The American Jobs Plan offered by President Joe Biden is a good one. Hold on. Wait a minute. Ain’t it refreshing to be able to say MY President again without feeling shame? We ain’t a perfect Union, but we picked the perfect time to get rid of that fool!
Anyway. The jobs plan has some salient objectives, and Congress needs to get some bills enacted to bring us some well-needed infrastructure repairs.
“The United States of America is the wealthiest country in the world, yet we rank 13th when it comes to the overall quality of our infrastructure. After decades of disinvestment, our roads, bridges, and water systems are crumbling.
Our electric grid is vulnerable to catastrophic outages. Too many lack access to affordable, high-speed Internet and to quality housing. The past year has led to job losses and threatened economic security, eroding more than 30 years of progress in women’s labor force participation. It has unmasked the fragility of our caregiving infrastructure.
Our nation is falling behind its biggest competitors in research and development (R&D), manufacturing, and training. It has never been more important for us to invest in strengthening our infrastructure and competitiveness and in creating the good-paying, union jobs of the future.”
During the worst ever economic period of this nation known as the Great Depression, Roosevelt launched several “out of the box” initiatives to get his country back to work. Roosevelt is renowned for developing some of the “entitlement” programs we have today, but he also deployed an aggressive plan to put people back to work and into prosperity.
The CCC Camps (Civilian Conservation Corp) was a public works relief program with a working double entendre. On the one hand and most significantly, it sought and successfully put the unemployed on a regular payroll. However, simultaneously, the program beefed up the underside of America’s infrastructure and confidence.
The CCC Camp workers planted nearly 3,000,000,000 trees and constructed 800 parks nationwide. They are recognized for updating firefighting methods in forests, and they built buildings and roadways in remote areas. We are still reaping the benefits to this day. The 18-25-year- old men who worked in the program were taught trades, gained work experience, and became physically fit in many cases.
Primarily, we need people employed to make needs assessments. Just think about all of the brush, litter, and dead trees you see on your average daily commute. Today, we are looking at overhanging trees that will have to be removed in a few months when the ice storms gather again.
Not only is some of this untamed nature ugly to see, but each year we suffer through needless power outages due to their imminent demise.
In every city, county, and state, some thoroughfares and roads are in disrepair. Unfortunately, local municipalities have been forced to cut their budgets, so much of those needs go unnoticed. Until, of course, the potholes get big enough to puncture tires or swallow small vehicles.
Additional parks and recreational enclaves need to be created to meet the demand of our burgeoning population. We can never pass on an appreciation of ecology and nature to our children as long as they are stowed away in rooms with televisions and video games.
Funds for this jobs program should be based on population and local unemployment figure. We must create public-private partnerships with established local small business enterprises. In addition, we should look at hiring youth, non-violent ex-offenders, and laid-off workers.
Any program of this magnitude has the propensity to limit certain businesses, but I believe we could see a net gain of 3 million jobs in the first 24 months. These new workers will spawn other jobs and supplant our dying tax revenue stream while making the nation cleaner and more robust for future generations.
We need to get Biden’s infrastructure initiatives passed. It worked before, and it will put us all to work again! Let’s Do It!
Vincent L. Hall is an author, activist, and an award-winning columnist.