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January 21, 2008

On MLK Day, the question of jobs, housing, and infrastructure

Atlantic Yards Report

Well, where do we go from here (to quote the title of a King speech)? On Saturday, in a column headlined Good Jobs Are Where the Money Is, New York Times columnist Bob Herbert, taking off from the observation that the gap between rich and poor is ever-growing, observed:

Forget all the CNBC chatter about Fed policy and bargain stocks. For ordinary Americans, jobs are the be-all and end-all. And an America awash in new jobs will require a political environment that respects and rewards work and aggressively pursues creative policies designed to radically expand employment.

I’d start with a broad program to rebuild the American infrastructure. This would have the dual benefit of putting large numbers of people to work and answering a crying need. The infrastructure is in sorry shape. New Orleans comes to mind, and the tragic bridge collapse in Minneapolis.

The country that gave us the Marshall Plan to rebuild postwar Europe ought to be able, 60 years later, to reconstitute its own sagging infrastructure.

Herbert's point, extrapolated to Brooklyn, is that targeted government investment can turn the tide. The need for jobs and housing is far, far greater than the holy grail of the Atlantic Yards project.

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Posted by lumi at January 21, 2008 5:10 AM