Posts Tagged Jobs

A Letter to President Obama

I concur.

This is a letter written on the day that Obama brought down the hammer on banks and the day after Ted Kennedy’s seat went to a nobody who posed naked for Cosmopolitan magazine.

Re-posted from Posted Without Comment a DailyKos diary.

Dear President Obama,

As someone who has been active in Democratic politics for decades and as someone who supported and worked to elect you both to the Senate and the presidency, I cannot begin to tell you how disappointed I have been by your performance.

From your selection of staff (Rahm Emanuel), and cabinet members and advisors (Geithner, Summers,, you have chosen to surround yourself with those with deep histories of favoring corporations and Wall Street over the average citizen.

The result is now clear to see: a year of work on your claimed biggest priority, health care reform, going down the drain. How sad and embarrassing, not to mention devastating, to those millions needing health care and to the Democratic Party and our hopes for 2010.
Your lack of leadership on the health care effort came back to bite you in a very big way. And your lack of urgent response to a banking and financial system run amok — a system that has consistently favored big money interests over those of the average citizen — may prove to be the undoing of both you and the party.

Your rhetoric today on breaking up the big banks may be too little, too late. You surrounded yourself with Wall Street sycophants who, apparently, insulated you from the anger that has been bubbling up from the streets for months.

It makes me sad to have to write this letter to you, but my disappointment is profound.

I hope you begin to understand the real pain people are experiencing in our country. And I hope you begin to see that the average citizen needs a voice — and an advocate — in our government.

The big money interests have increasingly dominated the policy machinery of government, much to the detriment of our democracy (made only worse by today’s Supreme Court decision granting additional campaign money powers to corporations).

And instead of stepping up and stopping this malignant spread, you and your team have embraced and even encouraged it.

I guess I’m not only sad and disappointed, I’m disgusted.

Count me out of your corner for 2012. If I had wanted more corporate-centric Clintonism, I would have worked to elect Hillary.

Perhaps you’ll change. But I’m not holding my breath…

Bob Johnson

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Hunger in Utah

Today’s Tribune has an article: More low-income Utahns go hungry

Do you ever feel hunger? Have you ever been hungry because you couldn’t afford to buy food? As a parent, have you ever been unable to provide food for your child?

As my astute friend was pointing out to me last night, the rising unemployment in our country means more and more people will find themselves homeless and frequently hungry. The safety nets we’ve created (soup kitchens, food banks, church welfare) will be unable to meet the demands — they are already finding that to be the case.

So many Americans literally live from paycheck to paycheck, barely making ends meet, using credit too much, saving nothing. Even a short interruption of income can mean the difference between eating or not, paying utilities or not, or even having a place to live. I saw on the news that half a million people were added to the unemployment rolls just last month. It is looking grim for any help for the auto industry, and regardless of how you feel about that, many hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of people are likely to lose their jobs.

The challenge of simply housing and feeding those in need through the recession will certainly necessitate more help from all of us who have the ability to give. But equally important is finding ways of putting people back to work. I know I sound like a broken record on this, but a main key to bringing our economy back to life is jobs. And that may mean Roosevelt-style public works jobs. So be it. We can’t allow people to starve.

Photo credit: PictureHistory

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And now, back to our economy

And by “our” I mean the whole world, since the economic crisis is worldwide. We had a nice diversion with the election, but in the cold light of morning, we realize the situation is as dire as it was before the election consumed us. The stock market took another dive yesterday. That matters to me because of my 401k, but I don’t think it’s the big news. I think even the bailouts are going to take a backseat to the bigger story of job losses.

From Reuters:

NEW YORK – Planned layoffs at U.S. firms surged to their highest in nearly five years during October, with cuts in the financial and auto sectors leading the charge as the economic outlook worsened, a report by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas said on Wednesday.

Job cuts announced in October totaled 112,884, up 19 percent from September, the report said, citing evidence of widespread economic malaise as troubles that began in housing and banking infect the rest of the economy.

“The fact that nearly three out of four industry categories are cutting more jobs is proof of how widely the impact of this downturn has spread,” said John Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

“A year ago, job cuts were concentrated in the financial sector and home-building industries. Job cuts are now rising across the board.

October represented the year’s worst month for job cuts for several industries, said Challenger, including industrial goods manufacturing, consumer products, pharmaceutical, food and electronics.

The report comes as the government is expected to report 200,000 jobs were lost in October, bringing the total this year to nearly 1 million.

The unemployment rate is also seen rising to 6.3 percent from 6.1 percent. Economists forecast that the jobless rate will rise to more than 8 percent before the job market recovers.

“Year-end job cuts are typically higher than at other times of the year, but the fact that October was significantly higher than recent years suggests that companies not only have been hit hard by this downturn, but they do not see a rebound any time in the near future,” said Challenger (all emphasis, mine)

This is the thing that worries me the most. So many Americans live from paycheck to paycheck with no savings and no safety net. On a personal level, people need that steady flow of income to survive. In the bigger picture, the economy needs people to spend money to remain healthy.

I’m predicting job losses will be the greatest economic priority by the time Obama takes office in January.

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