Thursday, December 15, 2011

Kids Testify about Homelessness

CNN: Kids Testify About Homelessness

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House Republican Unemployment Insurance Proposal Acts As If Economic Slump Is Over

The Party of No, having voted repeatedly to prevent investment in roads, bridges, mass transit and school construction, now wants to slash unemployment benefits and force the jobless to pee in a cup to get rent money.

House Republican Unemployment Insurance Proposal Acts As If Economic Slump Is Over
by Chad Stone, Chief Economist, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
cross posted from: Huffington Post, 12/14/11

"....House Republicans must think the job market is improving rapidly and that the Congressional Budget Office is way off base in projecting that the unemployment rate will average 8.7 percent in 2011 and 2012. How else can one explain their proposal to slash federal emergency unemployment insurance (UI) benefits?

The House Republican proposal -- part of their larger proposal to extend the payroll tax cut and UI benefits -- would slash, by 40, the number of weeks potentially available to unemployed workers who are struggling to find a job in some states that were hit the hardest by the jobs slump."

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Domino Effect Between Housing & Jobs

Good infographic on "how a housing crisis becomes a jobs crisis" from Tim Logan of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
"...The purchase of a house sets off a long chain of events.  The money spent to buy it and to live in it ripples through the economy, creating jobs. From a locksmith on Main Street to an investment banker on Wall Street, furniture factories to City Hall, people earn a living off that one transaction."

"We’re now experiencing what happens when people don’t buy houses.  Home sales in St. Louis have fallen by nearly one-third since before the recession. And the inability to change that has played a major role in an ongoing jobs crisis. Housing and jobs have become so intertwined that many experts say we will never enjoy a broad recovery until the housing market picks up. But without jobs, it’s hard to see how people can
start building and buying houses."

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Friday, November 11, 2011



Thursday, November 17th at 10PM ET/PT
"...From California to Minnesota and Pennsylvania, states nationwide are grappling with crumbling infrastructure…600,000 bridges in need of repair, one-third of America’s major roads in dire condition, thousands of miles of old fuel lines stressed to their limits and billions of dollars needed to shore up the nations levees. It’s a crisis sweeping the nation. Is there a solution? Or is this our future?"

"The American Society of Civil Engineers has given our nation’s infrastructure a near failing grade of “D” overall. And, according to the Urban Land Institute, the U.S. needs to spend $2 trillion to rebuild roads, bridges and other critical pieces of public infrastructure that are reaching the end of their life spans, money that many believe just does not exist."

"On Thursday, November 17th at 10PM ET/PT, CNBC presents “The Race to Rebuild: America’s Infrastructure,” a CNBC Original reported by Correspondent Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, that takes viewers inside the infrastructure problems at hand and asks experts and policy makers what it will take to put the nation back on track."

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Schools brace for more budget cuts

The Associated Press: Schools brace for more budget cuts:
By KIMBERLY HEFLING, AP Education Writer -- Oct 24, 2011 

"...[A]n estimated 294,000 jobs in the education sector have been lost since 2008, including those in higher education."

"The cuts are felt from Keller, Texas, where the district moved to a pay-for-ride transportation system rather than cut busing altogether, to Georgia, where 20 days were shaved off the calendar for pre-kindergarten classes. In California, a survey found that nearly half of all districts last year cut or reduced art, drama and music programs."

"Nationally, 120 districts — primarily in rural areas — have gone to a four-day school week to save on transportation and utility costs, according to the National Conference of State Legislators. Others are implementing fees to play sports, cutting field trips and ending after-school programs..."

"Recognizing the reality districts face, President Barack Obama included $30 billion in his $447 billion jobs creation package to save teachers' jobs. The Senate rejected the jobs package as well as a separate measure focused on saving the jobs of teachers and emergency responders."

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More than 1 in 4 homeowners 'underwater' on mortgages

More than 1 in 4 homeowners 'underwater' as U.S. housing market continues to sink | Mail Online

By MICHAEL ZENNIE, The Daily Mail, 11/8/11

Walking away: The large number of houses 'underwater' could lead 
to homeowners deciding it's no longer worth it to make mortgage payments

Nearly 30 percent of American homeowners owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth, according to a new report from the real estate website Zillow

Defaults and foreclosures are likely to increase as homeowners decide to walk away from their houses, rather than continuing to make mortgage payments on property they can't sell or refinance, analysts said.

Forecloses are already twice what they were this time last year and the number of homeowners who haven't made a mortgage payment in at least two months rose for the first time since 2009.

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Visualize Plutocracy!

How Rich are the Superrich?
A huge share of the nation's economic growth over the past 30 years has gone to the top one-hundredth of one percent, who now make an average of $27 million per household. The average income for the bottom 90 percent of us? $31,244.

More charts available at "It's the Ineqality, Stupid!":

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Friday, October 21, 2011

Joseph Stiglitz: How to put America back to work

Opinion: How to put America back to work - Joseph E. Stiglitz -

September 7, 2011

"The country is — or should be — focused on jobs. Some 25 million Americans who want a full-time job can’t get one. The youth unemployment rate is as much as twice that of the already unacceptable national average.

America has always thought of itself as a land of opportunity — but where is the opportunity for our youngsters who face such bleak prospects? Historically, those who lose their jobs quickly got another, but an increasingly large fraction of the unemployed — now more than 40 percent — have been out of work for more than six months."

Is there anything that anyone can really do -- given the country's looming debt and deficit? The answer from economics is: There is plenty we can do..."

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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Poverty-Level Wages Common in US Labor Market

Yes, We Need Jobs. But What Kind?

by Paul Osterman, 9/5/11

"...ON Thursday, President Obama will deliver a major speech on America’s employment crisis. But too often, what is lost in the call for job creation is a clear idea of what jobs we want to create."

"I recently led a research team to the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, where Gov. Rick Perry, a contender for the Republican presidential nomination, has advertised his track record of creating jobs. From January 2000 to January 2010, employment in the Valley grew by a remarkable 42 percent, compared with our nation’s anemic 1 percent job growth."

