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PORTSIDE  September 2011, Week 1

PORTSIDE September 2011, Week 1

Subject:

Now Obama Has Zero Choice on Jobs

From:

Portside Moderator <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Sat, 3 Sep 2011 10:49:05 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Parts/Attachments

text/plain (176 lines)

Jobs Report Message: Now Obama Has Zero Choice But To
Go Bold On Jobs

By Isaiah J. Poole
Campaign for America's Future
September 2, 2011

http://www.ourfuture.org/blog-entry/2011093501/jobs-report-message-obama-has-no-choice-go-bold-jobs

Zero. That was the number of net jobs produced by the
economy in August, according to the Bureau of Labor
Statistics.

Zero is the number that looms above President Obama as
he delivers his address Thursday to a joint session of
Congress.

The imperative for the president is now more clear than
ever. He must present a bold, visionary plan to address
today's jobs emergency, or risk delivering to the
nation's unemployed ... zero.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning reported
that the unemployment rate remained at 9.1 percent,
with 14 million out of work and another 8.8 million
working part time when they really want to work full
time. The meager net increase in private-sector jobs,
17,000, was entirely offset by a loss of 17,000 pubic-
sector jobs, which were especially acute at the local
government level.

Today's unemployment report amplifies the pressure
President Obama should feel to present a game-changing
jobs proposal. In a statement released this morning, [
http://tinyurl.com/3blak99 ]The Campaign for America's
Future's Roger Hickey wrote, "The policy of our
government is systematically undermining the recovery.
Public sector layoffs are undermining consumer buying
power, crippling the ability of the private sector to
sell products and services. Clearly, President Obama
must reverse this downward spiral by creating jobs
directly, putting money in consumer's pockets, and
helping small and large companies to find buyers and
invest in growth."

That encouragement has also already been coming from
Obama's progressive allies:

    The Campaign for America's Future joined a
    coalition of 68 progressive groups in a letter to
    President Obama calling for him to move beyond
    "half-measures designed to appeal to a narrow
    ideological minority" and instead announce a
    program that would be "big, bold, and create jobs
    directly."

    The co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive
    Caucus, Reps. Keith Ellison and Raul Grijalva, sent
    a letter to the president Thursday calling for
    "significant emergency jobs legislation to put
    Americans back to work now." Some Progressive
    Caucus members have been backing legislation that
    would spend $227 billion over two years to create
    more than 2.2 million jobs. The letter also called
    for the creation of a National Infrastructure
    Development Bank to help fund rebuilding projects
    to "boost our economy and create badly needed
    jobs."

    The AFL-CIO asked its members Thursday to sign an
    "America Wants To Work Pledge." "America needs good
    jobs, and I pledge to do all I can as an activist
    to demand that our leaders create them," the pledge
    begins. In a video launching the campaign, AFL-CIO
    President Richard Trumka says, "It's our job to
    demand that our leaders, local and state officials,
    and the president, take big, bold action now to
    create good jobs and put Americans back to work."

Add to all of this the administration's own economic
projections, released Thursday, that predict
unemployment above 6 percent well into 2016, with
unemployment still near 9 percent in 2012. With
economic growth projected to not average above 2.5
percent for the next several years, the case becomes
stronger for the federal government to step in where
the private sector has not. The alternative is having
the number of long-term unemployed-now around 6,2
million-grow even higher, and the labor force
participation rate, now at 64 percent, continue to
hover at historic lows.

The specifics of what progressives would consider a
"bold" jobs plan are spelled out in "Big Ideas To Get
America Working," a series of posts published on
OurFuture.org in August. Most of the key elements are
also summarized in the AFL-CIO's six-point agenda for
good jobs:

    1. Rebuild America's schools, roads, ports, airways
    and energy systems.

    2. Revive U.S. manufacturing and stop exporting
    good jobs overseas.

    3. Put people to work in communities doing work
    that needs to be done by directly creating millions
    of jobs.

    4. Help state and local governments avoid more
    layoffs and service cuts by increasing federal
    Medicaid funding during periods of high
    unemployment. Ensure that we have our priorities
    straight so we can fund essential federal
    government functions-not slash them to the bone.

    5. Help fill the massive shortfall of consumer
    demand by extending unemployment benefits and
    keeping homeowners in their homes.

    6. Reform Wall Street so it helps Main Street
    create jobs by encouraging lending to small
    businesses, enacting a financial speculation tax
    and ending Wall Street cheating and fraud.

The progressives pushing President Obama for this kind
of bold jobs agenda have been criticized for ignoring
political reality, citing polls that suggest majorities
of the public will not support extensive spending
programs to create jobs. But while it is true that the
conservative spin machine has had significant success
in misrepresenting the facts about the administration's
stimulus efforts, there is also this poll of 2008 Obama
voters commissioned by MoveOn.org that the president
should consider. In that poll, released Thursday, 81
percent of respondents agreed with the statement that
"Obama should lay out a broad plan to create millions
of jobs and hold Republicans accountable if they block
it." Only 16 percent said the president should "focus
on smaller measures that Republicans have supported" in
order to assure some victories in Congress.

It is rarely a good idea for a public official to
ignore the people who elected them, especially when 81
percent of them are on one side of an issue. And in
this case, that 81 percent is joined by leading
economists, a goodly number of Wall Street analysts,
and even such Republicans as Bruce Bartlett, who has
been openly critical of tea-party obstructionism and
economic hostage-taking.

The imperative is clear: President Obama next week must
break out of the political constraints imposed by
congressional conservatives and inside-the-Beltway
pundits. We have a jobs emergency, and the proposal
that President Obama presents to the nation next week
must be as bold as the seriousness of the crisis

___________________________________________

Portside aims to provide material of interest to people
on the left that will help them to interpret the world
and to change it.

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