This week marks the one-year anniversary of the passage of the American
Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The annual report by the White
House task force monitoring the impact of ARRA funds, led by
Vice-President Joe Biden, finds that
up to 2.4 million jobs have been created or saved in both the public
and private sector as a result of federal recovery efforts.
Over 70 members of the House of Representatives vociferously opposed ARRA, but returned to their home districts to take credit for job creation, investments in infrastructure and the green economy, and spending on critical community needs. Many of these same lawmakers requested further federal funds for projects in their states.
In the State of the Union speech, President Barack Obama stated, "...jobs must be our number-one focus in 2010, and that's why I'm calling for a new jobs bill."
With the fiscal crisis forcing states to layoff hundreds of thousands
of teachers, nurses and police officers, the need for more federal job
creation and state fiscal relief support is clear. And there is
substantial momentum building around this issue in the states.
Gridlock. Slow fulfillment of promises of change in D.C. A health
care bill so compromised that even supporters are unhappy with many
details. Frustration with D.C. seemed to be the clearest message from Massachusetts voters on Tuesday. But what can we expect other than gridlock and resistance when a
59-seat super-majority in the U.S. Senate is insufficient to pass
serious legislation? Or when monied interests in D.C. buy off support
to block serious reforms on financial regulations, health care and
climate change legislation? This is why bold, progressive leadership in the states matters.
As this Dispatch will highlight, the first step is to fund jobs
that support long-term economic competitiveness, notably by investing
in people and physical infrastructure. While the economic climate for
profit-making business opportunities is more limited, investments in
education, health care, transit and energy efficiency can create
immediate jobs while strengthening building blocks for long-term
On Tuesday, December 8th, President Barack Obama delivered an address to the Brookings Institution on
the need for increased focus on the job crisis that is affecting so
many working families across the country.