"But the median wage for adults in the Valley between 2005 and 2008 was a stunningly low $8.14 an hour (in 2008 dollars). One in four employed adults earned less than $6.19 an hour. The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas reported that the per capita income in the two metropolitan statistical areas spanning the Valley ranked lowest and second lowest in the nation."

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Good Jobs America -- new book by Paul Osterman and Beth Shulman

The Challenge of Creating Good Jobs -

Economix: Explaining the Science of Everyday Life
By Steven Greenhouse

"...In their new book, “Good Jobs America: Making Work Better for Everyone,” Paul Osterman and Beth Shulman argue that the United States needs to worry about not just creating millions more jobs but also ensuring that the jobs are good ones.

By good jobs, the authors mean jobs that pay enough to support a family and provide decent, safe conditions. The authors voice concern that many middle-class jobs have disappeared or deteriorated into low-wage ones that cause families to fall below the poverty line.

Taking a view contrary to that of many economists and politicians, they argue that government can and should play a vigorous role in encouraging employers to create good jobs — perhaps by providing tax incentives that require employers to pay a living wage.

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Saturday, September 3, 2011

WBAI City Watch Interview on the Unemployment Crisis

Chuck Bell, vice chair of the National Jobs for All Coalition, participated in a Labor Day weekend interview on WBAI City Watch, to discuss national job creation legislation

Listen to the interview in the WBAI City Watch archive

For more information about HR 870, the Humphrey-Hawkins 21st Century Full Employment and Training Act, and the other bills discussed in the interview, visit

Saturday September 3, 10-11am City Watch
City Watch is a watchdog for social, economic, political and cultural issues in New York City. Our September 3rd show will examine the status of American workers this Labor Day. Guests are:

-- Chuck Bell of the National Jobs for All Coalition, discussing full employment initiatives at the federal level. Jobs proposals include HR 870 (Conyers) The Humphrey-Hawkins 21st Century Full Employment & Training Act and Rep. Jan Schakowsky's Emergency Jobs to Restore the American Dream Act to create 2 million jobs.

-- Dal Lamagna, Co-Managing Partner of IceStone in Brooklyn, talking about why he agrees with Warren Buffet that rich people like them should pay more taxes. Lamagna is a member of Business for Shared Prosperity and Patriotic Millionaires

-- Stanley Aronowitz, CUNY professor, labor activist and former Green Party candidate for Governor. He discusses the status of the labor movement in the US and efforts to create jobs.

Direct links:

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Friday, September 2, 2011

Workers and Sustainability

American Labor: A Sustainable Path by Joe Uehlein

This Labor Day, as union membership falls to a mere seven percent of private sector workers and bargaining and political clout shrink to match, two roads diverge for American labor. One is to attempt to find a niche within an economic-political system that is ever more shaped by short-term greed and is therefore ever more unsustainable economically, socially, and environmentally. The other is to align with the long-term interest of workers in transforming that system to provide for a sustainable future for the planet and its people. Organized labor will have a better future if it chooses the second road.

To have a future itself, organized labor needs to reorient itself around the objective of providing a sustainable future for all working people and the world we inhabit. That means putting millions of people to work creating a sustainable economy, society, and environment.

Nothing is more threatening to our long-term sustainability than climate change. It is affecting American workers here and now through forest fires, dust storms, rising sea levels, and extreme weather events like floods, droughts, tornados, blizzards and hurricanes. So far this year there have been an unprecedented eight weather-related disasters that have each done more than a billion dollars worth of damage to states from Texas to Maine.

The Great Recession represented the deepest economic crisis since the Great Depression. Even during the so-called recovery, American workers continued to face unemployment rates unprecedented since the Great Depression. Now as that recovery falters, the private sector appears to have little to offer besides more unemployment, more insecurity, more wage cuts, and more misery.

It will take the labor of millions of people to reconstruct our economy on a climate safe basis. The solution for labor, as for America and indeed for the world, lies in a Green New Deal to mobilize our unused human resources to meet our increasingly desperate needs. rest of article at

Joe Uehlein is the former secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO’s Industrial Union Department and former director of the AFL-CIO Center for Strategic Campaigns. Joe is the Executive Director of Voices for a Sustainable Future. He spent over 30 years doing organizing, bargaining, and strategic campaign work in the labor movement. He also performs regularly with his roots-rock revival band The U-Liners.
[He is also on the Advisory Board of the National Jobs for All Coalition.--jz]

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Rep. Jan Schakowsky Announces Bill to Create 2.2 Million Jobs

The Drive For Decent Work applauds Rep. Jan Schakowsky for her leadership in developing and proposing a comprehensive job creation bill.  We expect that this bill will receive strong support from labor, religious, human needs and community-based advocacy organizations across the U.S.  We urge other House members to sign on and help build a broad base of support for this and related jobs legislation.

You can help!  Please write to your Representative and urge him/her to cosponsor the Emergency Jobs to Restore the American Dream Act.

Cross-posted from Rep. Jan Schakowsky's web site:

Schakowsky Announces Bill to Create 2.2 Million Jobs
“Emergency Jobs to Restore the American Dream Act”
Estimated to Lower Unemployment Rate by 1.3%

CHICAGO, IL (August 10, 2011) – Today Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), a member of President Obama’s 18-member Fiscal Commission, announced she will introduce the Emergency Jobs to Restore the American Dream Act, a cost-effective plan to put over 2 million people to work for two years.

The time has come for Congress to focus like a laser on the most pressing crisis facing our country – the jobs crisis. With extended unemployment benefits scheduled to expire at the end of this year, 13.9 million people remain out of work. The average worker who is unemployed has been searching for a job for more than nine months and recent reports reveal that private sector employers largely refuse to hire those currently jobless. An additional 8.4 million are working part time because they cannot find a full-time job. In June 2007, 63 percent of adults were employed, now the percentage is 58.2 percent. Despite reports of a Congress immobilized and unable to address the jobs crisis– Congress can and must do something today.

“It begins with this simple idea: If we want to create jobs, then create jobs. I’m not talking about “incentivizing” companies in the hopes they’ll hire someone, or cutting taxes for the so-called job creators who have done nothing of the sort. My plan creates actual new jobs,” said Rep. Schakowsky. “The worst deficit this country faces, isn’t the budget deficit. It’s the jobs deficit. We need to get our people and our economy moving again.”

