I suppose the Seattle Times editorial board had no choice but to oppose the proposed construction jobs bond, as it's supported by unions, and the editors are contractually obligated to gainsay organized labor, no matter the issue. Or something. I just wish, in making their arguments, that they'd be a little more forthright with their readers:
Public debt should be for big, expensive things that are needed and that last a long time, like the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. Building bridges does create jobs, but creating jobs is not the right reason for building bridges. If that is the reason, it is likely to be a bridge the world can do without.
Yeah, but, the so-called "jobs bond" does not actually propose any new construction projects. It would merely speed up construction of projects—roads, bridges, schools, waste water treatment, etc.—that are already on the books, but for which we don't currently have the money to finance. These aren't bridges to nowhere, as the editors imply. These are infrastructure and maintenance projects that will all be built eventually, though at an ever higher cost, the longer we put them off.
Whether it's $1 billion or $2 billion, the jobs bond is all about timing, taking advantage of low interest rates and construction costs, while creating thousands of jobs at a time of high unemployment.
Yes, the state would be taking on more debt, and if the editors want to argue in favor of fiscal austerity, no matter the circumstances, have at it. But please don't mislead readers about what this debt would buy.