Where Are The Jobs?

Posted on November 13, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized |

By Caren Turner  – CEO , Turner Government and Public Affairs

With the political conversation being completely dominated by health care and banking reform, someone on Capitol Hill has finally said what I’ve been longing to hear for months.

That someone was Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who during a meeting of his Democratic colleagues earlier this week announced plans to “take up” a new jobs creation bill.

On the heels of Reid’s announcement came word that the White House is hosting a “jobs forum” in December.

 It is about time.  Let’s be sure that the “forum”, typically an exchange of ideas, has a more concrete outcome than the myriad of job “fairs” that are springing up around the nation. 

I was beginning to wonder whether anyone on the Hill or in the White House was paying attention to what’s happening out here on Main Street America.

Don’t look now, but everyone is out of work.

Well, maybe not everyone, but it sure feels like it.

In October the national unemployment rate officially hit 10.2 percent with nearly 16 million people out of work. Some economist say the real rate of unemployment is in the neighborhood of 17 percent when you factor in folks who have simply given up looking for a job.

Since the start of the recession in December 2007, the ranks of the unemployed have swollen by 8.2 million and the unemployment rate has gone up by 5.3 percentage points, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

There’s no denying that health care reform is important as is fixing the abuses on Wall Street. But with the jobless rate the worst it has been in a quarter-century, putting Americans to work is the No. 1 priority.

If you don’t agree consider the gubernatorial elections in New Jersey and Virginia where Republicans took back those statehouses. Voters in both states rated “jobs and the economy” as their top issue.

I believed the President and Democratic leaders when they promised that the $787 billion stimulus package passed at the start of the year, would save or create 3.5 million jobs. And, that well might be the case once all the money is spent and the funded projects are up and running. But so far the White House can only point to about 640,000 jobs being saved or created.  That is nearly the number of jobs we have been losing each MONTH of 2009. 

That just doesn’t cut it.  The vote of the American people, coupled with recent national polls tell us the population has had enough!

  • Enough with relying solely on business tax credits or investments in green technologies to spark hiring and create jobs. Those initiatives will most likely bear fruit in the long-run, but America needs to return to work now. 
  • Enough with touting the “indicators” such as stock market gains. Most of us don’t have a 7, 8 or 9 figure nest egg secreted away in the stock market and we are not benefiting from the stock market increase.  Moreover, most of us realize that stock market gains usually means company profits are up as a result of a severely reduced labor force.  (You know, those with jobs need to work twice as hard in order to keep them).
  • Enough with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).  Again, nice in theory, but for the most part the funds are stuck in red tape at every level of government.  Only 13% of the ARRA funds have been received.
  • Enough with extending unemployment benefits.  Preventing job loss is cheaper medicine than extending unemployment.

I know for some the term “make work” is scary. But what should be more frightening is the prospect of ever increasing unemployment.  The unrest, malaise, anger, foreclosures are increasing in direct proportion to job losses.  It must be addressed immediately.

It’s time to use our tax dollars to hire people to do the jobs that will create long term and immediate growth.  Get the money out of ARRA, start building those brides and high speed rail.  Establish weekly metrics and deadlines for job creation and release of funding.  While some have suggested school painting and park clean ups, we prefer a blend of those type of short term projects with the long term, strategic projects.

It has worked before. Think New Deal and its WPA and Civilian Conservation Corps programs. Not only were the economic benefits significant but the psychological boost it gave Americans was incalculable.

You don’t have to leaf through the pages of a history book to see a more recent example of our government taking direct action to meet the economic needs of Main Street.

For most of the summer Americans excitedly watched as cars disappeared from auto lots and showed  up in their driveways and those of their neighbors. According to researchers the $3 billion rebate program resulted in an estimated 700,000 new vehicles being sold.

The program was an immediate shot in the arm for consumers, local dealerships, the auto industry and for states’ budgets that saw roughly $875 million in sales tax revenue generated. It has been estimated that the overall impact of the program was north of $25 billion.

There is currently no bigger Clunker than the American economy.

It’s time that Congress and the White House get serious and creative about creating jobs and putting people back to work.


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12 Responses to “Where Are The Jobs?”

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Very true, seems like everywhere you turn someone else is losing their job. Pres. Obama are you LISTENING to the cries of the people??? Get the Michelle grown vegetables out of your ears and start doing something!

President Obama is still in shock that he won the election, he is living in a fantasy world where everyone is employed, living in cozy houses and driving fancy cars. Oh, and they have healthcare.

Michelle grown vegetables…hah! Well maybe he is being blinded by the brilliantly white “house” he is living in… I wonder if there is something in the White House water.

President Obama is a busy man. He has no time to worry about us common folk and our job problems. I wonder if Poland Spring will deliver a case of Obama water to my house.

Obama needs to be like Oprah, you get a car and you get a car… and you get a job and you get a job….

Did they extend unemployment to 18 months, I can’t wait until my boss fires my butt…HiHo HiHo it’s off to unemployment I go….

I wish they gave out jobs like unemployment and food stamps, apply and 1st check will arrive in 4 weeks. Heck I’ll have another kid if they will approve me for welfare.

I think we need to lobby for a 4 day work week. 4 Days Work…3 Days Play…

Maybe Obama is too busy watering the damn vegetables to worry about unemployment. I can’t wait to see how the White House Christmas tree will be decorated. Something for JCrew or Banana Republic I’m sure.

Guarantee Michelle will be knocked up by next year, Obama will need the sympathy pregnancy to get him street cred, since he is doing such a terrible job otherwise.

Maybe he can convert to Scientology and then Obama and Tom Cruise can go couch jumping on the Oprah show. And as for this job forum, or whatever they are calling it. Chances are it won’t change a darn thing. It is what it is. Just sit back and watch the economy slowly crumble.

Hillary for President 2012!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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