From Volume 37, Issue 36 of EIR Online, Published Sept 17, 2010

U.S. Economic/Financial News

Robert Reich: New WPA, Not Obama's 'Little Tax-Cutting Ideas'

Sept. 5 (EIRNS)—Former Clinton Treasury Secretary Robert Reich accurately locates Nerobama vs. FDR, in his latest blog posting about mass unemployment, which calls for a "new WPA" to create immediate employment on a large scale in infrastructure.

In "The Great Jobs Depression Worsens, and the Choice Ahead Grows Starker," Reich, noting the constantly growing number of Americans outside the workforce, puts "real unemployment" at 22 million, not including those forced to work part-time (who are another 9 million officially). "The last time we saw anything on this scale was in the 1930s. The last time we did anything about this on the scale necessary to reverse the trend was in the 1930s and 1940s.... We know what to do. We need massive public spending on jobs—infrastructure, schools, parks—a new WPA."

Nerobama? "Obama should be storming the country, demanding the largest responses to the jobs emergency in history," said Reich. "Instead, Obama is all over the map: a mosque controversy, an Israeli-Palestinian peace talk (that may take years to complete, if ever), a symbolic withdrawal from Iraq, and lots of little tax-cutting ideas."

Economists are trying to estimate the employment creation needed even to return to 5% unemployment: Leo Hindery says 23 million jobs; Reich, 22 million jobs; the Economic Policy Institute (affiliated with the AFL-CIO), 17 million jobs; former Clinton economic advisor Laura Tyson, 20 million jobs. This means a net 300,000-400,000 new jobs created, on average, every month for five years.

But there is no "average" in this breakdown crisis. As Lyndon LaRouche says, the North American Water and Power Alliance (NAWAPA) concept, as he has revived it, can create 3-4 million skilled and unskilled jobs as soon as it is launched; and even before that, hundreds of thousands of jobs in state and local government, and high-speed rail transport can be created on an emergency basis, if Obama is booted out and Glass-Steagall implemented to free up the nation's credit.

Economist Tyson Also for New WPA

Sept. 5 (EIRNS)—Economist Laura D'Andrea Tyson of Obama's Economic Recovery Advisory Board pushed for large-scale infrastructure spending, in an appearance on CBS's "Face the Nation" this morning, saying, "Let's not forget what's important. Let's focus on job creation."

Emphasizing that "24 million people are still looking for full-time work," Tyson recommended "something like a new WPA" to the Congress and her deaf boss at the White House. "We should look at infrastructure because we know—before the recession, before the great recession, we know that we were vastly underspending on the nation's infrastructure.... Infrastructure spending is terrific in two ways. It creates demand right away, when you go out and get the project started and get the workers started and get all—it also creates the ability to grow and be productive in the future.... You want to start with something really big; start with developing a high-speed rail system. Start with developing, improving our air control, modernizing our air control traffic system, for goodness sake."

After Tyson's enthusiasm on the subject of big infrastructure now, Mark Zandi of Moody's, virtually the official economist of the U.S. news media, tried to throw cold water on it. "But it's important to realize, though, that none of this is going to make a difference in the next year," Zandi lied. "I mean, these are projects that are long-lived and take a long time. And we have to pay for them. We can't do this until we pay for them."

Detroit Begs $11 Million Fed Grant for Fire Dept., Obama Fiddles

Sept. 11 (EIRNS)—Last year, the Obama Administration turned down more than 2,000 distressed municipalities, for Federal grant money to keep their fire and rescue services up to strength. Among them was the City of Detroit, which suffered fires Sept. 7 that destroyed 71 homes and caused extensive damage. Firefighters fought 85 blazes in four hours. As the city admitted this week, budget cuts have decimated vital services. Response time and staffing were terribly inadequate to the Sept. 7 conflagration.

Stiffing cities is par for the course for the Obama White House, as the President continues in his own world about, "green jobs," and "upward job trends."

On Sept. 10, Detroit officials announced their immediate recourse: They filed for a grant of $11 million in Federal aid to strengthen their fire and rescue department as fast as possible. This request goes to a fund set up for this year by Congress, called the Adequate Fire & Emergency Responses program, which has an inadequate total of only $420 million to dole out to thousands of localities which are applying.

This Detroit crisis is the latest in dramatic manifestation of the urgency of getting through the Glass-Steagall reinstatement, and issuing Federal credits and grants on the scale required to keep in operation the basic services and staffing of local and state governments cross country.

Also on Sept. 10, in Detroit, a citizens group, Committee Against Utility Shutoffs (CAUS), made the specific appeal that cut-offs of electric and gas supplies to impoverished households that can't pay bills be stopped. With no other resort, the practice of illegal tapping into electric lines is increasing. This contributed to the Sept. 7 fires, and in general, constitutes a hazard.

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