AP says road projects from Stimulus haven't made a dent in unemployment

Oh my, is this story embarassing:

Ten months into President Barack Obama's first economic stimulus plan, a surge in spending on roads and bridges has had no effect on local unemployment and only barely helped the beleaguered construction industry, an Associated Press analysis has found.

Spend a lot or spend nothing at all, it didn't matter, the AP analysis showed: Local unemployment rates rose and fell regardless of how much stimulus money Washington poured out for transportation, raising questions about Obama's argument that more road money would address an "urgent need to accelerate job growth."

What a surprise! Firstly by refusing to do anything on offshore outsourcing or manufacturing moving overseas, it's no surprise these few jobs could have any real impact in comparison to a plant or factory closing in a local area. A few construction crews when the main employer just laid off 12,000 and moved to China, I don't think so.

Construction spending would be a key part of the Jobs for Main Street Act, a $75 billion second stimulus to revive the nation's lethargic unemployment rate and improve the dismal job market for construction workers. The House approved the bill 217-212 last month after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., worked the floor for an hour; the Senate is expected to consider it later in January.

AP's analysis, which was reviewed by independent economists at five universities, showed that strategy hasn't affected unemployment rates so far. And there's concern it won't work the second time. For its analysis, the AP examined the effects of road and bridge spending in communities on local unemployment; it did not try to measure results of the broader aid that also was in the first stimulus like tax cuts, unemployment benefits or money for states.

I don't think $75 billion for the nation's roads is enough money, but frankly if the Obama administration really wanted to create jobs real fast, governments would simply cancel all of the state and federal contracts which are offshore outsourced and move those jobs back. That's a zero cost to the U.S. taxpayer as well since they already pay for those services.

Another key thing would be to require all materials used are American made.

Finally, there are around 1.5 million guest workers in this country, supposedly here because there is a worker shortage. Get real on this, defy the lobbyists and temporarily at least, suspend these programs. We have a U6 of 17.3%!

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It is a drop in the bucket.

The whole is too deep for half-ass measures. I hate to use this metaphor but its applicable in this situation - part of [Collin] Powell Doctrine - when engaging in a war, such as one against unemployment, every resource and tool available should be used to achieve decisive force against enemy.

We held back on the stimulus. We didn't shoot for full employment. The excuse was that it wasn't politically feasible. A common excuse we are hearing from the Obama Administration. Translation: we lack the courage and the leadership to rally the country around such a stimulus plan and then ram it through congress.

Even, this $75 billion being proposed is weak.

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that's what I think too

It makes zero sense to me to dump in $787 billion dollars and not stop offshoring federal and state jobs. Those are already funded with tax dollars as it is.

It's like they have a garden hose to stop a fire with a whole fire department down the street which they refuse to call.

Again policy makers don't want to target full employment

so that is why they don't want to ban offshoring or 'buy american' provisions.

And what about some serious plan instead of just a shot gun approach to the stimulus.

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I think it's different motivation

India has put a lot of pressure and there is something going on that doesn't even make economic sense (the contracts are more expensive than just keeping the jobs) as well, so to bring back jobs obviously there will be cries of "protectionism" as well as breaking contracts, but I think somehow India's BPO industry (business process outsourcing), has somehow bribed governments in the first place.

So, I think it's corruption. Same with guest worker Visas. These things have been proved to be "offshore outsourcing" visas as well as obviously makes zero sense (there really is an unskilled labor shortage in the U.S.?) I think the unemployment rate in Silicon valley is about 11.8%. (a lot of technical people).....

so these are demanded by a host of special interests, esp. once again...the Indian BPO industry. I'm not sure exactly who is demanding H-2B (unskilled labor) Visas but the claim there is a shortage of unskilled labor is a very obviously incorrect claim at this point!

To me, this is a no-brainer to not use taxpayer funds to pay for offshore outsourced jobs.

For example, in NY, they fired teachers, earning about $43k a year and replaced them with contracts where the total cost was $250k/yr. Now obviously they did not use guest workers because it was a cost savings. (the guest worker doesn't get that money, it's the contract holder, the guest worker is probably earning more like $35k a year)

Wage suppression has been the dominant strategy

over the last 25 years. The best way to do that is through outsourcing, offshoring and destroying unions.

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yes as well as

sorry you guys but this is econ reality, use of guest worker Visas and illegal immigration and just plain flooding the labor market.

I believe meatpacking wages, used to be heavily unionized, about $25/hr and now it's loaded with illegals and the wage is the minimum wage.

Sorry, but this is true, in fact Harris Miller crafted the labor arbitrage strategy in the 80's to bust the Farm workers unions by using illegals.... and one has to deal with the facts on the ground. (this is part of the issue here, I think everyone on this site is Pro worker/Pro labor but if one denies what's happening, I don't see how anyone can fix anything).

Large corporations age discriminate in mass as well believing somehow (why I don't know) older workers cost more than younger ones. Ever see someone 60 who wasn't in the executive class working inside a large corporation?

I don't deny that but I don't blame the immigrant for wanting

to provide for his/her family. Sure, they came here 'illegally' but I would do the same thing for my family if faced with those circumstances. But that aside, why did immigrants flock here - better wages than their home country and a relatively open border.

It was POLICY - in this case unwritten and implicit.

