There is a full throttle mayoral race going on right now in Los Angeles. Four major candidates are vying to succeed current Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who finishes his second term on June 30. Each of these candidates is asserting more forcefully than the next that she (or he) will be both a “fiscal watchdog” and “helpful to business.”
But can political leaders honestly be both “fiscal watchdog” and “helpful to business,” at least in the way that government leaders typically think of those things? On one hand, many leaders argue that we need to cut the pensions and health benefits of public employees and keep public services lean and mean. On the other hand those same political leaders advocate for cutting business taxes and giving away large subsidies to big developers who promise simply to “create jobs,” with few if any strings attached.
It seems like a hopeless conundrum. We need our government – federal state and local – to stimulate the economy and help create jobs. But our government has no money. Or at least less money. So does that mean that it’s foolish – or unfair – to insist that our local, state and governments do “something” to create more and better jobs for people who desperately need them?
Well, no. In fact, there is a lot that our government can do to double or triple the number of jobs that are being created in the US with the same or similar amounts of money. We just have to do things in a smarter and more strategic way to get much better results. (more…)
Madeline Janis is co-founder and National Policy Director of the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE). She had previously served as Executive Director of LAANE. LAANE has long worked as an influential leader in the effort to build a new economy based on good jobs, thriving communities, and a healthy environment. Among other achievements, Madeline led LAANE’s historic campaign to pass the Los Angeles living wage ordinance, which then became a model throughout the country. From 2002 – 12, she served as a Commissioner on the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency.