An address to the President… I hope he hears it and follows through with these suggestions…
As the debate over deficits ramped up in Washington on Monday, Sen. Bernie Sanders laid out the compelling case not to slash programs for working families. Any deficit reduction package must rely on new revenue for at least half the reduction in red ink, he added in a major address in the Senate. Sanders spoke at length about what caused deficits (wars, Wall Street bailouts, tax breaks for the rich) and how to shrink them (more revenue from the wealthiest Americans to match spending cuts). He urged fellow senators not to yield to Republican congressional leaders who “acted like schoolyard bullies” when they walked out of budget negotiations. He summed up the situation in a letter to the president that had been signed by more than 16000 people by the time he completed his speech. Sign the letter » http://www.sanders.senate.gov
A legitimate critique…
“Today’s economy has made it easier to fall into poverty. … Every American is vulnerable to the insecurities and anxieties of this new economy. And that’s why the single most important focus of my economic agenda as president will be to pursue policies that create jobs and make work pay,” Obama said that day to his mostly black audience.
At that time, the nation’s overall unemployment rate was 4.7%. Whites had a jobless rate of 4.2% while the black unemployment rate stood at 8.1%. Today, the black rate is 15.5%, nearly double that of white job-seekers.
I don’t blame Obama for the economic conditions that are responsible for so many blacks being out of work. The seeds of this problem were planted long before he moved into the Oval Office. But I do fault him for not doing more to fix this problem.
The poor in urban America, he said in that 2007 speech, “suffer most from a politics that has been tipped in favor of those with the most money, and influence, and power.” And then he asked rhetorically, “How can a country like this allow it?” To which he answered, “We can’t.”
But so far, under his leadership, he has allowed it.
Finding work for the jobless is the best anti-poverty program this nation can mount. But while the Obama administration spends $608 million during the first 17 days of its involvement in Libya’s civil war — it can muster neither the money nor the will to combat black unemployment. – DeWayne Wickham
Another critique of the President and, by extension, the Republicans who block everything constructive that he has proposed. It’s almost like the President is saying, “Why should I propose anything if the Repugs are going to block it in the House and Senate?”
I agree with Reich here…
On Monday the president met with business leaders on his “jobs and competitiveness council,” who suggested more public-private partnerships to train workers, less government red-tape in obtaining permits, and more jobs in travel and tourism, among other things. The President then toured a manufacturing plant in North Carolina, and made an eloquent speech about the need for more jobs.
Doesn’t the White House get it? The president has to have a bold jobs plan, with specifics. Why not exempt the first $20,000 of income from payroll taxes for the next year? Why not a new WPA for the long-term unemployed, and a Civilian Conservation Corps for the legions of young jobless Americans? Why not allow people to declare bankruptcy on their primary residences, and thereby reorganize their mortgage debt?
Or a hundred other ways to boost demand.
Fluff won’t get us anywhere. In fact, it creates a policy vacuum that will be filled by Republicans intent on convincing Americans that cutting federal spending and reducing taxes on the rich will create jobs.
Most Americans are smart enough to see through this. But if the Republican snake oil is the only remedy being offered, some people will buy it. And if the President and Democrats on Capitol Hill continue to obsess about reaching an agreement to raise the debt limit, they risk making the snake oil seem like a legitimate cure.
The puff balls being offered by the CEOs on the president’s jobs and competitiveness council are hardly a substitute. These CEOs won’t suggest hard-ball ideas to boost demand. Why should they? Their companies rely less and less on consumers in the United States — and, for that matter, on American workers. For several years now, these companies’ foreign sales have been growing faster than their US sales and they’ve been creating more jobs abroad than here.
Consider GE, whose Chairman and CEO, Jeffrey Immelt, is also the chairman of the President’s jobs council. By the end of last year, 54 percent of GE’s 287,000 employees worked outside the United States. That’s a turnaround from as recently as 2005, when a majority of the firm’s workers were still located in the United States.
GE and the other companies represented on the President’s jobs council will continue to do fine regardless of shriveled demand in the United States. But unless demand is boosted here, American workers will continue to be hard hit.
If the choice is between Republican snake oil and the puff balls of the president’s job’s council, America will be in deeper and deeper trouble. So will the president. – Robert Reich