If enacted, the legislation would create 2.2 million jobs that will meet critical needs to improve and strengthen communities:

•The School Improvement Corps would create 400,000 construction and 250,000 maintenance jobs by funding positions created by public school districts to do needed school rehabilitation improvements.

•The Park Improvement Corps would create 100,000 jobs for youth between the ages of 16 and 25 through new funding to the Department of the Interior and the USDA Forest Service’s Public Lands Corps Act. Young people would work on conservation projects on public lands include restoration and rehabilitation of natural, cultural, and historic resources.

•The Student Jobs Corps would creates 250,000 more part-time, work study jobs for eligible college students through new funding for the Federal Work Study Program.

•The Neighborhood Heroes Corps would hire 300,000 teachers, 40,000 new police officers, and 12,000 firefighters.

•The Health Corps would hire at least 40,000 health care providers, including physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses, and health care workers to expand access in underserved rural and urban areas.

•The Child Care Corps would create 100,000 jobs in early childhood care and education through additional funding for Early Head Start.

•The Community Corps would hire 750,000 individuals to do needed work in our communities, including housing rehab, weatherization, recycling, and rural conservation.

The legislation gives the unemployed priority for jobs, particularly those who have exhausted their unemployment benefits (the “99ers”), and veterans. The bill allocates a fair distribution of funding and jobs among states, with targeting based on high unemployment and need. The bill also ensures that jobs do not undercut the rights of other workers, lower wages, displace current workers or take business from small/local businesses.

The $227 billion cost of the bill ($113.5 billion over each of two years) can be fully paid for through separate legislation such as Rep. Schakowsky’s Fairness in Taxation Act, which creates higher tax brackets for millionaires and billionaires, and eliminating subsidies for Big Oil and tax loop holes for corporations that send American jobs overseas.


CONTACT: Adjoa Adofo; 202.225.2111, adjoa.adofo [at]

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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Underemployment a Growing Concern | United States

Underemployment a Growing Concern | United States | Epoch Times

by Paul Darin, 8/9/11

"...Should I give up? I’m looking into other things with a history degree, but I can’t afford to go back to school,” said 27-year-old Amanda Dovatte. She graduated from Lewis University with a History Education degree in December 2007, and is substitute teaching in Naperville, Ill., awaiting any instructional opening.

“I don’t know what to do. [We were told] go to school, get an education, and you’ll get a job. That’s not happening. Having a degree doesn’t matter anymore,” said Dovatte.

She wants the government to address the problems of jobs for educated people. “I want politicians to start worrying about creating jobs, and not just construction worker jobs, but firefighters, police, and teachers. I want them to start worrying about the people who went to school,” said Dovatte."

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A bold, new U.S. jobs bill would stop a double-dip recession

A bold, new U.S. jobs bill would stop a double-dip recession -

by Robert Reich, 8/9/11

"...We’re now poised on the edge of a double-dip — and have our hands tied behind our back because of a phony debt crisis and a misleading view that the first stimulus failed.":

"The hope: voters tell their members of Congress — now on recess — to stop obsessing about future budget deficits and get to work on the real crisis of unemployment, falling wages and no growth. Demand a bold jobs bill to restart the economy."

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Friday, August 5, 2011

FAST: Fix America’s Schools Today

Here's a good job creation idea, from former White House advisor Jared Bernstein, who now works at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities.

Cross-posted from Americans for Democratic Action
FAST: Fix America’s Schools Today

By: Bob Lucore
June 24, 2011

How about an economic stimulus that creates lots of jobs quickly, contributes to a greener environment, makes kids healthier and improves the lives of both students and teachers?

A national program to repair and improve public school buildings could do all this and more, at a tiny fraction of the cost of extending tax cuts for the mega-rich. It would be a short-term stimulus with long-term benefits.

Jared Bernstein—Vice President Biden’s former economic advisor, now at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities—has come up with a catchy name for it: FAST (Fix America’s Schools Today). There is a huge backlog of needed maintenance for America’s public schools. Students move their desks to dodge falling ceiling tiles, bathroom plumbing doesn’t function, roofs leak, and children suffer from asthma due to sick building syndrome. People Magazine says teachers are thwarted “by school buildings that are dirty, disheartening and dangerous.”

America’s public school infrastructure got a D grade on a recent report card from the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Students are under continuous pressure to pass high-stakes tests and teachers get the blame if students fall short of ever rising performance goals. Don’t they both deserve clean, green, desirable facilities?

Spending to clean, repair, and insulate the schools could generate jobs rapidly. The money could be targeted since the schools most in need are tend to be in the areas with the highest rates of joblessness. Furthermore, many of the jobs created would not require formal training.

Bernstein puts it this way: “It’s a smart way to get a lot of people who really need jobs back to work, fix a critical part of our institutional infrastructure, save energy costs, provide kids with a better, healthier learning environment, and do so in way that everyone can see and feel good about each morning when they drop their kids at school.” Which would you rather spend public money on: better schools, or more tax cuts for the top 2%?

Link to original post

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

U.S. Jobs Agenda on C-SPAN

Senator Tom Harkin, Representative John Garamendi, and members of the Task Force on Job Creation talked about the reasons behind U.S. unemployment. Topics included U.S. manufacturing, the impact of spending cuts on jobs, and the role of China.

A copy of the Task Force's report is available from the New America Foundation and a video of the entire event can be viewed here.  See also article by Leo Hindery on Huffington Post.

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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Right wing jobs plans push public workers out, unpaid prisoners in

Right wing jobs plans push public workers out, unpaid prisoners in | Lubbock Online | Lubbock Avalanche-Journal:

by Jim Hightower
July 23, 2011

"...[I]f you’re among the millions of long-term unemployed Americans who’ve been searching in vain for work, I have a hot tip for you: They’re hiring in Wisconsin!"

"There is one little catch, though. You have to be a Wisconsin jailbird to get one of these dandy jobs."

