We need jobs, not just unemployment insurance
Ohio Republican Gov. George Voinovich’s guest commentary on Politico.com puts the unemployment situation, especially in our hard-hit construction industry, into perspective.
The road to jobs
Congress narrowly approved yet another unemployment insurance extension, but my colleagues on the other side of the aisle continue to miss the forest for the trees.
Instilling certainty into the economy by providing relief to the unemployed is important. But creating sustainable jobs is where this debate should be focused.
Over the past two years, our nation borrowed $123 billion to pay for unemployment insurance extensions, our national debt increased by almost $4 trillion, and Democrats passed a $2 trillion health care bill and a stimulus bill now estimated by the Congressional Budget Office to cost $860 billion. In spite of all this spending, people are asking, “Where are the jobs?”
Most Americans would rather have a job than collect unemployment insurance. Let’s stop kicking the can down the road and work together on creating jobs — particularly since the answer actually lies on that road — by passing a robust surface transportation reauthorization bill.
A multiyear transportation bill that is paid for would be a real economic stimulus and create immediate jobs. The Transportation Department estimates that for every $1 billion the federal government invests in highways and bridges, 34,800 jobs are created or maintained. Highway projects worth more than $47 billion are ready to go, according to state departments of transportation.
But President Barack Obama is doing nothing to get these projects off the ground. This year, 21 states have indicated that they are likely to be forced to reduce transportation investments because of Washington’s inaction.