Friday, November 20, 2009

11/13-14 Jobs Conference Presentations

Much thanks and gratitude to all who attended, endorsed and supported the November 13-14 National Conference to Create Living Wage Jobs, Meet Human Needs and Sustain the Environment. We hope to post more materials from the conference program very soon, along with photos and video.

In the meantime, here are copies of speeches and presentations from some of the conference speakers that we've collected so far.

Gertrude Schaffner Goldberg, Our Practical Dream (Opening remarks)

Robert Pollin, The Economic Logic and Moral Imperative of Full Employment

Bill Barclay, A Permanent Jobs Program for the U.S.: Economic Restructuring to Meet Human Needs

Chloe Tribich, Green Jobs New York

Bill Quigley, Human Rights and Living Wage Jobs

Mel Rothenberg, Presentation on Political Strategy

Philip Harvey, Learning from the New Deal (Powerpoint)

Philip Harvey, Learning from the New Deal (Draft Paper)

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More Federal Help Needed for Stressed State Governments

From AFL-CIO Now Blog

"...[S]tates face a two-year $357 billion budget shortfall for the fiscal years 2010 and 2011, while local governments face an additional $80 billion deficit. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided much-needed relief, but its $106 billion in aid to states fills only about 25 percent of the shortfall. The rest of the budget must be balanced by spending cuts and tax increases. Click here to read the report, “Dire States: State and Local Budget Relief Needed to Prevent Job Losses and Ensure a Robust Recovery.”

"State and local spending cuts can be particularly harmful to the economy, Palmer and Pollack said. Not only do they deprive citizens of needed public services like health care, transportation, education and safety, they also fall disproportionately on the backs of those with low incomes. Businesses’ sales fall, forcing firms to slash wages or lay off workers, and these workers then cut their own consumer spending. As a result, each dollar of spending reduction by state and local governments leads to $1.41 in lost economic activity."

"Without additional state and local budget relief, current and future shortfalls will cause millions of job losses and likely contribute to a drawn-out and painful recovery."

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Seattle Eyes Public Broadband Network

From Reclaim the Media blog

"Community activist Mike McGinn rode a wave of grassroots organizing energy to victory in Seattle's Mayoral race this month. One group of people who have reason to celebrate McGinn's election is locals lacking affordable options for speedy broadband service, including residents of Beacon Hill, and parts of the Central District and South Seattle. McGinn's vision for affordable city-wide broadband was not only a core concern for his campaign, but one of his clearest disagreements with challenger Joe Mallahan."

"From early on, McGinn's campaign platform included a proposal to provide affordable, next generation broadband to neighborhoods across Seattle. He came to specifically endorse the concept of a city-owned fiber broadband network, filling gaps in neighborhoods where there are few or no options for affordable service. Smaller cities like Lafayette, Louisiana and Wilson, North Carolina have already made the decision that broadband ought to be treated like a public utility."

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

How to Create Good Jobs Now:

A bold proposal for meeting human needs through a permanent U.S. employment program.

Sidney Hollander, Ron Baiman, Bill Barclay, Joe Persky, Elce Redmond, Mel Rothenberg. The authors are members of the Chicago Political Economy Group November 9, 2009 In These Times (Web only)

For the last three decades, U.S. public policy makers have operated on the theory that individual entrepreneurial freedoms are essential to the creation of wealth and thus to the well-being of individuals and society as a whole. One of the great failures this "neo-liberal" approach to economics has been its inability to create enough jobs to keep pace with population growth.

Between 2001 and 2007, the working-age population in the United States outpaced job creation by 10 million individuals. Projections indicate that the shortfall will include another 17 million persons by 2016, making a 16-year total of 27 million missing jobs -- 27 million people, in other words, who will have been pushed out of the labor force.

If current trends continue after 2016, labor force participation will have fallen to barely half the working-age population, down from a pre-2000 level of about two-thirds.

