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Worcester Labor Group Says State Jobs Plan Won’t Work

Saturday, October 06, 2012

 

Local employment advocates said new recommendations from the Massachusetts Jobs Creation Commission fail to address the real issues plaguing the state's economy.

After a year and a half of monthly meetings and regional hearings to investigate the state's economy and develop a framework for the creation and retention of jobs throughout the Commonwealth, the commission offered four main strategies for the tough work of getting Bay Staters back to work.

Making Hiring Easier

Increasing demand for goods and services produced in Massachusetts, increasing the state's investment in infrastructure, supporting public educational institutions and developing education and training that matches with the skills required for new jobs and building an extensive and coordinated system of workforce training programs and job search resources were the top priorities to come out of the Jobs Creation Commission's report.

“We must remain steadfast in our commitment to supporting our economy, our business community, and our workforce," said State Senator Karen Spilka (D-Ashland), co-chair of the commission.

"This report is a truly bipartisan, collaborative effort between the public and private sectors and I look forward to continuing this partnership as we take active steps to implement our recommendations to ensure long-term economic growth and job creation throughout the Commonwealth.”

Fellow co-chair and State Representative Joseph Wagner (D–Chicopee) said that while the state has a number of economic strengths, good public policy and continued investment are necessary to keep Massachusetts ahead.

“Focusing our efforts on the key priorities identified in this report will position the Commonwealth well for continued growth.”

Missing the Mark

"These are all important issues but they're peripheral to the Jobs Creation Commission's stated purpose," said Christopher Horton of the Worcester Unemployment Action Group (WUAG).

"None of these things actually produce jobs."

According to Horton, by focusing primarily on what the Commonwealth can do for corporations to induce them to produce more jobs, the commission's recommendations miss the mark.

"The private sector is not generating jobs," he said.

"There isn't enough demand from the people in terms of available money to spend to make them think they can make a profit by investing in producing real goods and services - so instead the trillions of dollars they are sitting on gets invested in speculative bubbles."

Horton and the other members of the WUAG argue that the key to economic recovery is public sector job creation, with the government employing people to do long overdue and utterly necessary work on infrastructure and other public and shared resources.

In order for the plan to work, Horton said, the money to pay those workers needs to come from the top.

"If I tax away $10 million from the working people who would have taken that money and spent it directly and immediately on goods and services and I use it to hire them, I haven't increased aggregate demand for workers," he said.

"However, if I take the same $10 million from the super rich and the big corporations and spend it on real useful projects, real job creation happens - $2 increase in pay for every $1 spent."

As more people get back to work in the public sector, their spending will in turn drive an expansion in the private sector. At that point, the Jobs Creation Commission's recommendations, if implemented, could make it easier for businesses to expand and hire more workers. 

But either way, said Horton, public sector hiring needs to be the first step. 

 

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