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"When You Hear Deficit, Think of Infrastructure"

Americans are known for such cheerful aphorisms as "whistle while you work" and "keep your eyes on the prize, hold on."  So, I've got one for you:

"When you hear deficit, think of infrastructure."

That's right, think of all the things the deficit hawks tell you we can't afford.

For example, earlier this year the 21st Century School Fund issued a fact sheet on the dismal state of our public school buildings.  The fact sheet reports:

What condition are our public school facilities in?

  • School districts have an estimated $271 billion of deferred building and grounds maintenance in their schools, excluding administrative facilities, which averages $4,883 per student.
  • In a 2010 state survey, 10 states (CO,DE,GA,HI,IL,KY,LA,ME,MT,NJ) reported needing an average of $4,400 per student for deferred maintenance.
  • Public school facility investment aligns with the wealth of the community the school is located in. Between 1995-2004 schools in low wealth zip codes had one third the funding for capital projects as schools in high wealth zip codes. 
What difference does facility condition make to children and adults?
  • Teachers in Chicago and Washington, DC reported missing 4 days annually because of health problems caused by adverse building conditions (with poor indoor air quality being the biggest problem).
  • A national survey of school nurses found over 40% of the nurses knew children and staff adversely impacted by avoidable indoor pollutants.
  • Students from 95 New York City Public Schools attended fewer days on average in schools with poor facilities and had lower grades in English Language Arts and Math which could be correlated to lower attendance.
  • Schools that implement energy-saving strategies–from following green building design to using energy-efficient building components to behavioral change – can reduce energy use by as much as one-third, resulting in major environmental and cost-savings benefits.
Q.  So, will our nation's crumbling schools be promptly fixed if the deficit hawks prevail?  "Not bloody likely...!!"   

So, you say, where's the "whistle while you work" in any of that?  "When you hear deficit, think of infrastructure."   The trick is to realize that infrastructure underspending is a deficit too.   

The costs that we have deferred by refusing to pay for needed infrastructure pile up on top of our students and communities in one massive unpaid bill.  It's a bill that Congress and the President -- and for that matter, the Bowles Deficit Commission -- have somehow decided not to think about.   

So, when someone says they want to whack $3 trillion out of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security and other federal spending -- in the worst, most wrenching recession since the Great Depression -- what we should say is the following:

Honestly, I think you should consider going to a therapist.  A person who ignores the fundamental needs of his and her neighbors, when bridges and dams and schools are collapsing all around us, is not psychologically well.

The truth is, all these histrionics about the debt ceiling in Washington are a massive distraction from attending to the physical and human needs of the United States.   Of course we should rein in wasteful spending and fraud and programs that don't work.  But don't talk to me about that when you've just blown trillions on the protracted wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the extension of tax cuts for the country's wealthiest citizens.  You want to raise the eligibility age for Medicare to 67 when 55-year olds are being fired and downsized by the truckload?   I advise you to seek professional help.*

So, when you shift your attention to infrastructure and unmet human needs, you are thinking about the things that truly matter -- such as the health, well-being and productivity of students in public schools.   

Forget about the deficit.  "Cheer yourself up" by thinking about the decaying and broken infrastructure that can provide the opportunity and strategic focus to get Americans back to work.  Visualize the little kids in urban schools who are wheezing from asthma because our political leaders fail to act.   (Leave no child behind, eh?  But it's OK to warehouse them in a sick building?)

Then, visualize the many positive impacts that would flow from a national investment program to upgrade and replace crumbling, sick school buildings.  Visualize construction workers going home from work with freshly cashed paychecks, and stopping off at the supermarket to pick up some groceries.  Visualize cash registers ringing up higher totals, in turn creating jobs for other unemployed and worthy Americans.  Visualize workers with full-time jobs, paying taxes again, and bringing down the deficit the right way -- by working our way out of it.

It looks like the world is collapsing around us, because politicians are implementing the equivalent of "a public capital strike," where they refuse to invest in the future of our country.  

In that bleak landscape, the Drive for Decent Work urges you to protect your own mental health by engaging in wild, crazy, upside-down thinking.  Forget about the deficit.  When you hear deficit, think of infrastructure. Whistle while you work.

* In an article in the Nation, Kurt Vonnegut once pointed out that military spending is the worst addiction of them all, and that a 12-step program may be needed to wean addicts off their destructive habit.  We may need a similar recovery program for deficit hawks, who are prone to destructive binges, and rob innocent bystanders more aggressively then any heroin or cocaine addict.

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Former Gov. Ted Strickland Speaks Out on Deficit Hysteria

Great piece in Huffington Post

Ted Strickland: Dems' Concessions On Debt Debate Are 'Very Troubling':
Sam Stein, Huffington Post

"...A resolution to raise the nation's debt ceiling may remain far off. But the long-term framing of the debate over spending and debt is becoming slightly clearer, and it's causing philosophical fissures among Democrats.

In an interview with The Huffington Post, former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland (D) aired his concern that the fiscal 'belt-tightening' President Obama and many Democrats have pursued has effectively diminished the party's brand. Democrats, he argued, have 'allowed the center of the political debate to be shifted so far to the right that we find ourselves debating on their territory and using Republican language.'

'It's very troubling,' he said."

"...You've got to create conflict, but it's got to be the right kind of conflict," he said. "The thing that bothers me is we allow ourselves to debate issues using their frame and we're doing it with this deficit issue. Everyone now, with the exception of maybe [House Minority Leader] Nancy Pelosi, begins their first statement with, 'Oh, we've got to deal with the deficit.' Yes! But not in 2011. We've got to deal with job losses in 2011."

"You don't take a problem that has developed over decades, that may be structural in nature, and decide, 'Aha! Eureka! We've reached a conclusion -- we've got to solve this problem in the midst of the greatest recession,'" he said. "Of all the times to solve it."

Read rest of article

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Friday, July 15, 2011

Green Jobs Can Put America Back to Work!

The Brookings Institution has just put together a report analyzing the impact of green jobs and the emerging "clean economy," looking in particular on the impact on metro areas. The report offers a detailed look how expanded investment in this sector could benefit urban areas and regional economies.

