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Romney’s 9-Point Plan to Annihilate Unions by Jeremy Gantz, inthesetimes.com | October 25, 2012Except for one quick swipe at teachers unions by Mitt Romney on Monday, neither of the major-party presidential candidates—nor their running mates—mentioned workers’ rights, collective bargaining or organized labor during any of the four presidential-campaign debates. Usually, anything happening in the swing-state-rich Midwest gets scrupulous attention from presidential candidates. Given the momentous labor battles that played out across Midwestern political stages over the last few years, as GOP lawmakers waged attacks on unions in Wisconsin, Indiana and Ohio, the omissions were surprising. But then again, given unions’ declining size and presumed lack of clout among undecided voters in swing states, perhaps they weren't. When unions have popped up during the general election season, it was as enemies of progress. Romney’s reference to unionized teachers as an obstacle to reform during the foreign policy debate, of all places, was so quick you probably missed it. In fact, he would like to eviscerate them. read more »
How a Mitt-Style Increase in Military Spending Might Cost You Your Job by Lynn Stuart Parramore, alternet.org | October 24, 2012As predicted, one of the big clashes in the final presidential debate on Monday night concerned military spending. The dustup not only revealed a key difference between the candidates, it gave us the best line of the night, Obama's quip that we no longer rely on horses and bayonets. When it comes to federal spending, the choices we make reflect our national priorities. If you listened to Mitt Romney during the debate, it was pretty clear what his priorities would be if elected. He could not hide the fact that when it comes to spending, children, education, eldercare, trains, roads, technology, research – in short, the things that make life livable at home – will take a backseat to fighting foreign wars abroad and pumping up an already bloated military budget. But here’s what he really didn’t want you to know: Increased military spending could land a pink-slip on your desk. read more »
Yes, We Can Afford Higher Taxes—Here's Why by James Kwak, theatlantic.com | October 24, 2012While next month's presidential election will have a major impact on the lives of hundreds of millions of Americans, it is unlikely to change our long-term political direction. Mitt Romney does not represent anything particularly new -- just another step down in tax rates and another reduction in government programs for the poor and the middle class. Barack Obama represents a pause in the long march, not a reversal of direction; he has largely bought into where we are today. It doesn't have to be this way. We can continue to pay for our modest social insurance programs, so people who are laid off have time to look for good jobs, poor people can get health care, and the elderly can retire with a minimum of security. It's just a matter of choice. read more »
America's Middle Class: An Endangered Species? by David Case, globalpost.com | October 24, 2012The American middle class is more financially stressed and anxious than at any time since World War II. Unlike the “Leave it to Beaver” generation that enjoyed prosperity, growth and opportunity in the quarter-century after the war, today’s middle class suffers from a prevailing malaise, marked by declining wealth, rising debt, stagnant wages, and a mounting angst about their prospects. “Middle class Americans look to the economic future — their own, their children’s, and the nation’s — with a mix of apprehension and muted optimism,” reported the Pew Research Center in an August 2012 study. They are increasingly preoccupied by wallet issues: a lack of job security, the challenges of paying for education and retirement, and even the formerly sacrosanct idea that the next generation would be better off. “Only about one-in-ten [members of the middle class] say they are very optimistic about the country’s long-term economic future,” Pew reports. read more »
House Republicans Block Remedy For China's Job-Killing Currency Intervention by Ross Eisenberry, epi.org | October 23, 2012One year ago, on Oct. 11, 2011, the Senate passed Sherrod Brown’s Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act of 2011. This legislation aimed to put an end to the exchange rate intervention practiced by China and other countries, which kills jobs in the United States by artificially lowering the cost of the intervening countries’ exports while making goods produced in the U.S. artificially expensive. The Senate passed the bill 63-35, on a rare bipartisan vote. The next day, the bill was sent to the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, where it has been blocked ever since. This gridlock is especially unfortunate because a year earlier, in Sept. 2010, the House passed a somewhat tougher bill, the Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act. So why hasn’t Congress acted? What happened to change the outcome in the House from one year to the next? Most obviously, control switched from the Democrats to the Republicans in the 2010 elections. read more »
The Government Creates Jobs by Jared Bernstein, jaredbernsteinblog.com | October 22, 2012There are a few things politicians of all stripes say that should drive you as nuts as they drive me. One I’ve been inveighing against since OTE was born is the bass akwards formulation: “just like families, the federal government must tighten its belt in hard times” (the subject of one of my first posts). This one’s particularly invidious both because it makes folksy sense and because it’s precisely because families are tightening that the public sector, specifically to federal gov’t, needs to loosen. But challenging that damaging aphorism for first place is this common point of agreement between politicians as diverse as Obama and Romney: the government doesn’t create jobs. That’s not just patent nonsense. It’s economically damaging in lots of ways. Every month the jobs report prints the numbers showing that this assertion is off by, at last count, 22 million or 16% of total payrolls. read more »
