Sunday, January 31, 2010

Why the Stimulus Falls Short

Joshua Frank: Why the Stimulus Falls Short:
Cross-posted from Counterpunch

Doug Henwood: "...[W]hat we got was a bill that did some good things - extending unemployment benefits, picking up health insurance costs for the laid-off, etc. - but one that also was too loaded with tax breaks and other indirect mechanisms that are supposed to create jobs. If you divide the amount of cash spent, according to, by the administration's estimate of jobs 'created or saved' - whatever that means exactly - by the StimPak, you find that the cost per job is something around $250,000."

Joshua Frank: "That seems like a very ineffective, wasteful figure."

Doug Henwood: "Yes, and if you allow for multiplier effects - someone whose job is saved spends more money than someone on the dole, which saves other jobs that would have otherwise evaporate - then it's maybe $150,000-175,000 per job. That's still preposterously inefficient, however. You could have created old-style public works jobs at about $50,000 a pop. You could bring the old manly road-building, pipe-laying model into a more gender-equitable world by creating or saving jobs in teaching and childcare."

Read rest of interview

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Ten million solar rooftops

Senate Wants Clean Energy, Solar in Jobs Bill · Environmental Leader
January 25, 2010

"With comprehensive climate legislation on hold, Senate Environment and Public Works subcommittee will focus on clean energy job opportunities at an upcoming hearing as President Obama calls on Congress to pass a jobs bill that puts more Americans to work, reports the New York Times."

"Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), chairman of the Green Jobs and New Economy Subcommittee, who is calling for more incentives for renewable energy and energy efficiency, has added several provisions in last year’s stimulus bill for training and education for “green” jobs."

"Sanders told the New York Times he plans to reintroduce legislation that will provide incentives for buying solar panels and for solar companies to produce 10 million solar rooftops in the United States in 10 years."

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Stiglitz: Bring On The Second Stimulus!

This is important. Many liberal pundits, including a distressing number of op-ed columnists at the NY Times (but not Bob Herbert!) have given up a second stimulus, because either a) they've drunk the neoliberal kool-aid about the government being out of money b) they think it will alienate independent voters or c) they think it's irrelevant for the midterm elections.

Well, you know what irritates independent voters, and voters across the board? Unemployment, frozen raises, shrinking work hours and underemployment!!

So if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. It's ridiculous to think you can't find some money to create jobs and stimulate economic activity in a $3 trillion economy. Recovering some of the bank bailout, and reducing military spending to meet the legitimate needs of the US, could yield several hundred billion right there. And as Stiglitz points out, policymakers should redouble their efforts to assist struggling homeowners, as the festering mortgage crisis continues apace.

And as for the mid-term elections, why should we starve the economy so that the Republicans can come back and impose even more austerity and deregulation. Change, or more of the same?

So, let's bring in the Nobel-prize winning Stiglitz as an senior adviser to Obama, and dump the other guys. Who's with me?

Stiglitz: Bring On The Second Stimulus! StreetTalk - Inside Wall Street
by Robert Lenzer
January 20, 2010

"...Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel prize-winning Columbia University economist, called for a 'second stimulus for job creation' last night during a presentation of his new book on the economic crisis, 'Freefall.' Stiglitz also predicted at New York's YMHA that another 2.5-3 million homes will go into foreclosure, since '1 in 4 homes in the US are underwater,' meaning their resale value is below the amount of mortgage debt on the property."

"Stiglitz, who has been a severe critic of both Wall Street and the Obama administration, indicated the economy could dip back into recession unless the banks ease the terms of mortgages. Unless there is a stimulus 'unemployment will rise in 2010, not decline,' Stiglitz asserted under questioning from Matthew Bishop, The Economist's New York bureau chief."

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Read Stiglitz book excerpts in the Christian Science Monitor

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Saturday, January 23, 2010

New push for infrastructure funding

New push for infrastructure funding in US jobs bill | Reuters:

Thu Jan 21, 2010 2:12pm EST

by Lisa Lambert and John Crawley

"...Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell planned to push top White House economic advisers on Thursday to embrace the creation of a national infrastructure bank, an independent institution that would finance capital works projects.