Among the the report's findings:

Sizing the Clean Economy: A Green Jobs Assessment - Brookings Institution:

"...The clean economy, which employs some 2.7 million workers, encompasses a significant number of jobs in establishments spread across a diverse group of industries. Though modest in size, the clean economy employs more workers than the fossil fuel industry and bulks larger than bioscience but remains smaller than the IT-producing sectors. Most clean economy jobs reside in mature segments that cover a wide swath of activities including manufacturing and the provision of public services such as wastewater and mass transit. A smaller portion of the clean economy encompasses newer segments that respond to energy-related challenges. These include the solar photovoltaic (PV), wind, fuel cell, smart grid, biofuel, and battery industries."

The clean economy grew more slowly in aggregate than the national economy between 2003 and 2010, but newer “cleantech” segments produced explosive job gains and the clean economy outperformed the nation during the recession. Overall, today’s clean economy establishments added half a million jobs between 2003 and 2010, expanding at an annual rate of 3.4 percent. This performance lagged the growth in the national economy, which grew by 4.2 percent annually over the period (if job losses from establishment closings are omitted to make the data comparable). However, this measured growth heavily reflected the fact that many longer-standing companies in the clean economy—especially those involved in housing- and building-related segments—laid off large numbers of workers during the real estate crash of 2007 and 2008, while sectors unrelated to the clean economy (mainly health care) created many more new jobs nationally. At the same time, newer clean economy establishments— especially those in young energy-related segments such as wind energy, solar PV, and smart grid—added jobs at a torrid pace, albeit from small bases.

The clean economy is manufacturing and export intensive. Roughly 26 percent of all clean economy jobs lie in manufacturing establishments, compared to just 9 percent in the broader economy. On a per job basis, establishments in the clean economy export roughly twice the value of a typical U.S. job ($20,000 versus $10,000). The electric vehicles (EV), green chemical products, and lighting segments are all especially manufacturing intensive while the biofuels, green chemicals, and EV industries are highly export intensive.

The clean economy offers more opportunities and better pay for low- and middle-skilled workers than the national economy as a whole. Median wages in the clean economy—meaning those in the middle of the distribution—are 13 percent higher than median U.S. wages. Yet a disproportionate percentage of jobs in the clean economy are staffed by workers with relatively little formal education in moderately well-paying “green collar” occupations.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

"The Age of Greed" interview with author Jeff Madrick (The Real News)

The Age of Greed, by Jeff Madrick

“Who’s responsible for the laying waste of our economy—making the rich far richer and everyone else economically insecure? Madrick does more than name names. He tells us who did what and how they did it—the ideologues, demagogues, corporate titans, and crooks.” —Robert B. Reich

Buy the Hardcover: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Borders |IndieBound | Powell’s | Random House

Buy the eBook:

Kindle | Nook | iBookstore | Sony | Google | Kobo | Other eRetailers

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What About the Long-Term Unemployed?

What About the Long-Term Unemployed? - The Takeaway:
July 11, 2011

"....Friday produced another round of ugly job numbers as the country's unemployment rate inched up to 9.2 percent. Yet in Washington, the conversation remains fixed squarely on a compromise to raise the country's debt ceiling. Have lawmakers forgotten about the country's unemployed? And what about the '99'ers,' the individuals who have exhausted their 99 weeks of unemployment benefits and are left with no government assistance? Where do they fit into the picture?

One of those people who have been unemployed for a long period is Alexandra Jarrin. A veteran of corporate America, she has been unemployed since March 2008 and is currently living in a motel in Vermont. Dan Gross, economics editor and columnist for Yahoo! Finance, talks about how the government has responded."

"...I will be in the streets on Wednesday morning without anywhere to go. I have looked for jobs all over this country along with many, many other people." -- Alexandra Jarrin 

Listen to the interview

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No, We Can’t? Or Won’t?

Where's that can-do spirit, people? Put your remote down. Out of the cafes and into the streets!!

By Paul Krugman
July 10, 2011

"...Our failure to create jobs is a choice, not a necessity — a choice rationalized by an ever-shifting set of excuses..."

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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Mother Jones > The Spam Factory's Dirty Secret

The great investigative journalist, Upton Sinclair, author of "The Jungle," who exposed the appalling crimes of the meat-packing industry over 100 years ago, must be spinning in his grave. (Indeed, if we could install a turbine there, we could probably phase out nuclear power....)

So, will our federal agencies and the Congress be prodded to investigate the appalling line speed and working conditions in US meat and chicken factories? What will it take to overthrow the oppressive conditions in such plants? If such labor violations are mostly confined to immigrant workers, do "we" even care? Oh, so many questions.

Mother Jones, July/August 2011 Issue
First, Hormel gutted the union. Then it sped up the line. And when the pig-brain machine made workers sick, they got canned.

— By Ted Genoways

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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Ohio Democrats propose public spending to boost jobs

Ohio Democrats propose public spending to boost jobs | Business First:

Columbus Morning Call
Tuesday, June 14, 2011

"...Two Democratic legislators from the Cleveland area want to revive the Depression-era federal Works Progress Administration on a state scale to create public works jobs around Ohio, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.
Reps. Nickie Antonio and Mike Foley on Monday unveiled details of the Ohio Works Progress Administration, which would cost about $400 million over two years and create an average of 50 jobs in each of the state's 88 counties. The public service jobs would pay about $27,500 annually, the paper reported."

"The lawmakers conceded the plan isn't likely to get much traction in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, the paper reported."

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Monday, July 4, 2011

Older interns signal gloomy U.S. labor market

Older interns signal gloomy U.S. labor market | Reuters

By Alexandra Alper, New York, 6/3/11

"...Elizabeth Romanaux puts a brave face on working as an intern at the age of 55.

A media relations manager until she joined the millions of unemployed Americans two years ago, Romanaux spent the spring building contact lists and fetching lunches as she tried to keep alive her chances of resuming full employment.

'You have to suck it up sometimes and do what a 17-year-old would happily do and be happy about it,' she said of her recent stint with a public relations firm in New Jersey.

Once the domain of high school and college students, internships are more common among older Americans who are struggling to find jobs and keep their skills up to date in the worst U.S. labor market in decades.

