Thursday, May 27, 2010

Jobs and the Cat Food Commission

Have I mentioned recently that I NEED a FREAKIN' JOB?

Well, I do. As do many millions more of my fellow citizens. I'm feeling a bit too lazy to go get the official figures but just last week, the official Unemployment rate was 9.9% (roughly 15 million). Add in another few million for the Underemployed and a few million more to cover the folks who have given up, "self-employed," and the other groups not counted and the figure is probably doubled or more.

So what do we get? Scaling back of the so-called Jobs Bill to appease the Deficit hawks.

Under fire from rank-and-file Democrats worried about the soaring national debt, congressional leaders reached a tentative agreement Wednesday to scale back a package that would have devoted nearly $200 billion to jobless benefits and other economic provisions while postponing a scheduled pay cut for doctors who see Medicare patients.

Nothing about scaling back on fighting two wars of choice. Nothing about raising taxes on Hedge Fund managers who pocket Billions and pay taxes at the Capital Gains rate. (Parenthetically, why is "unearned income" felt to be so much more valuable than "earned income" that it is taxed at less than half the rate of earned income? Doesn't that fly directly against the traditional Horatio Alger effect that hard work is one of the primary positive attributes in the US and should be rewarded?)

David Dayen yesterday picks up on Harold Meyerson's column from yesterday morning:
Of all the gaps between elite and mass opinion in America today, perhaps the greatest is this: The elites don't really believe we're still in recession. Or maybe, they just don't care.

My bold. For years, I've described myself as a "cynically pessimistic optimist" because I want to believe that those we elect actually do have the best interests of all in mind. Now, I'm just becoming a cynical pessimist. (Yes, I'm one of those who bought into the myths as a child and losing those beliefs is difficult.)

The original stimulus package was used to save a lot of teaching jobs. The White House reported the figure of 650K jobs saved (not all of these being teaching jobs). But now we're back to needing to pass another emergency bill to save 100K teaching jobs. Again. And this will be an on-going need since most states are still struggling to balance their budgets so we will be back here again next year.

So what does all this have to do with the President's "Deficit Control Commission" (aka the Cat Food Commission)?

Glad you asked.

We are in the worst economic times since the Great Depression of the 1930s; a time when getting people back to work at meaningful jobs with living wages should be the highest priority of everyone in office right now. It seems to me, that one real good way to increase federal revenues is to get more people working, paying both federal, state taxes and FICA. Unfortunatley, it appears that it is mainly the Unions such as AFSCME and AFL-CIO that recognize this. Gerald McEntee, the President of AFSCME says it best:
“Right now, jobs matter more than deficits,” Mr. McEntee said at a news conference at the Capitol. “And even if the deficit is your top concern, imagine what will happen to it if hundreds of thousands more Americans lose their jobs.”

President Obama set the charter of the Deficit Commission that "everything has to be on the table." Including Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and even the just passed subsidies for health care.

Just as the Clinton Administration provided cover to the Republicans in destroying the welfare safety net, so will the Obama Administration provide cover for the destruction of Social Security. Isn't it a good thing that billionaire hedge fund operators are so concerned with Social Security that the only way they can see to save it is to destroy it? (/snark)

And because I can:


  1. "Nothing about scaling back on fighting two wars of choice."

    But those are necessary, don't you see? Without them, Al-Qaida would be following us home, sawing off heads!

    I'm 50 and have been unemployed for 14 months now, and somehow get the impression that the high-tech industry for which I used to work would rather hire H1B wage slaves than pay Americans a decent wage. There have been many positions that paid far lower than I wanted, but I would have accepted...if only an offer had been made. But hey--soldiers getting killed or worse for an obscene, unnecessary war (or two) are a small price to pay for the continued comfort and monetary blessing of some Republican CEOs, no?

  2. But of course, how better to make sure the companies can make money than to hire H1b holders and pay them a lower wage than US citizens so they can take the technology back home with them to further undercut US jobs.