Bob Herbert Is Shrill

Apparently the lack of ideas to drive job creation is something of a buggaboo for Herbert.

A massive long-term campaign to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure — which would put large numbers of people to work establishing the essential industrial platform for a truly 21st-century American economy — has not seriously been considered. Large-scale public-works programs that would reach deep into the inner cities and out to hard-pressed suburban and rural areas have been dismissed as the residue of an ancient, unsophisticated era.

We seem to be waiting for some mythical rebound to come rolling in, magically equipped with robust job creation, a long-term bull market and paradise regained for consumers.

It ain’t happening. …

The Obama administration seems hamstrung by the unemployment crisis. No big ideas have emerged. No dramatically creative initiatives. While devoting enormous amounts of energy to health care, and trying now to decide what to do about Afghanistan, the president has not even conveyed the sense of urgency that the crisis in employment warrants.

Urgency is most certainly needed, but beyond urgency — which, last time it was present about a year ago resulted in a massive bailout for Wall Street speculators who created the financial crisis — we need a commitment to infrastructure and to creating real jobs on real projects that improve the quality of life in America. Trying to do this on the cheap, with money going to the private sector but no public works, will not create jobs nor will it solve the looming infrastructure crisis of a country that runs on systems that are nearly 100 years old or more.

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