The Chairman and CEO of Caterpillar said today that if the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passes, his company could rehire some of the 20,000 employees it has laid off in the last few weeks.
This could begin even before money from the Act starts flowing to stimulate the economy.
In Virginia today, at a road construction project, President Obama announced the Caterpillar statement. The road construction project was forced to stop because funds ran out. This prject and many others like it are expected to benefit from the financial flow released by the recovery act.
“Where we are standing, that could mean hundreds of construction jobs,” the President said. “And the benefits of jobs we create directly will multiply across the economy.”
Read a partial text of the President’s remarks:
Summary of Remarks By The President on Infrastructure, Fairfax County Parkway Connector Site, Springfield, Virginia
11:18 A.M. EST
February 11, 2009
We’ve passed a version of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan through the House. Yesterday, we passed a version through the Senate. Now we’ve got to get a final version to my desk – so that I can sign it and so that here in Virginia and across the country the people can use it.
In Virginia, the unemployment rate has surged to its highest level in more than a decade … Unemployment claims have doubled in recent months compared to last year. Nationwide, we’ve lost 3.6 million jobs since this recession began – nearly 600,000 this past month alone.
We’re here today because there’s a lot of work that needs to be done on our nation’s congested roads and highways, crumbling bridges and levees, and crowded trains and transit systems. Because we know that with investment, we can create transportation and communications systems ready for the demands of the 21st century – and because we also know what happens when we fail to make those investments.
Investing in massive infrastructure projects doesn’t put money in enough workers’ pockets.
So across the country, states need help. And with my plan, help is what they will get. My plan contains the largest investment increase in our nation’s infrastructure since President Eisenhower created the national highway system half a century ago. We’ll invest more than $100 billion and create nearly 400,000 jobs rebuilding our roads, our railways, our dangerously deficient dams, bridges and levees.
Here in Virginia, my plan will create or save almost 100,000 jobs, doing work at sites just like this one. Where we’re standing, that could mean hundreds of construction jobs. And the benefits of jobs we create directly will multiply across the economy.
Again, Obama and Congress are pinning their hopes on big infrastructure projects to fix the economy. That might have worked when a lot of manual labor was needed, but these days, the workers only see a small fraction of the money spent.
They are attacking the problem from the wrong angle. Politicians never learn. Maybe they don’t even care.