Monday, December 20, 2010

The Stimulus that Isn't

The Stimulus that Isn't

Posted: December 19, 2010 07:41 PM

"...It is astonishing how the Beltway echo-chamber, most egregiously the editorial page and news columns of the Washington Post (hard to tell the difference), thinks this deal is good for the Republic. The Post has become a cheerleader for policies that fail to cure the economy and show off Obama as a weakling waiting to be rolled again."

"The tax deal, re-branded as a stimulus program, is paltry and ineffective as economic tonic. What hardly anyone seems to have grasped is that the deal basically continues the status quo with almost no stimulus.  If the tax rates on the books in 2010 did not produce a recovery, why should we expect that the very same rates will change the economy in 2011?"

Read rest of article

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Saturday, December 18, 2010

In the bleak midwinter, poverty looms for the long-term unemployed

Long-term unemployment: In the bleak midwinter

Poverty Looms for the Long-Term Unemployed
The Economist, 12/16/10

"...No recent recession has seen so many Americans out of a job for so long. Now, with millions fallen from the ranks of the employed, the federal government has deployed its imperfect safety net to catch them..."

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Tax Cut Plan Doesn't Help Long-Term Unemployed

Tax Cut Plan Doesn't Help Long-Term Unemployed
Anyone who's used more than 99 weeks of benefits won't be helped by the extension of benefits.
Associated Press.  Posted: 11:37 AM Dec 17, 2010

WASHINGTON -- The tax-cut bill President Barack Obama is expected to sign Friday renews unemployment benefits for millions of unemployed people. But it does nothing for hundreds of thousands who have been unemployed so long they've used up all benefits available to them.

In the 25 states with unemployment of at least 8.5 percent, people can receive up to 99 weeks in aid. In other states, the unemployed get less than 99 weeks -- in some cases just 60 weeks, according to the Center for Budget 
and Policy Priorities.

The bill keeps 99 weeks as the maximum anyone can receive. It doesn't provide any more weeks of benefits to people who have reached the limit in their state. Those who have exhausted all benefits are sometimes known as "99ers," even though the duration of their benefits varies by state.  
The legislation renews federal programs that extend benefits beyond the 26 weeks states always provide. The extended benefits expired Nov. 30.

The Labor Department says it doesn't know how many Americans have already used all jobless benefits.  But the number reaches well into the hundreds of thousands.  

In California, 5,000 unemployed people use up their extended benefits each week. And 274,185 will have exhausted 99 weeks of benefits by the end of the year.  In Florida, 105,011 people have run out of benefits. In New York, 125,284 out-of-work people have stopped receiving unemployment checks because they've exhausted their 99 weeks of benefits.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., in August introduced legislation that would help the 99ers by tacking on another 20 weeks of benefits. But her bill has gone nowhere in a Congress that's been reluctant to spend more federal money to jolt the economy.

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Friday, December 3, 2010

17% of workers can't find the amount of work they want

Chart: 17% of workers can't find the amount of work they want:

Economic Policy Institute
Reliable Plant Magazine

"...The current unemployment rate of 9.6 percent does not reflect the millions of people who are working part time because they cannot find full-time work, or those “marginally attached” workers who are able and want to work but are so discouraged they have given up looking. These three categories comprise the underemployed, and in October, the most recent month for which data are available, the official underemployment rate stood at 17 percent."

"The [graph], from EPI’s forthcoming State of Working America Web site, shows how the number of unemployed, involuntary part-time, and marginally attached workers has changed since 1994. As it shows, all three categories have seen sharp rises, particularly since the start of the recession in 2007."

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Desperate times for millions: No jobs, no benefits

Desperate times for millions: No jobs, no benefits
By Christine Owens, Executive Director
National Employment Law Project
Special to CNN

"...What's more alarming than the grim jobs report, however, is the fact that Congress allowed the federal unemployment insurance lifeline to millions of jobless Americans expire earlier this week. If these programs are not renewed through 2011, 2 million people will be cut off in December alone, and at least 7 million more next year..."

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Alternative Fiscal Blueprint Proposes Options for Job Creation and Economic Recovery

Demos, the Economic Policy Insitute and the Century Foundation have released a progressive alternative to the draconian recommendations of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. Visit to read the report and download fact sheets about progressive options for federal policies.

Our Fiscal Security - Fiscal Blueprint:

"...Putting our nation on a path of broad prosperity will require generating new jobs, investing in key areas, modernizing and restoring our revenue base, and greatly increasing the cost efficiency of the health care system. Achieving these goals, however, will require an informed and engaged public to help set national priorities."

"The following report puts forth a blueprint that invests in America and creates jobs now, while putting the federal budget on a long-term sustainable path. We document the hard choices that need to be made and suggest specific policies that will yield lower deficits and a sustainable debt while preserving essential initiatives and investments."

The report is available for download (PDF), and viewable below. Click here to download the executive summary (PDF)."

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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Admiration of New Deal works of art flourishing

USA Today discovers something interesting about public job creation...

Hey, this is all very nice, but we're in a serious economic crisis here!!

How about a new public jobs initiative in the current economic crisis? One prong of the program could support artists, writers, and filmmakers, AND conserve and appreciate the art created by the public jobs initiative of the previous Depression?

Oh yes, and keep our libraries, schools, museums and other cultural institutions operating.

Admiration of New Deal works of art flourishing -

"...On the 75th anniversary of the creation of the WPA, appreciation is growing for the art it subsidized, the history behind the pieces and for a U.S. Treasury Department program that commissioned post office paintings during the same period. Many artworks have been destroyed or misplaced, but communities from South Pasadena, Calif., to St. Petersburg, Fla., are trying to rescue them. The U.S. Postal Service is working to conserve surviving post office art. The U.S. General Services Administration is cataloguing art created with WPA funding — all of it still is owned by the federal government — and recovering works that are for sale in auction houses or online..."

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Where are the Green Jobs you've been hearing so much about?

Here's a good article about the challenges to growing the number of green jobs -- underfunding, no cap-and-trade bill or carbon tax to put a high price on carbon, and outsourcing of production to other countries.

Green Job Search | The American Prospect:
By Monica Potts
November 8, 2010

"...The $500 million for green jobs provided by the stimulus, along with a host of state grants, is going to training programs, but not enough financing is going to the struggling companies that will one day employ the graduates of those programs. Of the oft-cited $90 billion in the Recovery Act devoted to 'clean energy,' less than a third went directly to renewable-energy generation. And solar and wind projects had to split that amount with more established and less environmentally friendly industries like hydropower and biofuels. Much of the direct grant money for non-research projects comes from a program scheduled to end in January that allows companies to trade future tax credits for cash now."

"The unfulfilled promise of stable, well-paying green jobs is probably best represented by the wind turbine: The United States has the capacity to both build the turbines in unused factories and get as much as 30 percent of our power from wind -- but we aren't doing either..."

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WPA Posters

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.