The Welfare State of America by Peter Frase and Bhaskar Sunkara, inthesetimes.com | October 22, 2012Mitt Romney was ridiculed by the liberal media when he complained to wealthy donors, “There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what.” To Romney, these voters are united by a dependency on government and a belief that “they are entitled to healthcare, to food, to housing, to you-name-it.” Seething with contempt for half of America, Romney is a caricature of an out-of-touch elite. He’s also, in a twisted way, right. A movement to expand the welfare state has the potential to foster a new majoritarian Left coalition. Republicans know this—that’s why they manipulate the way welfare is perceived at every turn. read more »
For the Welfare of All by Frances Fox Piven, inthesetimes.com | October 22, 2012The Left should fight for programs that provide health services, educate children, bolster the income of the less-well-off and subsidize housing. The reasons are obvious. The first is a simple moral imperative: A good society strives to meet the basic needs of all its people. The second is that government programs that protect people from the exigencies of labor markets, or of old age, or orphanhood, or disability, make people more secure. A sense of security, the reduction of fear, is a good thing in itself. But it also empowers people, and for that reason is essential to a more democratic society. Workers are far more likely to stand up to their bosses when they know they can fall back on decent unemployment benefits, just as women are more likely to stand up to abusive husbands when they know that they and their children can rely on government income supports. read more »
Inside Bain's Chinese Sensata Factories, Where Workers Put in 12-Hour Days for $.99-$1.35 an Hour by Joshua Holland, alternet.org | October 22, 2012Mitt romney has made Obama's out-of-context “you didn't build that” quote a central theme of his campaign. It's ironic, as Mitt Romney is going to profit just before the election when Bain-owned Sensata Technologies moves 170 high-tech jobs from Freeport, Illinois, to a plant in China built for the firm by the Chinese government. Sensata enjoyed record revenues last year – this isn't about making the “hard choices” necessary to save a failing enterprise. The workers in Freeport have been working 24 hours a day, in three shifts. They make $14-17 per hour, with benefits. read more »
America Is Even More Unequal than It Seems by Salvatore Babones, inequality.org | October 22, 2012We all know that the United States is the most unequal of the rich nations of the world. Only relatively poor countries like Malaysia and Mexico have levels of inequality similar to those in the United States. All of the rich countries of western Europe and east Asia have much lower levels of inequality than we do. The real situation, however, is worse than the income data would suggest. Data on income inequality only tell half the story. The differences in the ways people live are only partly determined by income. They’re also determined by the levels of government services provided to everyone. This is most obvious when it comes to healthcare. In the rest of the developed world, everyone has health insurance. Depending how you count, about a quarter of working-age Americans don’t. Real inequalities in health coverage are even greater, since the richest Americans tend to have the best insurance. read more »
Subsidized Jobs: A Faint Echo of the New Deal , stateline.org | June 18, 2010
In rural Winston County, Mississippi, Taylor Machine Works — best known for its Big Red forklifts — is the primary employer. After the recession hit in late 2008, the company shed nearly 200 of its 500 jobs and would not be rehiring anyone now if it weren’t for a subsidized employment program Mississippi launched with the help of federal stimulus money.
No Clear Path Forward After Jobs Bill Fails Again In Senate, Huffington Post | June 18, 2010
The Sagging of the Middle Class, economix.blogs.nytimes.com | June 14, 2010
The chart above captures the takeaway point of David Autor’s new report, “The Polarization of Job Opportunities in the U.S. Labor Market,” published by the Center for American Progress and the Hamilton Project. read more »
A Jobless Rate Still Unaffected by New Hiring, The New York Times | June 4, 2010
After hemorrhaging jobs for months, the economy is finally starting to add them. Yet the unemployment rate is not really budging because of people like Regina Myles. Ms. Myles, 51, has been out of work for three years. After a grueling job search yielded 150 interviews but no offers, she simply stopped looking last fall. read more »
U.S. Added 431,000 Jobs in May, Mostly From Census, The New York Times | June 4, 2010
Employers added 431,000 nonfarm jobs nationwide in May, the biggest increase in a single month in a decade, the Labor Department said Friday. But the bulk of the growth was in government jobs, driven by hiring for the Census, and private-sector job growth was weak. The unemployment rate fell to 9.7 percent nationwide, from 9.9 percent in April, the department said.
Economy Fueled By Census Hiring Adds 431K Jobs, But Few Positions Created In Private Sector, The Washington Post | June 4, 2010
Private employers dramatically cut back their rate of job creation in May, according to a government report released Friday that cast doubt on at least one aspect of the nation's economic recovery. read more »
Economic News Release, bls.gov | June 4, 2010
Total nonfarm payroll employment grew by 431,000 in May, reflecting
the hiring of 411,000 temporary employees to work on Census 2010, the
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Private-sector em-
ployment changed little (+41,000). Manufacturing, temporary help ser-
vices, and mining added jobs, while construction employment declined.
The unemployment rate edged down to 9.7 percent.
Fishermen Wait On Docks As Oil Gushes, The New York Times | June 3, 2010
This time of year, Eric Authement would normally be buying about 70,000 pounds of shrimp a day from the boats that line the Grand Caillou Bayou and spread their winglike nets in the bays, marshes, coastal waters and inlets along the coast. But in the last month, the shrimp processing plant his family has run for generations has been much quieter. Some days, he has bought next to nothing.
Does Washington Care About Unemployment?, theweek.com | June 2, 2010
In 1983, Ronald Reagan's Washington regarded high unemployment as a national emergency. Today, with unemployment kissing 10 percent, Barack Obama's Washington scarcely seems perturbed. Why? read more »
Job Outlook for Teenagers Worsens, The New York Times | June 1, 2010
This year is shaping up to be even worse than last for the millions of high school and college students looking for summer jobs. read more »