This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture as part of the Making It In America project. I am a Fellow with CAF.
Friday’s jobs report said 263,000 jobs were lost in September.
BUT that is after 571,000 people gave up actively looking for work. The number of jobs lost last month was 263,000 plus 571,000 = 834,000.
The “stimulus plan” is currently creating (and/or saving) between 200,000 and 250,000 jobs a month. Yes, that means the real job loss would have been at least 1,034,000 without the assistance of the stimulus plan.
On top of that the “birth/death” model — the government’s assumption that a number of small businesses are starting up that they are not tracking — is overestimating job creation, leaving policymakers without needed warning signals. The job loss numbers for the last year are expected to be revised upward by 824,000 early next year as a result.
This is bad. Really bad. We need a real jobs program, and we need it bad.
There is something else we need: we need progressive leadership that understands how important this is to people.
Here is what I mean. I came across a news story from the fight over the stimulus plan earlier this year, that now in light of Friday’s terrible jobs report says a lot more than it said at the time. House Dems Strip Stimulus of $200 Million Provision to Refurbish National Mall,
“The move was made amidst a torrent of GOP criticism about wasteful or non-stimulative spending in the bill, including those two projects, as the president attempts to woo House GOPers.”
Yes, the House gave up this project that would have brought jobs to DC – and fixed up the the National Mall – to try to get Republican votes. How did that work out? How many House GOP votes did they get?
How many people in DC could be employed fixing up the mall and other buildings? The Democrats took out $200 million that was originally in the stimulus without gaining a single vote for the bill for doing it!
Meanwhile, the terrible jobs report showed that state and local governments are shedding jobs,
“Government employment fell by 53,000, with the largest drop—24,000 jobs—in the noneducation component of local governments.”
With that in mind, let me remind you of this brilliant negotiating tactic: Senate Stimulus Compromise Deals a Blow to Cash-Strapped States,
… “state stabilization funds” … were cut back by $40 billion this weekend in the deal cut by Senate centrists.
That’s right. The original stimulus plan provided funds to help keep states from laying people off. These funds were cut — and now states are laying off.
The compromises in the stimulus plan have consequences, and those consequences are people’s jobs. The compromises were an experiment in “bipartisanship” that failed. The stimulus package gave up several important things, but how many Republican votes were won over? And as a result real people are losing real jobs.
Making matters worse, unemployment compensation is starting to run out for many people who were laid off when this mess started. AND the COBRA health insurance subsidies are running out soon as well! On top of that, contractors – employees who are not called employees because companies can get away with not paying benefits, stock options, unemployment insurance, etc. – a huge component of the labor force, don’t even get unemployment or COBRA in the first place.
We Need Jobs Programs NOW
So here is an idea from outside of Washington: How about our government help our people by putting together some real jobs programs? Put people to work while we figure out how to fix the economic mess that conservative policies created.
It is time to use the power of government to start doing something that helps people, and that is not blocked by a misplaced need to get “centrists” (read: politicians trolling for payments/future jobs from big corporations) to like you or a fear that Rush Limbaugh is going to say something bad about you if you go ahead and do what we elected you to do. Here is a news flash: The market-fundamentalist corporatists are not going to like you, and Rush Limbaugh IS going to say bad things about you. Get a clue, they are not responding to the carrots so start using sticks.
Friday’s jobs report says this mess is not going away any time soon. Friday’s jobs report shows that things are too serious and too many Americans are suffering for the administration and congressional leadership to continue playing nice guy and give-in strategies. This is important to too many people. People need to be able to eat and have shelter – never mind the health care fiasco – and they need this now.
And it would be politically popular. Think about this: giving people jobs would be politically popular.
Here are some job ideas:
Why don’t we pay people to start retrofitting homes and buildings today to be energy efficient, for free?
Why don’t we pay people to do thousands of projects in the national and state parks?
Why don’t we add a teaching assistant to every classroom> And why don’t we hire enough teachers to cut class sizes in half?
Why don’t we fix all the roads and bridges that haven’t been repaired for decades?
What about direct aid to manufacturers who still cannot get credit?
Here’s a big one: why don’t we cut the workweek to 30 hours? How many people will that put to work? Do you think people are going to object to having to work 30 hours instead of 40?
Oh, and why don’t we fix up the National Mall in Washington DC? It needs it and people in DC need jobs. There is simply no excuse not to do this.