According to the group's research, $46.4 billion would be needed to create one million state, local and federal jobs. Increased tax receipts and decreased benefits such as for unemployment insurance reduces the net cost of the jobs to $28.6 billion, the group argues.
The report said federal agencies could work with local governments on how the funds would be distributed.
Local communities would get to decide what responsibilities to give to the new workers, report author Philip Harvey said. He emphasized that the program's cost would be less expensive than extending all of the Bush-era tax breaks for two years and characterized the plan as “an updated version of the New Deal’s job creation strategy” during the Great Depression. His personal preference would be for the federal government to run the jobs program and take applications from localities to participate.
The think tank estimates that there are 29 million people in the U.S. in need of further employment. It released its report in conjunction with one from ProgressOhio that detailed the public jobs that could be welcomed in Ohio.
Draut and Harvey acknowledged that the plan has no chance of passage in Congress given the political environment in Washington, but said the think tank wants to get a conversation going.
“So far this option has not been on the table for debate,” Harvey explained.
“Obviously we realize that the politics of the moment make this very difficult,” Draut said.