Commentary: A New American Work Force | KERA News

Commentary: A New American Work Force

Dallas, TX –

As President Obama prepares to unveil his plans for job creation and economic growth, commentator Tom Dodge offers some ideas of his own.

We could alleviate the unemployment problem through a government-corporation alliance project requiring no new taxes. The funding would come from a combination of the military and participating Fortune 500 companies, which would fund the civilian jobs.

Cessation of the two current wars could provide over $150 billion. Recalling the combat troops, plus the reassignment of overseas nation-building forces, and a percentage of other military personnel, could provide a domestic nation-building military force without extra cost to the taxpayers.

While unemployment is high, corporate profits abound. The Fortune 500 website lists Wal-Mart at the top with earnings last year of $421.9 billion and Exxon Mobil number two at $354.7 billion. The total annual earnings for the top ten companies approaches two trillion dollars. The total income when the other 490 are included would have made my calculator explode.

Why can't these five hundred companies, and others, partner with the U.S. government in a patriotic endeavor to make America safe and solvent at the same time by helping fund quasi-military jobs here at home? Such a cooperation occurred in 1942 with great success, when military and civilian workers constructed the two thousand mile long Alaska-Canada Highway in less than a year.

One half the military personnel redeployed to domestic service plus a million corporate-funded jobs paying $20,000 a year would cost the corporations $20 billion annually. Low salaries but since workers would receive all the military benefits, housing, food, medical coverage, I believe that unemployed Americans would stand in line for them, all of them then paying into Social Security. Workers choosing to use their GI Bill after completing their two or four-year projects, would make a more employable work force in the future.

This cooperative effort could build high-speed intra-and inter-city rail systems, overpasses, tunnels, underpasses, terminals, and trainyards. When completed, many of these operations, such as the railroad, could even make a profit for the corporate stockholders.

In addition to repairing our aging infrastructure, the redeployed military could protect our ports and shores, our public buildings, monuments, and government facilities, also said to be vulnerable to erosion and attack.

To hear the president offer such a plan would make a lot of people happy this Labor Day. The time has come to nation-build at home, for constructive rather than destructive purposes.

Tom Dodge is a writer from Midlothian.

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