Over half a million people lost their jobs last month. There's no question we need a job-creation plan. The real question is what kind of plan will most quickly stimulate the economy and at the same time provide the best long-term investment for our nation.
Let's urge President Obama and Congress to use the American Recovery and Reinvestment Job-Creation Plan to massively invest in our human infrastructure: that is, in human capacity development. Investment in our material infrastructure (bridges, roads, etc.) and our natural infrastructure (green jobs, etc.) is certainly important. But study after study shows that when our nation invests in its people, starting in childhood, the economic benefits are enormous.
By creating, subsidizing, and providing training for jobs in childcare, early education, healthcare, eldercare, and other "caring industries," as well as supporting caring work in homes, we quickly stimulate the economy, help families, radically reduce poverty and violence, reward women's economic contributions, save billions in crime and prisons - and develop the "high quality human capital" needed for our post-industrial economy.
Our economic crisis is an opportunity to lay foundations for a sustainable and equitable economic system instead of just trying to patch up an economy based on unsustainable consumerism, unsustainable consumer debt, and unsustainable environmental practices. The current economic meltdown is not due simply to the globalization of unregulated capitalism. The problem goes much deeper - and so must the solutions.
The financial return on investment in caring jobs and home activities is huge - and not accounted for in popular economic models circulating in Washington which, as shown by our economic crisis, encourage disastrous short-term market speculation. We need a new economics that really works - both in the short and long term.