Thursday, January 29, 2009

Jobless rolls climb, Republicans don't care

Unemployment rolls continue to soar.
The number of people remaining on the benefits roll after drawing an initial week of aid, or continued claims, rose 159,000 to a higher-than-forecast 4.776 million in the week ended January 17, the most recent week for which data is available.

The Labor Department said this was the highest reading since its records on this series began in 1967.
Jobs. People need jobs. Last Monday saw 77,000 layoffs in one day alone, and it seems as though no profession is safe:
IBM workers are shocked at job cuts straight after the company issued glowing fourth quarter financial results, says employee union Alliance@IBM.

The first cuts of an expected 16,000 layoffs have been made in the Software Group and Sales and Distribution in the US and Canada.
And four U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics analysts predict that recent telecommunications advances, especially the internet, could theoretically put more than 30 million U.S. jobs at risk of being exported overseas.
The 160 occupations considered capable of being performed in other countries account for some 30.3 million workers, one-fifth of total U.S. employment and cover a wide array of job functions, pay rates and educational levels.

More than half of the vulnerable jobs in the BLS study are professional and related occupations, including computer and mathematical science occupations and architecture and engineering jobs, and many office and administrative support occupations also are considered susceptible.
Whether blue-collar or white-collar, President Obama and Democrats understand the gravity of our situation and devised a plan that would save or create more than 3 million jobs. House Republicans voted unanimously against that plan. Will Senate Republicans vote against jobs too?

UPDATE: Following the Republican's unanimous no vote, economist Lawrence Mishel said it's time to rescind the wasteful business tax cuts from the stimulus package.
The Wednesday night vote in the House on the economic recovery package is astonishing in that no Republicans voted for the legislation. This, despite there being large scale, and wasteful, business tax cuts in the legislation that were seemingly included solely to attract Republican votes.

The lesson that might be drawn is to not water down your own program in the hopes of attracting a bi-partisan coalition. It only makes sense now to remove those tax cuts from any Senate legislation to make the recovery effort more effective. It could matter a lot. The amount of stimulus in this fiscal year and next (through the end of September 2010) is $525 billion and the Senate bill provides for $107 billion of business tax cuts with limited effectiveness, leaving only $418 billion of real stimulus over the next eighteen months.

Filling the space taken by the business tax cuts with infrastructure and other spending that will create jobs could make the effort 25% more effective. The best economic and political logic now seem aligned.


abi said...

I couldn't agree more with Mishel's idea. The business tax cuts were a - hell, let's call it what it was, a bribe - to the Republicans, and they still turned their backs on the overall plan. I hope Obama and the Dems have the nerve to take them out of the Senate plan. The Dems still have the majority there. And if the Repubs fillibuster against the stimulus, the Dems could use it as ammunition against them.

Libby Spencer said...

It is just a mess isn't it? On a happier note, I found this Youtube animation while I was cruising the tubz and thought of you immediately.

Stone Soup, the winner of the 2007 shortie awards: student film and news festival, animation category, ages 7-10

Kathy said...

Abi, bribe is right, and I hope this isn't how Obama plans on dealing with Republicans in the future. His administration needs to do a better job of pointing out that their ideas were already tried and proved unsuccessful. He did a good job of that on the campaign trail and I think voters respected him for putting the facts out there.

Libby, thanks for the video. How adorable and creative! I've been having a rough couple of weeks and needed the smile it brought to my face.

I hope things are improving in your life.