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Dan Agin

Dan Agin

Posted: November 4, 2010 01:02 PM

The facts are grim. With or without John Boehner's phony suntan or Barack Obama's phony empathy, the reality is that each year four million young people become 21 years of age, with only about three million seniors moving out of the workforce. At least 10 million people are already unemployed or underemployed, and about one million people a year are added to that number just by population growth. Job growth? We are currently losing jobs at the rate of about four million a year. Conclusion: Either some drastic action needs to be taken or we will soon go down the tubes.

The White House and Congress and the federal bankers, under the wings of the private bankers, industrialists, and big money families, apparently believe the only solution is pump-priming the financial sector with the hope that money will flow more freely to bring back good times. It may work and it may not work, and if it doesn't work you can kiss the happiness of your children and grandchildren goodbye.

But is pump-priming the financial sector really the only solution? Is there a better way to use a trillion dollars to get the economy moving again? There is indeed another solution, hardly discussed publicly, almost prohibited because it's politically explosive: Expand government.

Horrors! A bigger government? Well, the reality is that no one has yet demonstrated by example or rhetoric that it's possible to run a country of 320 million people with a small government, and you can guess that anyone who says it's possible is either dreaming or flying a right-wing propaganda kite. There is no inherent evil in big government -- and sometimes, like now, it may be necessary.

It was certainly necessary in the 1930s, and it reduced the misery of millions of people. Oklahoma is now a conservative state, but in the 1930s, when the Okies streamed out of Oklahama to find survival in California, Oklahomans wanted as much big government as possible.

The most reasonable way to get people back to work fast in this country today is to immediately (and temporarily) expand the federal government:

* Retake control of the Post Office and immediately begin mail deliveries twice a day and seven days a week. Result: Approximately one million new jobs.

* Begin a Federal Teachers Agency that hires school teachers, puts them on a federal payroll and distributes them as needed wherever they are requested by local school boards. Result: Approximately one million new jobs.

* Begin a Federal Craftsmen Agency that hires machinists, carpenters, and other skilled workers, puts them on a federal payroll and distributes them to small businesses that request them. Result: Approximately one million new jobs.

* Begin a Federal Information and Communications Specialists Agency that hires information and communications people, puts them on a federal payroll and distributes them to the information and communications industry (especially new startups) on request. Result: Approximately one million new jobs.

* Begin a Federal Construction Workers Agency that hires unskilled construction workers, road builders, bridge builders, tunnel builders, dam builders, puts them on a federal payroll and distributes them to the fifty states as requested. Result: Approximately three million new jobs.

* Begin a Federal Arts Agency that hires actors, artists, and writers, puts them on a federal payroll and distributes them to small-business commercial media on request. Result: Approximately one million new jobs.

* Begin a Federal Managers Agency that hires experienced office managers, puts them on a federal payroll and distributes them to medium and small businesses on request. Result: Approximately two million new jobs.

With a few more such federal agencies, we can reemploy the unemployed and underemployed and get the country moving again.

Can we afford it? Well, the reality is that providing 10 million new jobs at an average salary of $50,000 a year will cost the federal government only $500 billion a year -- much less than what Ben Bernanke thinks he needs to give the banks in a gamble that may not work. Instead of giving the money to banks, why not use the money to employ people?

Creating real jobs immediately will work. Once serious growth begins again, the Federal agencies can always be closed down.

Expanding government seems like a wild "socialist" scheme, but don't let the screaming on the right fool you. It worked in the 1930s, did not kill America, and it will work again.

Is this really "socialism"? Our current workforce is approximately 160 million people. If only 10 percent of our workforce is on the federal payroll, so what? Will Jehovah point his finger at us and lightening strike? Is it better for millions of people to stand in line at soup kitchens or better for them to have real jobs and real money to support themselves and their families?

Of course, if you're wearing $500 shoes you don't give a damn as long as your taxes are low. Feel safe, buddy. You will certainly benefit both materially and spiritually if other people have jobs.