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ok, see

nobody here is blaming the workers, including illegals. Not blaming guest workers either. This is EP so as far as I'm concerned we indeed can look at these realities, mention these things without apologies. I also banned the name calling from the site 100% because it's so impossible to mention any of this. It is labor econ 101 frankly and I do not believe the rules on labor supply have changed for 4000 years because some special interest groups wish it so.

So, yes of course, with a 50% unemployment rate and so on, plus the active recruitment going on (same in India via H-1B visas) S. of the border, no surprise someone would act in their best interest given the limitations of opportunity. That's just assumed (by labor econ itself as well, people would act in their own self-interest).

The point really is the use of various techniques to wage repress and arbitrage. Right now you mention this and one gets name called on "other sites"....

but blaming someone for acting in their own best interest? I don't think that would go on here either, it's a Simpson "doh" of course they would, anybody would.

I didn't mean to imply that you did blame workers but

many people do when talking about this topic. I certainly don't deny the effects of undocumented workers on supply of labor but my opinion on addressing this matter is quite different than say a Lou Dobbs.

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Pickin' on Lou

Look, that entire campaign against Lou Dobbs is bogus. It's generated by a host of special interests who, regardless of any economic realities, want anyone to be shut down who is against "comprehensive immigration reform". Seriously. There are so many outrageous behavior from others, such as Keith Olbermann to Glenn Beck, Lou was tame by comparison. The real motivation to attack Lou was because he brought public attention to a host of issues they don't want people to look at.

Not only did Lou not blame illegals, few even realize he is for some amnesty!

I watched Lou Dobbs every day and there were a few stories that make me cringe, but for the most part, he had on a host of great economists, talked about trade, offshore outsourcing, the lack of labor support and had also a host of politicians to give them voice, such as Bernie Sanders, Peter Defazio, Marcy Kaptur....

So, firstly one needed to see the actual show, now the "jump on the bandwagon" because somebody wrote some crap in a blog that really isn't accurate.

You know how I am aware of this campaign to shut down every single person talking about this via personal attack? Because I was on a conference call demanding all journalists as well as bloggers do this personal attack as a campaign. Pretty amazing! I did not say anything on that conference call, but what I found disgusting was no one, not a single person questioned such an agenda.

I'm sorry but EP is not available for personal attack via some marching orders from a few special interest groups. No way, no how. If the facts bear up on a topic, hey great, but if they do not, no way I want to be some tool for some special interest group, even if that group is identified as left.

speaking of Glenn Beck

sometimes I flip it on almost for a good laugh but he's produced a (cough, cough) "documentary" and it seems now he is trying to link the term Progressive to the massive Genocides of Stalin, Mao, as well as the Holocaust to the term Progressive.

Unreal. Of course before that they did a survey where only 65% of respondents guess that the Am. revolution happened in the 1770's.

Lots of flashy video techniques too.

Not to get back on track, but....

Arguing about the mindless "thousand points of confusion" they keep throwing at us (Is the prez for nat'l security or against?....Should amnesty be granted to undocumented workers recruited by corporations?... Is Corporate Leader Reid a racist?.......) is really simply a time-wasting and energy-consuming event they want us to be involved with.

The crucial point is wage suppression and a tax structure which has been restructured, at least beginning in 1966 (really before that), to favor the extremely wealthy and transfer monies from the working and middle classes to them.

Why 1966? Because the Revenue Act of 1914 established the financial transaction tax, which lasted until 1966 and was briefly doubled by FDR during The Great Depression. Further, we have a series of tax changes in the Nixon, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush and now Obama Administrations; all favoring the super-wealthy and stealing from the working people.

We've recently witnessed this stupid incident of that guy burning off his organ while feebly attempting to blow up an inbound airliner to Detroit. The crucial factor, to address what Mr. Oak previously mentioned, was that the majority of the American intel community has been (most expensively) privatized, thus acting far more incompentently at far greater pricing to the citizenry.

What should be focused on is the how and why of the suppression of wages: the disconnection between the minimum wage (which sets the standard for most wages above it in the next three tiers or so) and the productivity levels, which occurred during the George H.W. Bush administration.

There has been a continuum of these anti-worker (and by that I mean everyone making a standard salary below a quarter of a mil) activities dating back from the Johnson Administration.

And all this useless political babble does is make us forget and neglect that card choice which this administration promised to support and appears to have deep-sixed; and any real health reform, which this administration promised to support and has deep-sixed, and on and on and on......

(And now -- with this newest health insurance/health insurance industry subsidization -- they will add another tax on the wages of union workers when they are individually taxed on their health insurance policies.)

Forget those nattering nabobs, and please let us all focus on the econo-terrorism against us.

A key reason for EP to exist

you hit the nail on the head. Every day or at least for a 24 hour news cycle, someone picks something trivial and then beats it into the ground. I would say, for example, Sarah Palin is trivial. I often make up my own joke on these things in the fine print on the Sunday Morning Comics because you've hit the nail on the head, the entire cable news, the papers plus the blogosphere run on these fictional issues...meanwhile the real threat and you've named it, ecoterroism or the war against the U.S. working people and the national economy, is the real issue
and so often these things happen, never to be mentions on cable news or in the press. They are too busy with bubble boy or Michael Jackson or whatever the distraction du jour is.

I think I started EP when I saw over on dailykos the 101 posts on whether Obama's photo had been retouched to make him look darker and that was racist as if darker complexion is racist. That was enough for me!