How to put half a million people to work, RIGHT NOW

Face it.  Unemployment is insane at over 10%.  We need to do something about it, and we need to do it fast, or else Sarah Palin will be telling Barack Obama in 2012, “It’s the economy, stupid”.  Wow.  Wouldn’t that be ironic.

In Oregon, where the ProudLiberal is, as well as in New Jersey, we have special programs.  It’s called “you can’t pump your own gas”.  It has to be done by someone else.  An employee of a gas station.  Someone who is paid, specifically to take your payments, and pump your gas.  it’s not a horrible job, though the weather is not always cooperative.  But it’s also a job that anyone, from a Harvard educated MBA to an 8th grade middle school drop out can do.  So we got that going for us.

There are over 115,000 gas stations in the United States, according to a 2008 estimate.  Most of those are going to be opened a good portion of the day – say two shifts.  And good thought that you are going to have to have at least four people to cover a week, plus one more to cover for vacations.  So, that is 115,000 stations times at least 5 people.  That comes out to 460,000 jobs.  Jobs that could be created TOMORROW if we just went mandatory full-service gas (including truck stops and commercial service stops) all across the United States.

Two caveats.  First, we have to pull out Oregon and New Jersey from the 460,000.  However, I think that it would probably balance out, with the mega-gas stations that exist out there, and making commercial gas stations full service as well.

Second caveat is the thought, “But that will drive up the price of gas!”.  Okay – let’s look at reality here.  Oregon, which is full service only, is currently at $2.867 per gallon.  Washington, right next door, is currently at $2.973 per gallon.  What was your argument again?

Half a million people, back at work and getting paid, will be paying into unemployment for the rest of us.  They’ll be paying taxes again for our needed infrastructure.  And the boon in construction jobs associated with building out-buildings at some gas stations will be that much better.

Let’s get to work!

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