Thanks for Shoveling My Crosswalk
New York City's Emergency Snow Laborer Program is municipal governance at its best. On days like today, when we've got too much snow for city sanitation workers to handle, New York hires ordinary residents at a rate of $12 an hour to shovel out crosswalks, fire hydrants, and bus stop waiting areas. The New York Times reports that during the city's last storm in December, 1,661 people shoveled over just three days.
By all reports, the program is efficient and quickly deployed. With the city's unemployment rate at 10.6 percent, the program offers jobless and underemployed New Yorkers badly-needed work and income. And city residents get a valuable service in exchange for our tax dollars.
Imagine that: an efficient, effective municipal program that puts jobless people to work at a living wage doing socially-useful tasks... Why isn't New York, and cities across the country doing more of this?