Extend Jobless Benefits for Humanitarian Reasons: Zuckerman

Mort Zuckerman
Mort Zuckerman
Mort Zuckerman

Unemployment benefits should be extended for humanitarian reasons, billionaire businessman Mort Zuckerman told CNBC Monday.

“There could be, God knows, how many several million families who could be without the compensation that comes from being unemployed. The job market is an absolute disaster for people like this," said Zuckerman, chair of Boston Propertiesand editor in chief of US News & World Report and the [New York] Daily News.

“For humanitarian reason, I absolutely support the extension of it [jobless benefits].”

Zuckerman also said that the American dream has vanished for many middle-class families, who are struggling to hold on to their homes and jobs.

“I think we’ve lost faith in our political system, and it’s a very serious matter because we don’t think they [the politicians] are addressing the issues. The absolute key issue for millions of Americanfamiliesis jobs.”

The businessman said the government’s $800 billion stimulus plan has not worked because it didn’t focus enough on infrastructure, which would have generated jobs. He added that building infrastructure is the “highest job multiplier,” and it leaves an asset, either a new road or canal or bridge, for instance.

The stimulus program, he added, did include earmarks for some infrastructure, including projects promoted by Sen. Harry Reid, (D-Nev), and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, (D-Calif).

Zuckerman proposed that the nation develop an intelligent, long-term commitment to infrastructure, which would generate ongoing revenue by assessing tolls to the users of the highways and canals or other projects that are built through the program.

He also suggested a “national infrastructure bank” made up of professionals in the field, similar to the makeup of the Federal Reserve Board.