Who Hijacked Our Country

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Jobs, Stupid!

Later this week, Obama is expected to take a short break from playing Hamster-In-A-Treadmill with his health reform battle. There’s another even more urgent fire that needs to be put out — the 10% Plus (and climbing) unemployment rate.

There’ll be a jobs forum at the White House this Thursday. People taking part in the forum include: Google CEO Eric Schmidt, Disney CEO Bob Iger, economists Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman and various labor leaders.

Let’s hope he listens to Paul Krugman in particular. His November 29th column has some good advice for Obama.

He says Obama needs to create an “emergency jobs program.” Instead of passing another gargantuan stimulus package and then waiting and waiting for something to trickle down, Obama needs a “somewhat cheaper program that generates more jobs for the buck.”

Federal aid to state and local governments should accomplish this. At the very least it would prevent vital services — and jobs — from being eliminated. He also should create a smaller-scale version of FDR’s Works Progress Administration (WPA). This would create a lot of jobs (even if they’re low-paying) at relatively low cost. According to the Economic Policy Institute, spending $40 billion a year for three years would create a million jobs.

The Economic Policy Institute also recommends a tax credit for employers who increase their payrolls.

His column ends with “Yes, we can create more jobs — and yes, we should.”

Obama is in a tough position. The Right hates him because he’s just seconds away from imposing a Socialist Communist Fascist police state on this once-free nation. And the Left hates him because he hasn’t done jack shit.

In a related story, forty percent of Democrats say they aren’t going to bother voting in the 2010 election. Democratic political leaders are still a lot more popular with the public than their Republican counterparts. But with Republican voters three times more likely than Democrats to vote next year — things could get interesting.

But there’s still hope. Maybe the Republican Purity Test will get those moderate centrist RINOs out of their “big tent” once and for all. Get that spineless pussy Newt Gingrich out of the party and replace him with a Real American. Republican voters: if the Republican candidate isn't far enough to the Right for you, vote for a third party candidate. That'll show 'em!

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12 Comments:

Blogger Lew Scannon said...

What America needs is to regain it's manufacturing base. Temporary government jobs will only create temporary recovery. But unfortunately, America traded it's manufacturing so it could buy cheap Chinese Christmas present at WalMart. Like the song goes Foreman says these jobs are going son, and they ain't coming back.

December 1, 2009 at 2:48 PM  
Blogger Holte Ender said...

Agree with Lew, temporary jobs begets temporary recovery. Infrastructure is still temporary, but vital. After the Minnesota bridge collapse tests showed lots of bridges all over the country will need maintenance pretty soon, road repairs, I-95 is a mess in spots, tax breaks for small businesses that hire, there is a myriad of ways without resorting to a cash for clunkers type of stimulus.

December 1, 2009 at 4:41 PM  
Anonymous Jess said...

Exactly about jobs is what next year will be. The conservation corps is another jobs vehicle they could shore up. We have money to fund banks, Wall st and wars but nothing for workers losing jobs. I am about tired of these dems I can tell you. I am in that 40% right now Tom. I don't know if I can stomach them having a majority, when they are not willing to use it to get things done for the American people.

December 1, 2009 at 6:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw also in another report that the CEO of AT&T was going to be part of this summit. AT&T You mean when I call Customer service I get India is going to be there? I have no doubt some of the other invitees also outsource.

When Obama was running for Office he wanted to end Tax breaks for American Companies that outsource. Maybe he needed them online for the Health Care bill but this is the time to let them have it!

I get tired of high unemployment (for which I am a part of) and when I call a company that outsources I am reminded that these were decent paying jobs (especially tech support) that were exported for no other reason then to save money and still get tax breaks as an American Company.

I also recommend Paul Krugman's Book "Conscience of a Liberal" the first book I read of this generation that puts some dollars and references to the liberal thought!

Erik

December 1, 2009 at 8:32 PM  
Blogger Randal Graves said...

Yeah, low-paying jobs are what hard-working Real Americans want. If you filthy hippies didn't hoard all the livin' large Wall Street gigs, then maybe the working man and woman could actually get ahead for once.

December 2, 2009 at 8:09 AM  
Anonymous Thomas said...

The issue is not just with creating jobs but with creating full employment and with increasing the per capita labor capital.

A WPA type organization would be great if it included jobs other than basic labor and if it included some sort of higher education subsidy.

It's no accident that many of our country's greatest and most successful public works were conceived and constructed in times of economic hardship.

December 2, 2009 at 9:47 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Lew: Right now I think a temporary recovery is better than nothing. If the economic "experts" are right (that's a big IF), the economy is slowly recovering but it'll take awhile for unemployment to come down. These temporary makework jobs should tide people over until the recovery takes effect.

