According to the Greater Houston Partnership (via Loren Steffy), Houston is projected to lose about 45,700 jobs in 2009. Most of these losses are projected to be in construction and the oil industry.
There is a very easy solution to this: freedom. Freedom allows individuals to act according to their own rational judgment, so long as they respect the mutual rights of others. Freedom unleashes creativity and allows individuals to pursue their dreams. Freedom allows individuals to take chances and create jobs.
The solution is not another government program, but less government. Houstonians have enjoyed more freedom than most cities, and our economy has prospered more than most cities. If Houston really wants to set an example and be a leader, it should begin repealing laws that restrict individual freedom.
Banning attention-getting devices will eliminate some jobs. Tagging taco trucks will eliminate some jobs. Prohibiting the construction of the Ashby High Rise will eliminate some jobs. Each of these government actions, and many others, will not eliminate large numbers of jobs. But in aggregate, the number will be significant. In good times, some may be willing to sacrifice jobs-- so long as it isn't their job.
In 2009 Houston has an opportunity to become the leading city in the world. In 2009 Houston has an opportunity to demonstrate that freedom is not only moral, it is practical. The way to do that is to create jobs. And the way to create jobs is by increasing individual freedom.