The scale of the problem--and program

To confront the growing poverty and social misery that is engulfing the poorest 40 percent of Americans, the United States will require a national jobs program based on significant public investment in the economy. We propose a program that would pay workers the current median wage ($18 per hour), which is a living wage that still allows room for promotions and pay raises. As we will demonstrate, this program can be funded easily by progressive taxes, cuts in defense spending, and taxes on carbon-emitting production.

In the short term, jobs will help people stay in their homes and encourage consumers to begin spending again. In the longer run, a reordering of our economic priorities through public investment and redistribution of access to good jobs will create an economy that serves the needs of all, rather than the wants of a few.

The plan should aim to boost national employment by 3.5 million new jobs each year for five years, for a total of 17.5 million new jobs. This rate of job creation is more than twice the currently projected growth of only 1.5 million jobs per year, which would yield only 7.5 million additional jobs over the five years.
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Obama Should Declare a Jobs Emergency--F. Stricker

Here is what President Obama should say to the American people about rising unemployment:

My fellow Americans,

The employment situation is continuing to deteriorate and there is no evidence that the private sector can turn things around. We face a tremendous challenge. Our job total has fallen by eight million since the recession began. And we failed to add the three million jobs we need to keep about with a growing labor force. So we are now 11 million jobs below normal.

We cannot fix this problem in a week or even a year. But the longer we wait, the more pain for our people and more difficult the task. Remember that we also have to add more than a million new jobs every year for an expanding work force.

If we are aiming to get back to get back to the time before this recession, we can do it in six years if we add three million jobs a year. Can we do that? During the recovery from the 2001 recession we were adding only 1.3 million a year. During the Clinton job boom we increased our job totals by 2.3 millionBthat was very good but not good enough.

Our Republican friends prefer that we do nothing, even as the misery mounts. That is Hooverism and we know better. Businesses are not adding to our job totals and won=t add much for a while. It is just too easy for employers to send jobs abroad or buy more machines.

So we can have high unemployment for years to come, or government can act. History shows us that we can reverse the job decline. Franklin Roosevelt and his New Dealers showed that the federal government could create job programs and promote a general economic recovery.

This administration has made mistakes. We underestimated the severity of this recession. But we did not make the mistake of doing nothing; and while there is debate about our efforts to save the financial system and our stimulus and recovery package, we are convinced that without these programs tens of millions of Americans would now be living in Hoovervilles.

But these rich programs were not enough to jump-start job creation. So I propose now a federal Jobs and National Enrichment program that creates real work in a variety of programs and areas. Some of the new jobs will be in the federal government, some in local and state government, some in private businesses and non-profits. Many will be permanent positions, with wages substantially above the poverty line.

There is much that needs doing. We will expand and upgrade Head Start and the care industry. We will create a Neighbor Preservation Corps that acquires, cleans up, and sells foreclosed homes. We will create a Civilian Conservation Corps whose members plant trees, repair parks, and build new ones for communities that have too few of them. There are dozen of other tasks that need to be done and over the next few weeks we will be taking your suggestions about things that need doing.

Some will say that we cannot afford a new federal program, but I say that we cannot afford to waste the labor and skills of twenty million Americans. And our investment in jobs will come back to us hundredfold. We will have a better landscape, smoother roads, smarter kids, and more comfortable elders. And we will have millions of people able to spend freely; that will create millions of jobs in the private sector.

We can do this for a relatively small sum. We are spending $800 million to rescue the money barons and almost $800 million for the first stimulus package. I propose that we spend $200 billion, in each of the next six years, on directly creating good and useful jobs.If we do it right, we can fund three million jobs, with decent pay and benefits, and giving our workers the tools, machinery, and materials they need to perform well.

Some programs can start soon; some will take more time. We are learning from our experience with the current stimulus package. And we will learn from the CCC and the WPA in the 1930s. I have faith in the talents and good will of our people and our government officials. We can meet this challenge together.

Frank Stricker, Emeritus Prof. of History at CSU-Dominguez Hills, author of Why America Lost the War on Poverty and How to Win It and member of the Exec. Com, National Jobs for All Coalition

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