Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Nation's Mayors Exasperated With Congress

The US Conference of Mayors is meeting in Washington, and expressing their disgust with the ongoing spending cuts that leave their cities firmly mired in the ongoing economic crisis.

New York Times:

Only 26 of the nation’s 363 metropolitan areas had recovered their lost jobs by the end of 2011, and only 26 more are projected to recover them by end of this year, according to the report, which was commissioned by the United States Conference of Mayors. It will take at least five years for the 80 hardest-hit areas to recover the jobs they lost, the report forecast.


Not only has Congress failed to overcome partisan gridlock to agree on a way to created much-needed jobs by spending more money on infrastructure, mayors said, but even the small sources of federal support that cities rely on — whether the Community Development Block Grants that were devised by Republican administrations in the 1970s or more recent federal programs that help struggling cities pay for more police officers or firefighters — are being scaled back as Washington has made cutting the deficit a priority.

Now, here's a thought:

Mayor James Brainard of Carmel, Ind., a Republican, said that the country must get to a point where it spends less than it collects in revenues, but that it must be done over years, carefully.

“We have to recognize that it can’t be done in one year without throwing us into a huge, much worse depression than we’ve had,” he said. “It needs to be a multiyear plan that doesn’t create terrible hardship.”

The report commissioned by the mayors can be found here.

The opening lines of the introduction:

No one has been hit harder by the Great Recession than the 8.8 million Americans who have lost their jobs during the most significant economic downturn in generations.

Our nation’s mayors are focused on doing everything we can to help the jobless, the underemployed, and those worried about losing their jobs.

That kind of concern is a real contrast to all the unemployed bashing we've seen by members of Congress and the presidential candidates. Let's hope that folks in Washington are paying attention while the mayors are in town.

cross-posted at MainSt/

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