'A lot of adults who are either returning to the workforce or have been laid off in the recession are looking for places and ways to build a resume and fill a gap between jobs,' said Margo Rose, founder of HireFriday, an online job search advice website..."

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Sunday, July 3, 2011

Bill Clinton in Newsweek >> 14 Ways to Put America Back to Work

Nice that someone is talking about jobs, but Clinton's list seems anemic and inadequate. It's heavily skewed toward green jobs, but even at that, he seems to be just nibbling around the edges. Needed public services like education, child care, afterschool programs and home care aren't even mentioned.

Also, if you calculate the true rate of unemployment, as NJFAC does -- 28.6 million Americans are out of work, too discouraged to look or want full-time work when they only have part-time. So these small-bore ideas are pretty weak tea for a massive, long-term unemployment crisis that may persist over many years.

It's Still the Economy, Stupid - Newsweek:
June 19, 2001

"It’s Still the Economy, Stupid: Fourteen million Americans remain out of work, a waste of our greatest resource. The 42nd president has more than a dozen ideas on how to attack the jobs crisis.

Next week in Chicago, the Clinton Global Initiative will focus on America for the first time, inviting business and political leaders to make specific commitments in support of the former president’s jobs blueprint, which he details below."

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Thursday, June 30, 2011

It's A Wonderful Life, The Missing Debt Limit Scene!!

Starring President Obama as George Bailey, Joe Biden as Uncle Billy, John Boehner as Mr. Potter and Michelle Obama as Mary Bailey!!  Coming soon to a Cable News station near you!!

OBAMA:  "...Now listen to me. I, I beg of ya not to do this thing. If Boehner gets a hold of this Building and Loan, there'll never be another decent house built in this town. He's already got charge of the bank. He's got the bus line. He got the department stores, and now he's after us. Why? Well, it's very simple. Because we're cuttin' in on his business, that's why. And because he wants to keep you livin' in his slums and paying the kind of rent he decides."

CHARLIE: Tell us about our money? Where's our money?

OBAMA: You're thinking about this place all wrong, as if I had the money back in a safe. Your money's not here.  Why, your money's in people's houses!   Your money's in Joe's house, it's right next to yours.  It's is in the Kennedy house, and the MacClaren house, and in your house, and a hundred others. You're lending them the money to build, and they're going to pay it back to you the best they can.  Now what are you going to do, foreclose on them?"

"Charlie, remember that unemployment check we sent you last year?  And the student loan we gave your daughter?  And your Aunt Peg's Medicare benefits?  And the bridge that fell down in Minnesota, and the tornadoes in Arkansas?"

"Joe, you had one of those Boehner houses, didn't you? Well, have you forgotten? Have you forgotten what he charged you for that broken-down shack? Here, Ed. You know, you remember last year when things weren't going so well, and you couldn't make your payments. Well, you didn't lose your house, did you? You think Boehner would have let you keep it?"

"Can't you understand what's happening here? Don't you see what's happening? Boehner isn't selling. Boehner's buying! And why? Because we're panicky and he's not. That's why. He's pickin' up some bargain. Now, we can get through this thing all right. We've, we've got to stick together, though. We've got to have faith in each other."

(PS  I sure hope Michelle Obama has some of her wedding loot left...)

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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Rebuild the Dream Video

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Speakout for Good Jobs Tour comes to NYC June 30

The Speakout for Good Jobs Now tour will feature stops in numerous cities across America giving Americans the chance to speak out about how the economy is affecting them. Members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus will listen to what everyday Americans have to say and take that back to Washington with them as they continue to fight to reinvigorate the American Dream — the ability to put in a day’s hard work for good wages and benefits so we can provide our children with a better future.

Learn more about tour stops, visit our Events Page
Speakout for Good Jobs Now

When: Jun 30, 2011
Where: Hostos Community College
500 Grand Concourse
Bronx NY 10451
Description: 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.

Speakout for Good Jobs
A Congressional Listening Tour—Speakout for Good Jobs Now

Join ...   Rep. Charlie Rangel, member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus
Rep. Yvette Clark, member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus
Rep. Jerrold Nadler, member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus
for this important Town Hall meeting.

More Americans are falling out of the middle class than are joining it. These Representatives want to hear the priorities of everyday Americans as a first step towards building America's greatest asset—its middle class.

It's time this country worked again for people who work for a living. Watch this video.

This event is sponsored by and endorsed by Progressive Democrats of America. For more information, go to
Doors open 6:30 p.m. Please check back for possible time change.
Text NYC to 228466 to get New York City event reminders.

Download June 30 Event Flyer

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Speakout for Good Jobs - National Tour

Attend one of our Speakout for Good Jobs Now Tour events in cities around the US. Share your stories of how the economy is affecting your life and your ideas for how we can rebuild the American Dream.

Can't attend an event?  Speak out by sending a personal story or uploading a video.

More info on events at:

June 27:  Detroit, MI 6 p.m. – 8 p.m., Historic King Solomon Baptist Church 6100 14th Street, Detroit, MI 48208
Join Representatives Keith Ellison (MN- CPC Co-Chair), John Conyers (MI) and Hansen Clarke (MI) at the Historic King Solomon Baptist Church for your opportunity to share your stories and ideas.
Text DET to 228466 to get Detroit Event Reminders

June 29:  Milwaukee, WI 6p.m. – 8 p.m. Vincent High School 7501 N Granville Rd, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Join Representatives Gwen Moore (WI), Tammy Baldwin (WI), Jan Schakowsky (IL) and Barbara Lee (CA) at Vincent High School for your opportunity to share your stories and ideas.
Text MKE to 228466 to get Milwaukee Event Reminders

June 30:  New York City, NY 5:30 p.m. -7:30 p.m. Hostos Community College, 500 Grand Concourse, Bronx, NY, 10451

Join Representatives Charlie Rangel (NY), Jerrold Nadler (NY) and Barbara Lee (CA) at Hostos Community College for your opportunity to share your stories and ideas.
Text NYC to 228466 to get New York City Event Reminders

