Infrastructure jobs seen as key

Author: Jim Meenan

 As President Barack Obama gets ready to give a major speech to the nation on the economy Thursday, The Tribune asked some local business and economics experts what they think the government should do to get the economy to produce more jobs.

The group - consisting of Jeff Bergstrand, professor of finance at the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame; Chris Murphy, president and chief executive officer at 1st Source Bank; and Marty Wolfson, an economist and director of the Higgins Labor Studies Program at Notre Dame - discussed how any effort to create more jobs should include infrastructure improvements.

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Bergstrand of the Mendoza College of Business at Notre Dame said the most important thing that needs to be done is a transfer of funds to state and local governments.

“We know they’re running deficits and debt,” Bergstrand said. “They have to borrow money. Part of everything that’s going to be talked about Thursday night is going to have to be financed by increasing the debt.

“They have to issue that debt and transfer (funds) to the state and local governments to stop the hemorrhaging. That is by far the most important thing.”

The biggest source of unemployment over the last two years has been state and local governments, Bergstrand said, noting workers have been laid off and spending has been cut back because of a lack of tax revenues at the state and local level.

The move to transfer funds would stop the hemorrhaging, Bergstrand said.

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