ABC’s Jobs Solution: ‘Spend and Build,’ a ‘Stimulus Program as Big as the One That Was Launched in World War II’

In the midst of the failure of President Obama’s $800 billion or more “stimulus spending” program, ABC on Friday night asserted the solution to the devastating report, of zero jobs created in August, is...more stimulus spending. Since “the debt, say most economists, is only a long-term concern and the U.S. can borrow money right now at practically no interest,” reporter Jim Avila contended the federal government “should launch a stimulus program as big as the one that was launched in World War II.”

Avila insisted “the non-political, overwhelming answer from a dominant majority of economists” as to what the government should do “is spend and build. Roads, bridges, schools. A $200 billion a year investment would produce two million jobs and lower unemployment by a point.”

Fill-in World News anchor Josh Elliott, fresh from ESPN, chimed in with agreement: “Yeah, that’s a historic problem demanding an equally historic solution.”

Such amazing certainty as to producing “two million jobs.” For Avila’s “dominant majority of economists” his story only cited two, both, of course liberals: Ross Eisenberry, a Clinton administration political appointee at the Labor Department who is now VP of the liberal Economic Policy Institute, and Gary Burtless of the left-of-center Brookings Institution.

From the Friday, September 2 World News with Diane Sawyer:

JOSH ELLIOTT: And now, to Wall Street, where stocks took a nose dive. The Dow Industrial Average dropping by more than 250 points, all the gains from the week wiped out in a single day. So, what triggered the sell off? Well, a brutal jobs report. We learned today that in the month of August, hiring flat lined. Not a single job was added. Zero job growth for the first time in nearly a year. And the nation's unemployment rate, stubbornly stuck at 9.1 percent. So, we asked ABC's Jim Avila to talk to the best and the brightest about just what can be done to jump start hiring and where the jobs are now.

JIM AVILA: It is not totally hopeless. There are jobs out there. Look at this sign. A San Antonio, Texas boss, hiring living wage, full benefit workers.

MAN: They’re full time and we start them at $11.

AVILA: Benefits?

MAN: Absolutely.

AVILA: So, what can you do to get a job like this now? Get trained. The good news is that it doesn't take a college degree. What it takes is trade school. And willingness to dirty your hands.

MAN: Manufacturing has a bad image. Everyone thinks it's dirty, dull, dead-end work.

AVILA: But manufacturing is a growth industry, hiring in America. So is health care. Computers, too. I.T. personnel in demand. Still, across the board, not enough companies are hiring to bring down the unemployment rate. So, what can government do? The non-political, overwhelming answer from a dominant majority of economists is spend and build. Roads, bridges, schools. A $200 billion a year investment would produce two million jobs and lower unemployment by a point.

ROSS EISENBREY, VP, ECONOMIC POLICY INSTITUTE: That's the worst jobs crisis that we've had since the Great Depression. And the government needs to step in. No one else is going to do it.

AVILA: What else? Pay businesses to hire. A $10,000 tax incentive on each new worker is projected to mean six million jobs.

GARY BURTLESS, ECONOMIST, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: Persuading people and rewarding people who add to their payrolls.


AVILA: Finally, what can businesses do? Right now, the corporate world is sitting on nearly $2 trillion in cash. But no one believes corporations are going to start hiring until they see growing demand for their products.
           
BURTLESS: The private sector, on its own, is not growing fast enough to motivate businesses to add to their payrolls or make big new investments.

AVILA: And that is why there is such pressure for something big from government. The debt, say most economists, is only a long-term concern and the U.S. can borrow money right now at practically no interest, so they should launch a stimulus program as big as the one that was launched in World War II. Josh.

ELLIOTT: Yeah, that’s a historic problem demanding an equally historic solution. Thank you, Jim.

Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center