July 2011
Check back for July locations and Special Guests

July 16:  Miami, FL Location information coming soon

Join Representatives Raul Grijalva (AZ-CPC Co-Chair), Lynn Woolsey (CA) and Frederica Wilson (FL) for your opportunity to share your stories and ideas.
Text MIA to 228466 to get Miami Event Updates and Reminders

July 18:  Pittsburgh, PA 6p.m. – 8p.m. The Kinsley Association 645 Frankstown Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15206

Join Representatives Raul Grijalva (AZ- CPC Co-Chair), John Conyers (MI) and Mike Doyle (PA) for your opportunity to share your stories and ideas.
Text PITT to 228466 to get Pittsburgh Event Updates and Reminders

July 19:  Philadephia, PA Location information coming soon

Join Representatives Raul Grijalva (AZ-CPC Co-Chair), Bob Brady (PA) and Chaka Fattah (PA) for your opportunity to share your stories and ideas.
Text PHILLY to 228466 to get Philadelphia Event Updates and Reminders

July 20:  Boston, MA Location information coming soon

Join Representative Jim McGovern (MA) for your opportunity to share your stories and ideas.
Text BOS to 228466 to get Boston Event Updates and Reminders

July 21:  Houston, TX Location information coming soon

Join Representative Sheila Jackson-Lee for your opportunity to share your stories and ideas.
Text HOU to 228466 to get Houston Event Updates and Reminders

July 22:  Portland, OR

Text PDX to 228466 to get Portland Event Updates and Reminders

July 23:  Seattle, WA 12p.m. – 2p.m. The Brockey Conference Center at the South Seattle Community College, 6000 16th Ave. SW , Seattle, WA 98106-1499 (click for map)
Text SEA to 228466 to get Seattle Event Updates and Reminders

August 2011

Check back for August locations and Special Guests

August 16:  Oakland, CA
Text OAK to 228466 to get Oakland Event Updates and Reminders

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US Mayors: 'Bring These War Dollars Home to Meet Vital Human Needs'

US Mayors: 'Bring These War Dollars Home to Meet Vital Human Needs' | The Nation

by John Nichols, 6/21/11
"...When Pendleton, South Carolina, Mayor Randy Hayes rose to address the question of whether the US Conference of Mayors should back an antiwar resolution urging the president and Congress to “speed up the ending” of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the assumption might have been that he would speak in opposition. Instead, the self-described mayor of a “military town” argued that the resolution was very restrained—in that it didn’t call for immediate withdrawal—and suggested that most mayors would recognize the merit of the argument for redirecting money for military adventures abroad to meeting needs at home.
Hayes was right. The mayors voted overwhelmingly Monday for the resolution, which urges President Obama and Congress to “bring these war dollars home to meet vital human needs, promote job creation, rebuild our infrastructure, aid municipal and state governments, and develop a new economy based upon renewable, sustainable energy, and reduce the national debt.”
The resolution, which Code Pink and other antiwar groups campaigned for, was sponsored by a group of progressive mayors from traditionally liberal cities, including R.T. Rybak of Minneapolis; David Coss of Santa Fe; Dave Norris from Charlottesville, Virginia; and Carolyn Peterson of Ithaca, New York."

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Monday, May 30, 2011

Against Learned Helplessness

Expanded public investment for job creation consumes 97 times its weight in excess political realism.

The high priests of financial austerity and tax cuts for the wealthy prefer private opulence and public squalor. They would rather let families languish in protracted unemployment while schools crumble, levees fail and bridges collapse.

Be realistic, demand the impossible -- living wage jobs for all!

"...5 million green jobs, national infrastructure bank, hybrid cars, solar panels, mass transit, energy-efficient housing, new Civilian Conservation Corps, universal broadband, pre-K, reading tutors, afterschool and home care for all."

Against Learned Helplessness -
By Paul Krugman, 5/29/11

"...In pointing out that we could be doing much more about unemployment, I recognize, of course, the political obstacles to actually pursuing any of the policies that might work. In the United States, in particular, any effort to tackle unemployment will run into a stone wall of Republican opposition. Yet that’s not a reason to stop talking about the issue. In fact, looking back at my own writings over the past year or so, it’s clear that I too have sinned: political realism is all very well, but I have said far too little about what we really should be doing to deal with our most important problem."

"As I see it, policy makers are sinking into a condition of learned helplessness on the jobs issue: the more they fail to do anything about the problem, the more they convince themselves that there’s nothing they could do. And those of us who know better should be doing all we can to break that vicious circle."

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Saturday, May 28, 2011

"How to Create a Job" Misses the Mark

I am generally a fan of Ira Glass and "This American Life," but the recent piece they aired ("How to Create a Job"), that purported to answer whether government can create jobs, was pathetic and sad.   And the reason seems to be that the NPR reporters seem so bracketed in by their oh-so-practical, centrist, neo-liberal Zeitgeist, they have drunk the Kool-Aid along with everyone else.  They can't look outside the box, because they're in the box.

The teaser for the show says, "It seems like every politician has a plan for putting people back to work.  But we and the Planet Money team couldn't help but wonder... how do you create a job?  Can politicians truly create many jobs?  Is it possible the whole thing is just well-intentioned hot air?"

Glass opens the piece by blowing off the idea of public investment in infrastructure -- without any analysis of whether it works or not.

“One of the big ways that politicians used to create jobs, the way FDR did it back in the 1930s, [was to] put more people on the payroll, build dams, build roads, spend and spend and spend – nobody, nobody with any power anyway, is talking about doing that..."

In the first segment, "Can Government Move My Cheese?" a Planet Money reporter examines the questionable claims of Gov. Scott Walker, who claims to be creating 250,000 jobs in the private sector.   

This angle might be worthwhile, but the poor listener is left with the feeling that "government's" hands are tied when it comes to creating jobs.  Reporter Chana Joffe-Walt winds up her piece by suggesting that there is little a governor can do to create jobs:

"...So in the meantime, politicians with a jobs number to achieve focus on the short-term. Republicans and Democrats hand out tax incentives to seduce employers into hiring.  And of course, those goodies cost something.  In Wisconsin, they account for $117 million in taxes, that will not be collected over Walker's first two year, and this in a state where they are fighting over every dollar.  This leaves the government with less money to... spend on education so employers can hire smart people, to build good roads and infrastructure so businesses can transport goods, and innovate."

