In an interview to be aired Friday evening on Bloomberg Television, AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka tells interviewer AL Hunt that he is hoping President Obama will propose a jobs creation program amounting to $400 billion a year over the next ten years in order to get the country moving again.
“I am optimistic about it,” Trumka says in an advance transcript of his remarks supplied to Raw Story. “I’m hoping that he’ll be very bold, he’ll stand up for the American worker and say, ‘This is what needs to be done to fix the problem, and I’m going to fight for it.’”
Trumka supported his call for spending a total of $4 trillion with figures from a report, issued by the American Society of Civil Engineers, which stated that the United States needs to spend $2.2 trillion just to repair its aging infrastructure and another $2 trillion to bring that infrastructure into the 21st century.
Trumka noted that other measures, like tax credits for job creation, might “help around the edges, but they don’t create and give you the economic activity. … It has to be [combined] with other things.”
With a disappointing jobs report on Friday suggesting that the country may be slipping back into recession, the issue of employment appears to be taking on fresh urgency.
“It’s starting to fizzle,” Trumka said of the recovery. “It’s what we’ve been saying. You can’t focus on cut, cut, cut and manufacturing a debt crisis and not do anything to create jobs or spur the economy and expect this thing to grow. So we’re disappointed, but the consequences of the pretty radical political games that have been played up here, particularly in the House of Representatives, are starting to come home to roost right now.”
Trumka was more guarded in his response when asked whether he believes the president will come through as he hopes. Although expressing optimism, he also suggested more soberly that Obama “needs to take another course in bargaining to help out. All of us can stand to have our skills increased, including me. That would include him, too. I’d go with him [to school on bargaining].”
Muriel Kane is an associate editor at Raw Story. She joined Raw Story as a researcher in 2005, with a particular focus on the Jack Abramoff affair and other Bush administration scandals. She worked extensively with former investigative news managing editor Larisa Alexandrovna, with whom she has co-written numerous articles in addition to her own work. Prior to her association with Raw Story, she spent many years as an independent researcher and writer with a particular focus on history, literature, and contemporary social and political attitudes. Follow her on Twitter at @Muriel_Kane
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