Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
I just skimmed the remarks by the President on the dreadful monthly jobs report that Mollie and Rob have already discussed in detail below. The first thing to jump out at me:
I believe that we can make things better. How we respond is up to us. There are a few things that we can and should do, right now, to redouble our efforts on behalf of the American people.
Let me give you some examples. Right now, there are over a million construction workers out of work after the housing boom went bust, just as a lot of America needs rebuilding. We connect the two by investing in rebuilding our roads and our bridges and our railways and our infrastructure. And we could put back to work right now some of those construction workers that lost their jobs when the housing market went bust.
President Obama claims that we have a million construction workers out of work as a direct result of the “housing boom [going] bust,” which is probably accurate, if not an understatement. One of the hardest hit industries during this recession, the unemployment rate among construction workers as of this month is 15.6 per cent, 6.4 per cent higher than the national unemployment rate. As housing starts remain low, recovery in this industry is likely to be slow-going.
Obama’s solution to this industry’s high unemployment rate is to put a million highly specialized and unemployed roofers, tile setters, cabinet makers, trim carpenters, painters, plasterers, stucco masons, drywall installers, plumbers, and electricians back to work building roads and bridges and railroads. Either the man is clueless about how everything outside of Washington works, or he thinks Americans are so stupid as to be fooled by this type of rhetoric. The idea that the man who sets bathroom tile can be put to work building a bridge is nearly as ludicrous as proposing that an unemployed attorney go find work building a road.
One other point worth noting: a very small number of giant companies like Granite Construction, Bechtel, and Peter Kiewit Sons’ take on the roads/bridges/railroads projects. The labor force of these companies is highly unionized. In contrast, the labor force hardest hit by the housing bust is largely non-union. That the focus of the President’s jobs platform is on projects within the jurisdiction of Big Union is no coincidence. Just days after the AFL-CIO submitted its “Where are the jobs?” Tweet to Obama’s Twitter Town Hall, the President is apparently feeling pressure to deliver.