Seventy-two percent of Americans say they support spending government money to put people to work on urgent infrastructure repairs, according to a new survey by Gallup. The same number say they would support a law that would spend government money to create 1 million new jobs. Over 90 percent of Democrats, about 70 percent of independents, and a majority of Republicans support these job creation policies.
While an earlier poll showed higher support for these policies when government spending wasn’t mentioned, the increase was only three to five percentage points, which “suggests Americans’ support for job creation outweighs concerns they may have about government spending,” Gallup concludes. Nearly 80 percent also support lowering taxes for businesses and manufacturers who create jobs in the U.S.
Recent bridge collapses are just one symptom of the need to invest in U.S. infrastructure. The country got an overall D+ grade from the American Society of Civil Engineers. To raise that grade to a B, it would need to spend $3.6 trillion on upgrades by 2020, yet it is only expected to spend about $1.6 trillion. If that gap in spending isn’t closed, the country will not just risk unsafe infrastructure but lose $3 trillion in GDP and 3.5 million jobs.
Meanwhile, the unemployment rate still stands at 7.6 percent. Instead of spending more money to get the economy going, the U.S. has turned to austerity, which has reduced GDP and lowered the outlook for growth.
The stimulus bill in 2009 made needed investments in infrastructure while turning the economy around during the Great Recession. President Obama proposed the American Jobs Act in 2011, which would have made further infrastructure investments, but it has been repeatedly blocked by Republicans in Congress.