Cuts instituted by Congress for the 2011 fiscal year eliminate some 370,000 jobs, while endangering the public and delaying necessary repairs and infrastructure work that will only be more expensive to complete in the future, according to a new report from the Center for American Progress (CAP).
In “Creating Unemployment: How Congressional Budget Decisions Are Putting Americans out of Work and Increasing the Risk of a Second Recession,” CAP Senior Fellow Scott Lilly writes that the loss of these jobs will have ripple effects throughout the economy.
The jobs losses that are a direct result of those actions will have a secondary impact on a wide array of businesses ranging from automobile producers to local restaurants and dry cleaning establishments, causing the disappearance of a significant number of additional jobs.
Already, the cuts to local law enforcement programs—which were cut by $2.5 billion compared to the previous year—are having a negative effect, Lilly reports. As an example, he turns to one California city:
Despite concessions by police officers in San Jose, California to accept a 10 percent pay cut, 66 police officers were forced to turn in their badges in June because of city budget problems. The cuts came in the midst of a recent upsurge in homicides and other serious crimes in the city
Further, with an average 19 percent unemployment rate for construction workers, Congress cut much-needed building repair projects.
Congress could choose to put Americans back to work in ways that will ensure the safety of taxpayers in their communities. Or it could continue down the path toward greater unemployment and imperiling the lives and health of the people who elected them.
As AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said at this month’s Take Back the American Dream conference, right-wing politicians are intent on “ginning up this season’s version of ‘divide and conquer’ — set taxpayers against public employees.” If current trends prevail, taxpayers may soon have a taste of what life with too few public employees means for the country at large.
On Nov. 17, the union movement and our allies are rallying around a day of national action to demand “Jobs, Not Cuts.”
To download the ”Creating Unemployment: How Congressional Budget Decisions Are Putting Americans out of Work and Increasing the Risk of a Second Recession” in a PDF file, click here.