Shovel-Ready Isn’t Enough


I spent most of the weekend watching debate in the Senate on the stimulus bill, or listening to people talk about the debate on the stimulus bill. I know I am suffering from stimulus bill overload, but before I go stick my head in an ice bucket, I want to make the following points.

First, it makes no sense to say “This isn’t a stimulus bill – it’s a spending bill!” Stimulus is spending. Period.

Second, we are in deep trouble and it’s going to last a long time. The criticism that some funds spent under the plan won’t hit the economy until 2010, or 2011, or 2012, is no criticism. We’ll need it then, too.

Third, the plan must do more than fund “shovel-ready” projects, i.e. those in construction and physical infrastructure. The labor force is engaged in a significantly wider range of fields, industries, and services. Women, about 46% of all workers, tend not to work so much in construction and engineering. The plan as designed will provide between 3 to 4 million jobs, and its drafters project that 42% of the jobs created will be filled by women. Efforts to limit the bill to funds for immediate projects building schools, bridges, and highways will render it ineffective – not to mention, in effect, discriminatory and unfair.

The stimulus bill needs to be passed, and quickly too. Last week’s unemployment figures show that help is needed immediately, if not sooner. The Senate should stop talking and start voting.

Now….where’s that ice bucket?


  • MojoMom

    Here, here. Infrastructure includes human services, not just bridges. The day-to-day human caregiving is just much less visible. Stereotypically, men build skyscrapers, and women clean them, but both types of work are essential.