As expected, Republicans voted down President Obama’s Jobs Bill. What next? New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg is calling for a new WPA.
“The President’s plan — and, by the way, we wouldn’t have minded if it passed, I voted for it — has a lot of good things… but it doesn’t have the immediacy factor [of mine],” he said.
Lautenberg’s legislation, called the 21st Century WPA Act, wouldn’t be exactly like the WPA that gave Lautenberg’s own father a job during the Great Depression. Rather, it would award funding to projects that would give jobs to people unemployed for more than 60 days; have a continued economic benefit after their completion; and would devote a “high” portion of each dollar spent to employee pay. The legislation suggests — but does not limit departments to — a variety of projects, including the construction of water treatment plants, schools and firehouses, highway repairs and maintenance, building weatherization and trail maintenance.
I’m always a little amused by how people across the board, conservatives included, like the idea of a WPA. I think it’s because there’s living memory of how it saved people from poverty and desperation and put the country back to work. Not busy work, either. We still see WPA plaques, cite WPA research– the infrastructure built by the WPA is still sound. There’s WPA sidewalks in Lippit Park.
Lautenberg proposes a tax on millionaires. I always wonder why some call this kind of tax a ‘punishment’. Jeeze, I should be punished with a million or two a year and I won’t gripe about taxes since I don’t gripe about the taxes I pay now.
But consider– do not millionaires drive on streets? Do they not call the fire department when they have a fire? Do they not hire workers who went to public schools? I think they will get their money’s worth.