Holte: Infrastructure is a perfect example. With all the roads and bridges that need repair, and people out of work -- it should be a nobrainer. Obama was talking about that exact thing last winter, but apparently nothing ever came of it.

Jess: The Conservation Corps is another good example. Fuck Wall Street; this money needs to go to real people.

Erik: Tax breaks for companies that outsource jobs -- another brilliant legacy from Dumbya's presidency. Obama needs to end that yesterday.

Paul Krugman's columns are great; I should check out that book.

Randal: Damn right, I've had it up to here with those Wall Street hippies.

Thomas: You're right that "many of our country's greatest and most successful public works were conceived and constructed in times of economic hardship." And right now we have a crumbling infrastructure and millions of people out of work. What's Obama waiting for?

And it's true that our education system has deteriorated beyond recognition.

December 2, 2009 at 2:07 PM  
Anonymous Bee said...

I would love to see some manufacturing in this country again. I WANT to buy the Union label, I WANT to buy american, but there ain't a damned thing but tighty-whities and the occasional sock being made here. Agree with Holte & Lew - temporary fix, future problems.

December 2, 2009 at 4:51 PM  
Anonymous Daniel said...

Ok. Here is the thing. All you want from government is temporary involvement in the business world. The idea is the government is the buyer of last resort. When everyone stops spending money, the government is the only player big enough to make a difference in the broad economy. So when the government spends extra money on infrastructure and public work jobs, money flows into the econmy and jobs are created.

This should only last until aggragate demand picks up and businesses start to hire again to meet that demand. At this point the government should go to surplus spending in order to get back the extra money they put into the economy to get it to recover.

As for tax cuts for businesses, the problem now is that no one is spending money. Giving businesses incentives to make more things people are not going to buy may not be the answer.

December 2, 2009 at 6:28 PM  
Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

Tom, I wish Obama would hold a summit on righting the economy where he and Krugman are the only participants.

Lew couldn't be more correct about getting our manufacturing base back. It was pie-in-the-sky crazy to assume we could have a "service economy" and remain strong and prosperous. To think the biggest single force in our economy, the backbone of growth, etc., could be the financial industry is even crazier. Pushing brooms and making beds does not a solid, growing middle class make. Pushing money around doesn't grow jobs or the economy — but it sure does make some sharp, typically undeserving operators rich as hell.

We need a reindustrialization policy and a proactive program to get the ball rolling. We need to figure out what people here and in other countries need and want to buy, how to make the resulting products better, cheaper, safer, etc., and get busy making and selling those products.

As for the financial industry, if there was any common sense and justice to be had, so many of its top brass would be serving prison time, it would be in no position to dominate the government, politics, the economy or much of anything but struggling to not be regulated to within an inch of its misbegotten life.

Disclaimer: No, not everyone in the financial industry is a greed-driven SOB. As with anything, we only hear about the really bad ones. But the industry is mostly led by people who don't give a damn about this country, about its middle- and working-class people, or much of anything but their own wealth and power. Those are the ones on my you-know-what list.

December 3, 2009 at 12:22 AM  
Blogger Ricardo said...

Um the base of Democrats who say they will not vote ought to be ashamed of themselves. This is not the time to play around on the sidelines. this is a time to mobilize.

The job situation is just awful Tom. I'm sick just thinking of it.

The Afghanistan announcement left me disappointed in him. He has let me down on this. I want to withdraw from that cesspool.

December 3, 2009 at 9:17 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Bee: I also hope to see unions and manufacturing make a comeback. But I think these temporary makework jobs, especially for fixing the infrastructure, would put people to work right away, until the economy recovers.

Daniel: True, we need government spending right now to kick things into gear.

"Giving businesses incentives to make more things people are not going to buy may not be the answer." Sad but true. This whole economic meltdown is kind of the same Catch-22 that first-time job-seekers have to deal with. Can't get a job until you've had experience; can't get experience until you've had a job. Can't fix the economy until people start spending money again; people won't start spending until the economy gets better.

SW: Good idea, just Obama and Paul Krugman. Unfortunately Krugman doesn't have billions of lobbying dollars at his disposals, unlike some of the other participants.

I've always thought it was perverted that playing with other people's money is the most lucrative career imaginable. Finance is a very complicated field (it's way beyond me in any case), and I suspect most regulators are either on the take or they're in way over their heads. As soon as there's a new regulation or safeguard, the Wall Street wizards find a way around it.

Ricardo: I agree, it sucks that Obama and Congress have done so little. But not voting is the wrong solution. That's what Republicans are hoping Democratic voters will do. We need to mobilize and vote.

December 3, 2009 at 1:38 PM  

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