have accumulated $9 trillion dollars in debt from our last three Republican Presidencies (Presidents Reagan, Bush I and Bush II). Remember President Clinton left us with a small $500 billion dollar surplus in 2001 budget and though he too added $1 trillion in debt we were set up to pay debt off in ten years. President Obama has tried to create political relationships between the two major parties. But, personally I have never seen another party act so hostile to a President in all my lifetime. We all know that there will be differences, but to not work together for what is best for the country just goes to show the Ayn Rand analogy to be very true. Better we argue if he is an American citizen and see a copy of his birth certificate.

What I continue to be amazed at though is how the working and middle class continue to vote for the Party that does not represent their core economic values. The organizations who use to be able to represent the working and middle class have all but dwindled away; at one time representing the interest of about 30% of the work force to now in the single digit numbers of about 6%. States that have “Right to Work” statutes on their books that make it difficult for workers to form unions and associations to represent their own best interest in job conditions, safety, wages and benefits. The State Governments with control of a handful of the executive and legislative branches in the past 7 months have even made those numbers smaller by stripping the public workers of being able to have collective bargaining even after their unions had agreed to make concessions. What will it take America before everything is stripped from the middle class?

The other item’s on the Republican economic agenda which I find difficult to believe would stimulate our economy out of this recession was their ardent and partisan but unequal anti abortion, gay marriage, and cuts in education agendas and policies; while taking the funds from those programs and filling the coffers of big business. I also do not understand why it is alright to hand over those entitlements for big business, yet continue to not have the funds available to invest in job creating infrastructure projects. Since 1980’s when the Republicans became the “Feel Good Party” and started winning majorities in the Congress and Executive Offices how are you feeling today middle class? All you need to do is look back over the last 30 years of our economic history to realize the wealth of a very few has pocketed what wealth the middle class had and given us a two tier society. Recessions do not affect the wealthy, but you the middle class now have the burden of paying for the Debt and the Wall Street Tsunami incurred under both Presidents Bush and Reagan. We had already lost over 8 million jobs when President Obama finally took the oath and through the initial investment stimulus plan we have seen 2 million jobs created. As long as housing is staying in their chaotic funk (down 80% in starts per year) our economy needs to continue to receive the investments to improve our infrastructure. While you are taking the time to look at how the Republican’s plan to not invest in American jobs; ask yourself why do the working and middle classes continue to vote into power the very same party that has allowed millions of jobs and tens of thousands of businesses to relocate overseas while giving multinational businesses hundreds of millions of dollars in tax incentives to make these moves.

What I do get is we need to advance our support for our country’s infrastructure growth and support the political party that will sustain that growth. We will need more then a simple majority in both Houses of Congress as well as electing a President from the same party. For now though I would ask you to call your Congress Representatives and Senators as well as the President and let them know you support infrastructure spending and that you want more funding allocated to reach the $1.2 trillion dollar investment level over the next ten years.


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Comments » 6

justanfair writes:

Well said. It's so hard to understand why the GOP would destroy our country's economy and the welfare of it's citizens to gain political advantage. When they govern they make it worse. When will American voters see them for what they are?

cabagepalm writes:

Who was giving the money to private business when he should have been building infrastructer?

SCHLLC (Inactive) writes:

Mr. Daugherty,

Guess you didn't like my follow up to your article so you just posted the same article somewhere else.
So I will repost

Lets start by laying a few things on the table. You are obviously a big proponent of the beliefs and methods the president and his two year veto proof majority pursued. You don't think they went far enough, nor spent enough. OK, I respect your opinion. I couldn't disagree more with you but let me refute a few of your representations.
And pose a few questions that may help to clarify a few of your platitudes. Exactly how does a high speed rail system and new bridges make the US more competitive in a global economy? I mean that sounds great as a sound bite, but upon reflection is very difficult if not impossible to quantify. You can build all the high speed rail you want, but you can't force people to use it (I mean unless the next phase of your plan is to forbid us to own personal transportation).

SCHLLC (Inactive) writes:

The comment you made "Our House of Representatives are cloaking themselves around Ayn Rand Ideology", is a little confusing because I don't think that the reality of that statement is arguable. What human isn't motivated by self interest? You got up and wrote this article for what? The good of mankind? Benevolence? Or a paycheck? Is the fact that you get paid to say what you actually believe a conflict or not? Is it OK to act in your own self interest even if you think it is good for others also? If so, why is it a laurel for you yet a thorn of crowns for conservatives? Is it impossible to believe that someones ideals that differ have the same goal as yours? I find that a little shallow.
To say that the Republican party only cares about 2-5% of the population is the same thing as saying Democrats don't care about anything but gay marriage and abortion. Neither are true and are hyperbole at its best. I would expect more out of a "journalist"
One more thing and I really hope you or one of your party, can explain. How exactly does confiscation of the fruits of our labor (yours included) benefit growth? I suppose I see it in more simple terms. If gas is $3.00 a gallon. And the government adds a tax of $.50 per gallon. Gas goes up to $3.50. No business can afford to just "absorb" that kind of expense. The "corporations" you seem to focus all of your ire on, are merely intermediaries. Liberals always seem to have a mental disconnect between the "government" and "our money". It is all "our money". The government functions on the backs of the constituents. I cede the point it has a role, a function and is a necessary evil. But how exactly do you propose to spend our way out of a spending problem? The class envy starts with your party sir. Taking wealth from people, regardless of how you believe they acquired it, and giving it to people who certainly didn't earn it will never make our society better. And appointing some anonymous behemoth in a far away place the authority to confiscate whatever they want of our labor, our property in order to "help the greater good", will never inspire people. It creates animus, distrust and robs us of identity and motivation.
Capitalism has its caveats, no system can claim perfection. But no other system can provide the "opportunity" capitalism does. That is not a negotiable or nebulous claim. It is a 235 year old fact. So while the benevolent experiments of The Soviet Union, Cuba, Venezuela, China, North Korea etc, have failed to make an impression on you. Why not give our greatness a little credit?

deltarome writes:

Our new bridge was a classic example of how wasteful the infrastructure jobs are. They are temporary jobs that don't produce any long term value added.
We borrowed the money from the rest of the world, which we "might" pay back some day. We used mexican manufactured concrete, brazilian and chinese rebar and steel and mexican labor.
It doesn't make anything that we can use to sell to the world on a free market basis. It is a joke, but it is "free" to marco residents so no one locally complains.
"WE" are the problem.

stepetroni writes:

"Infrastructure jobs" is code for redistribution of productive people's income to to contractors and gvt. agencies rife with fraud and waste. The cost of such jobs far exceeds the benefits and how many jobs in the already bailed out auto industry will these new transportation boondogles cost IF and WHEN they actually see significant, measurable public use?

Big government control of private initiatives is the problem, not the solution.

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