“First,” said Matthew Rousu, associate professor of economics at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, “to see long-term job growth, the government can’t be the one creating jobs. This has never worked for the U.S., and it won’t work now.”
For short-term growth, he said, the government can help, but the focus should be on jobs that employ lower-educated or blue-collar workers who have been disproportionately hurt by the recession.
“To make good use of tax dollars,” Rousu said, “the projects funded should give taxpayers something useful, preferably that lasts for many years. Once again, the Central Susquehanna Valley Thruway project seems like an ideal ‘stimulus’ project.”
An unconventional option would be to propose a decrease in the minimum wage, which, in Pennsylvania, is $7.25 an hour, Rousu said.
“The lowest-skilled workers have the highest unemployment rate,” he said. “A decrease in the minimum wage would make the lowest skilled workers, typically teenagers, more attractive to hire and would decrease the unemployment rate.”