Rendell told Reuters in an interview that a coalition of supporters that include transportation trade associations are pushing for the bank proposal to be included in the legislative package."

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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

J-O-Bs should come before GDP

J-O-Bs should come before GDP - -

Rep. Phil Hare (D-Ill.) writes in a 12/03/09 op-ed:

"...First, we should pass Chairman Jim Oberstar’s Surface Transportation Authorization Act. This legislation represents an important investment in our crumbling infrastructure and will create or sustain 6 million jobs. The original economic recovery package contained too little infrastructure spending, a tried and tested job creator. Here is our chance to rectify that error."

"Second, I intend to introduce the New Deal for a New Economy Act (H.R. 4290), legislation that creates a hybrid of Roosevelt’s WPA and an expanded version of the Conservation Corps of the 1970s. This bill will authorize a multiyear grant program administered by the Department of Labor to provide funding for the creation of resource management positions on federal and state lands, public works projects on the state and local level, and public interest work with community-based nonprofit organizations. This legislation would provide a lifeline to the many Americans who find themselves out of work and out of hope... "

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Sanchez proposes creating jobs by fixing forests

Congratulations to Rep. Linda Sanchez for her leadership in pushing job creation legislation to fix our national parks!! This is a great visionary idea that can help Americans get back to work.

Sanchez proposes creating jobs by fixing forests -

By Rebecca Kimitch, Staff Writer
Posted: 12/25/2009 06:03:01 AM PST

In an effort reminiscent of the Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930s, Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-Lakewood, is pushing legislation to provide billions of federal dollars for repair and construction projects in the country's national parks and forests.

Sanchez is requesting the government spend $4.75 billion fixing crumbling infrastructure on public lands, including the Angeles National Forest, a move she says would create some 50,000 jobs.

"We have people without work and work without people. The solution could not be clearer," Sanchez said when she introduced the legislation. "We can put people back to work now and restore our national treasures."

A smaller version of the proposal was included in the "jobs bill," a second stimulus package, passed earlier this month by the House.

But that legislation calls for only $270 million in spending in national parks, so Sanchez plans to push for more when Congress returns from Christmas recess and the Senate takes up stimulus legislation...

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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Economic Crash, Economic Democracy, and the Economics of Empire

Economic Crash, Economic Democracy, and the Economics of Empire

Lecture by Rev. Gary Dorrien, introduced by the Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes, Senior Pastor Emeritus, Riverside Church of New York, Pres., Healing of the Nations Foundation, Interchurch Center, New York, NY11/13/09, posted at

Gary Dorrien is the Reinhold Niebuhr Professor of Social Ethics, Union Theological Seminary, New York, NY, and Professor of Religion, Columbia University.

The National Conference to Create Living Wage Jobs, Meet Human Needs and Sustain the Environment was attended by over 125 people and took place over two days at the Interchurch Center and District Council 37 in New York, NY on November 13-14, 2009.

To learn more, endorse the Conference Call to Action and become active in the campaign for living wage jobs, visit

Camera & Editing: Tim Bruce
Logistics and Distribution: Logan Martinez
Originally aired on DATV, Dayton, OH -

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Public Opinion Snapshot: The Public's Priorities: Jobs vs. the Deficit

Public Opinion Snapshot: The Public's Priorities: Jobs vs. the Deficit
By Ruy Teixeira | January 4, 2010
cross-posted from the Center for American Progress

"...There is no question that the public has become more sensitive to the deficit in the last year. This partly reflects the fact that the deficit has grown and the public doesn’t like deficits. But it also reflects a feeling among many that government spending has not been effective since the economy remains so weak."

"In light of these views, it’s interesting to note that the public’s deficit sensitivity does not translate into a view that deficit reduction is a more important priority than jobs and the economy. In a mid-December CNN poll, the public was asked what should be more important for the Obama administration—reducing the deficit even if that slowed down economic recovery or stimulating economic recovery even if that meant less deficit reduction. By 57-40, the public chose stimulating economic recovery...."

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