Let’s Go to Work

| August 2, 2012

A strange bank robbery provides a commentary on America today.

A man went into a bank and handed the teller a note demanding one dollar and health care. He wasn’t crazy. He was desperate. The robber had been employed for a number of years until he got laid off due to The Great Recession. He cut his expenses and was getting by as a part-time clerk at a convenience store, but his health started failing and he couldn’t lift the stock onto shelves. He got fired. He could move in with his sister, but she couldn’t afford to pay for his health care any more than he could.

So he decided to rob a bank. Bank robbery, he knew, was a felony and he figured he would be sent to jail, the only place where he was certain to receive the health care he needed without having to pay for it.  At trial he told the judge that if his sentence was too light he would keep robbing banks until he got sufficient jail time. Farfetched? The story is true, reported in a startling book called, “Greedy Bastards,” by Dylan Ratigan.

This sluggish economy is creating a permanent underclass, many of whom were formerly middle class. For the third month in a row North Carolina’s unemployment rate was stuck at 9.4 percent, fourth highest in the nation. Most agree this number is actually higher because it doesn’t reflect the large number who have given up and aren’t even registered with the Employment Security Commission.

We’ve listened to the political rhetoric about job creation being our number one priority, but so far there’s more talk than action. The private sector clearly isn’t creating enough new jobs, even though we are told corporate treasuries are at all time highs. In the public sector budget and job cuts are the order of the day. Wall Street has more ups and downs than a pogo stick. The fundamental problem is we don’t have confidence in our economy.

North Carolina has been in recession most of this past decade and has lost more than 300,000 jobs since 2007, suffering more than most states. What we are doing is obviously not working to stimulate our economy. Doing little or nothing won’t make things better. It’s time to try something different, something guaranteed to put people to work. And yes, state government must have a role to play in that plan.

We propose a statewide capital improvement plan, selling tax-exempt bonds. Our plan would be targeted to public infrastructure improvement and would create thousands of jobs if designed and overseen by a non-partisan group. Our aging public infrastructure doesn’t need help. Several years ago the Society of Civil Engineers estimated it would require more than 40 billion dollars to build or repair the needed roads, bridges, water and sewer systems, airports, schools and other public buildings in our state. With North Carolina’s Triple-A credit rating we could easily borrow the money at historically low rates and we can handle the debt load. Job creation, infrastructure improvement and an economic boost – a win-win plan.

It’s time politicians started acting like leaders and demonstrated some confidence in our state and its people. We need to jump-start the economy. Let’s go to work. We can do this.

Category: Economy, SPIN Blog

Comments (2)

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  1. HelpOurSelves says:

    Can we not bring back more manufacturing and textile jobs to NC (or the USA for that matter)? How many people actually check where goods are produced before they buy them? Does anyone even care about where something is made, or, do most only care how much it costs?
    The more people buy things made somewhere else, the less money that is circulated back into our own economy here. Look for items made in the USA and buy them! Help employ our friends and neighbors here to help boost our economy and lower our unemployment rate. Ask retailers what items they are selling that are made in the USA. Look for and buy from places/companies that do create and/or sell products made in our country. Be proud to buy USA products! For those USA companies and people who work there; be proud to and aspire to and create quality products that will be desired and purchased by consumers! Not everyone needs to be a doctor, lawyer, person working in a service-related industry (such as auto technician, cleaning companies,etc.), or employee paid by our taxpayers (these include MANY basic needed service employees, but there are SO many federal and state paid positions, sometimes positions created inadvertently by grants to non-profit organizations, that could REALLY be cut back! The salaries paid to some federal/state/non-profit (tax-payer employees so to speak) are way over the top!
    One bigger sponge that strips too much money from our governmental monies are simply people who think the government should give them money and assistance to live (and I’m not referring to those who deserve and or need it such as the eldery and disabled)! Do they not know, or do they just not care, that the assistance they receive is being paid by everyone that pays taxes (or in most recent cases, the assistance is causing the US to go into greater debt because the money is either being borrowed or created and charged as a debt)!

    About the “energy exploration” that our new Governor and others seem so excited about…who really knows how devastating that could be for NC’s geological future?! And, what could it do to our water sources? Water is TOO precious (in more than once sense). Once holes are drilled into the deep core of our state, there is no stopping the after affects of nature on fault lines, etc.. Let’s try to reduce the need for gas and fuel, not think that energy exploration is the best way for our state to add more jobs and think this is going to lower our dependence on foreign fuel! Focus more on OTHER natural resources – sun and wind for example.
    In general, more people living in America need to try to think of what they each could do to make this a better place to live!
    Love, be kind, and share with one another. Don’t create a life (child) unless you truly intend to love and cherish (and have some kind of means to support, other than governmental support) that child!

  2. beezit says:

    Great idea…borrow more money…