|Money, Labor, Building, and Creativity|
What Can We Do About That Now?
The Build Act
Text (c) Russ Barnes
WASHINGTON, DC, June 8, 2011. The participants were bi-partisan. Republican and Democrat. Labor and business. United to plan a fix for the eleven year slide in American employment and productivity, let alone building a new America. The legislation being introduced into Congress is called the "Build Act."
Today, in almost 100 degree weather, I went to a public affairs conference I liked. Senators John Kerry (D) Massachusetts, Kay Bailey Hutchison (R) Texas, and Mark Warner (D) Virginia stumped for a concept called the National Infrastructure Bank for a solution to America’s dilemmas.
The conference was brisk, snappy, on target, and on-time. Business, labor, politics together front and center. It was also friendly. It was sponsored by The Atlantic.
NATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE BANK
"Doubt" is what is the hobgoblin here. Senator Kerry pointed out that "Doubt" -- in the world about America's capacity to re-make itself, "Doubt" -- about our capacity to deliver goods and services, "Doubt" -- which affects everything from jobs here at home to our U.S. foreign relations policy -- is what we urgently need to confront here.
Capital, here and abroad, is waiting for us. Valuable labor waits for us here at home. Capital, money, jobs are all waiting here for us to act., Kerry pointed out. If we don't, it will all go elsewhere.
CREATIVITY AND EMPLOYMENT
Senator Hutchison spoke about creativity. She spoke about research. She spoke about how a new American middle class must embrace the development of knowledge in order to come into new wealth. She described a desalinization project for parched El Paso, Texas that saved millions of dollars through a creative solution based on bold research at our universities. Such creativity, she said, saves money while building infrastructure.
DIFFERENT SORTS OF MONEY
There seems to be a difference between what you save for the future and what you have to spend now to bring in the groceries. There is a balance between the two. One is capital spending and the other is operational spending. Senator Warner made this financial distinction clear.
This is my quick report on The Atlantic conference. In another venue and format, I will be doing interviews on employment, creativity, and wealth formation in Texas that could be a model for the rest of the nation.
Stay tuned. Your opinions appreciated.
-- Russ Barnes