"If you go with tax cuts, you might seduce some employers to hire now, but you'll hurt future employers who needed you to spend on schools, so they can find educated workers to come up with great new ideas.  If you go with long-term spending -- schools and Internet -- you have to increase taxes to pay for it, which can mean that businesses on that job-creation fence will be pushed to anti-job creating territory.  In both cases, you've zeroed out your efforts.  You've had some effect on the one side, but canceled it out with what you did on the other side."

"But that's the choice you have -- long-term or short-term.  Whether the governor is Democrat or Republican, someone you love or someone you hate, politicians don't have a lot of options.  At best, they'll get some jobs for the somersaults it took to get there.  At worst, they had some impact, did something, but had no idea how to measure exactly what."

What's the problem here?  Joffe-Walt isn't wrong to suggest that there are short-term vs. long-term tradeoffs, or that the value of public investment might take some time to be realized, such as she suggests, in the end of the governors' second term, or even later.  But within the range of tax breaks, incentives and investments that are made by states in job creation, there is a wide variation in what actually works, and a lot of that actually could be measured -- something NPR might have learned about by talking to groups like Good Jobs First.   

But an even bigger problem is that the overall piece is looking at the wrong end of the horse.  With Glass' glib dismissal of the feasibility of infrastructure investment, Planet Money lets the Congress and the President off the hook for what the federal government actually can do to create jobs.  

Within the spending choices that are made by Congress, there are direct tradeoffs made by deciding whether to fund military spending vs. education, or subsidies for oil companies vs. investments in clean energy.  Those choices really could move the dial on whether we have jobs or not.   For every $1 billion spent on the military, $1 billion spent on mass transit or education would create twice as many jobs.  Spending $100 billion on clean energy and conservation investments would create 2 million jobs, and twice as many jobs as spending on investments in oil and fossil fuels.  (Not to mention, the tradeoffs involved in granting tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires, vs. making targeted infrastructure and social investments in a deep recession!)  So that is point #1.

Second, the federal American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) did save and create many jobs, showing that expanded public investment in job creation does make a difference. A November 2010 report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that as of the third quarter of 2010, the stimulus lowered the unemployment rate "by between 0.8 percentage points and 2.0 percentage points," and "[i]ncreased the number of people employed by between 1.4 million and 3.6 million.   The stimulus bill has been criticized from the right as wasteful, but the truth is that broke the free fall of the economy and demonstrated that government can in fact save and create jobs.  

Third, the problem for states right now is that because the state fiscal stabilization and Medicaid assistance funds in the ARRA are ending, they are collectively shouldering huge fiscal gaps that are actually leading to thousands of layoffs.  The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities reports that 44 states and the District of Columbia are projecting budget shortfalls totaling $112 billion for fiscal year 2012.   One of the most important things that politicians could do to protect and grow jobs in this severe recession would be to extend financial aid to the states, to keep them from making deep cuts in education, health care and assistance for the unemployed.  (You would think Planet Money might want to take note of this context, because the same governor they are reporting on, Scott Walker, who claims to be interested in creating jobs, is seeking to fire thousands of workers in the public sector.)

Fourth, direct public job creation by the federal government would likely be much more cost-effective than granting tax breaks or incentives to private companies.   1 million direct jobs a year could be created for a direct federal investment of $46 billion, according to Prof. Philip Harvey, author of Back to Work: A Public Jobs Proposal for Economic Recovery, published by Demos.  

Fifth, why not interview Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, who are supporting Make It in America legislation to restore American manufacturing; or Rep. Rosa DeLauro, who has introduced a bill to create a federal infrastructure bank, or Rep. John Conyers, who has proposed establishing a national Full Employment Trust Fund by imposing a financial transactions tax on Wall Street; or Rep. Marcy Kaptur, who has proposed establishing a 21st Century Civilian Conservation Corps.   I guess they don't have any power... they're just members of Congress.   

Or reach out to the Blue-Green Alliance, a coalition of obscure environmental and labor organizations like the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the United Steelworkers, and the United Auto Workers, which supports a ten-year program of federal investment in green energy and green manufacturing to create 5 million jobs.  This is a program that would actually pay for itself through reduced costs for imported oil.

No, we'd rather look at the wrong end of the horse...   and leave people with a sense that that there's nothing left for us but a fiscal crumb fight in the states, vague and unmeasurable statements by governors, and "well-intentioned hot air."  

I like This American Life and think this report is worth listening to -- for all its flaws -- but it tells us something about how mainstream media is missing the boat about jobs.  (Maybe, perhaps, because the reporters who work for NPR are in fact, not leftists.)  And we're left with the implicit assumption that the role of government can only be to support the role of the private sector in job creation.  It's all about education and human capital formation, never mind all the middle-aged, well-educated workers who have been spit out and left to twist in the wind by corporate America, and now -- public sector employers.  

Almost comically, early on in this piece, Glass accuses Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research of engaging in "trope" by suggesting that job creation is more important that obsessing about the deficit.

"I mean, to my mind, it really is unconscionable just sit back and have people go, oh, we‘re worried about the deficit 10, 15, 20 years unite when we have 25 million people unemployed, underemployed or out of the labor force altogether... So, getting jobs in the economy really should be front and center."

Exactly right.  Why not let Baker, or some other knowledgable economist like Joseph Stiglitz, make a full-throated defense of how public investment actually does create jobs?  And how job creation actually is much more important than obsessing about the deficit?   

Jobless recovery is an oxymoron, and at the current slow pace of job growth, we're unlikely to get out of it without some major initiative by government, -- yet this piece (which claims "we have answers") provides few ideas on how that could even conceivably take place.  

Full disclosure:   The writer of this post, Charles Bell, serves as vice chair for the National Jobs for All Coalition, which advocates a New Deal, FDR-style federal jobs program of exactly the type that Ira Glass thinks no one -- or at least no one with any power -- is willing to talk about.

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