David Love: A group of mostly Republican lawmakers refuses to reauthorize an extension of $33 billion in unemployment benefits. And in blocking the legislation during desperate times, they are holding 2.5 million Americans hostage, all for a political stunt. T
Norman Solomon: With unemployment so common that it’s widely seen as a long-term fact of life, a tacit fatalism has seeped into political discourse and the mass media. In short, what should be unacceptable has gained acceptance.
Robert Reich: Friday’s job report was awful. For most new high school and college grads finding a job is harder than ever. Meanwhile, states are cutting summer jobs for disadvantaged young people. What to do with this army of young unemployed? Send them to the Gulf to clean up beaches and wetlands, and send the bill to BP.
Robert Reich: The only reason the economy isn’t in a double-dip recession already is because of three temporary boosts: the federal stimulus (of which 75 percent has been spent), near-zero interest rates (which can’t continue much longer without igniting speculative bubbles), and replacements (consumers have had to replace worn-out cars and appliances, and businesses had to replace worn-down inventories). Oh, and, yes, all those Census workers (who will be out on their ears in a month or so).
Robert Reich: New businesses are vital to job growth, and entrepreneurship does fuel the economy. And surely some of America’s new independent workers will build their own companies. But when the economy is still so hard on so many, it’s important to distinguish between entrepreneurial zeal and self-employed desperation.
Sherwood Ross: Slumlords charge exorbitant rents. “Convenience” stores charge higher prices. Military recruiters have their pick of jobless youth desperate for work. And the for-profit, private prisons increase their head count (and income) as the judicial system hands off the young drug peddlers caught in the legal web. As the Kaiser Family Foundation reported, African-Americans fill 40 percent of the nation’s prison cells. Yet they make up just 13 percent of the nation’s population.
Adam Eran: Tax cuts caused the current budget deficit, not crazy spending. Local government revenues fell 57% after Proposition 13. Even more egregious, the consume-atives™ (they do not conserve), now complain that State funding for local governments to fill that revenue hole meddles too much in local affairs.
Friday Feedback: “How do we take seriously his advice to deemphasize material consumption?” ANSWER: By personally taking seriously his advice -getting kicks from living life, not collecting or wasting goods. In some cases new technology is already massively helping: instead of humongous material resources to move people or goods, we can much more readily move information.
Randy Shaw: After President Bill Clinton signed legislation in 1996 “ending welfare as we know it,” many highlighted this “common sense” solution and criticized progressives for opposing the bill. Soon after passage, politicians and the media said it had not caused the downsides that activists had predicted, ignoring that the law had not been fully implemented. But troubling reports soon emerged.
Robert Reich: The Great Recession has accelerated a structural shift in the economy that had been slowly building for years. Companies have used the downturn to aggressively trim payrolls, making cuts they’ve been reluctant to make before. Outsourcing abroad has increased dramatically. Companies have discovered that new software and computer technologies have made many workers in Asia and Latin America almost as productive as Americans, and that the Internet allows far more work to be efficiently moved to another country without loss of control.
Robert Reich: Here’s what’s really going on. In Massachusetts, in New Jersey, all over the nation, voters are petrified of losing their jobs, their homes, and what’s left of their savings. Nothing counts more than the economy. Rightly or wrongly, presidents and the party in power are blamed when the economy is lousy.
No president in modern times walks a tightrope as exquisitely as this one. His balance is a thing of beauty. But when it comes to this economy right now — an economy fundamentally out of balance — we need a federal government that moves boldly and swiftly to counter-balance the huge recessionary forces still at large
The $75 billion federal program designed to bribe banks to modify mortgages has been a bust. No one knows the exact number of mortgages that have been modified (that will be reported next month) but housing experts I’ve talked with say it’s a tiny fraction of the number of homeowners in trouble. Seems that the big banks can’t be bothered.
The March employment numbers, out this morning, are bleak: 8.5 percent of Americans officially unemployed, 663,000 more jobs lost. But if you include people who are out of work and have given up trying to find a job, the real unemployment rate is 9 percent. And if you include people working part time who’d rather […]
Why are Senate Republicans (all, that is, except the lonely moderates Collins, Snowe, and Specter) nixing the stimulus package, as House Republicans did? Not because Obama failed to compromise — he gave them the tax breaks they wanted, included a whopper for business. Not because Senate Democrats failed to bend — they agreed to trim […]
A friend who lost his job in a newspaper washout some time ago said it made him feel alone and isolated in the city. He was describing the intense feelings of rejection that accompany sudden unemployment. He was talking about the loneliness that an outcast feels. I know that feeling. I became like him on […]
ho says there are no slaves in America? The greatest domestic issue facing President-elect Obama is not the bailout of the bankers and insurers but the task of lifting tens of millions of hard-working American wage-slaves out of dire poverty. These are the folks who hold one – and sometimes two or even three – […]
by Robert Reich – Obama’s immediate challenge is to fill the leadership vacuum created by a lame-duck president with historically-low approval ratings who seems to have lost interest in his job (at this writing, he’s out of the country) and who’s disappeared from the media, and a Treasury chief who has all but punted on […]
A recent poll asked whether private companies, Congress, or the president has the most to do with creating new jobs. I find it amusing when pollsters ask for opinions on something that is purely factual. Only 5% got the right answer and said it is the president. Look at the private sector job growth results […]