Public Drinking Fountain, City Center, Portland, Oregon

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

THE PRESIDENT AND LEADERSHIP

Group of unemployed New York City workers holding up 1914 newspaper -- "The Voice of the City"
Library of Congress
Here is an article recently published and wrote by Robert Reich. Robert Reich is Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations

I admired what he had to say. Maybe you do or don't but it is something to think about

I'm sharing it with you in its entirety as follows:

The President’s Jobs Plan (Not)
TUESDAY, JULY 12, 2011
What did the President do in response to last week’s horrendous job report — unemployment rising
to 9.2 percent in June, with only 18,000 new jobs (125,000 are needed each month just to keep up with the growth in the potential labor force)?

He said the economy continues to be in a deep hole, and he urged Congress to extend the temporary reduction in the employee part of the payroll tax, approve pending free-trade agreements, and pass a measure to streamline patent procedures.

To call this inadequate would be a gross understatement.

Here’s what the President should have said:

This job recession shows no sign of ending. It can no longer be blamed on supply-side disruptions from Japan, Europe’s debt crisis, high oil prices, or bad weather.

We’re in a vicious cycle where consumers won’t buy more because they’re scared of losing their jobs and their pay is dropping. And businesses won’t hire because they don’t have enough customers.

Here in Washington, we’ve been wasting time in a game of chicken over raising the debt ceiling. Republicans want you to believe the deficit is responsible for the bad economy. The truth is that when the private sector cannot and will not spend enough to get the economy going, the public sector must step into the breach. Cutting the deficit now would only create more joblessness.

My first priority is to get Americans back to work. I’m proposing a jobs plan that will do that.

First, we’ll exempt the first $20,000 of income from payroll taxes for the next two years. This will put cash directly into American’s pockets and boost consumer spending. We’ll make up the revenue shortfall by applying Social Security taxes to incomes over $500,000.

Second, we’ll recreate the WPA and Civilian Conservation Corps — two of the most successful job innovations of the New Deal – and put people back to work directly. The long-term unemployed will help rebuild our roads and bridges, ports and levees, and provide needed services in our schools and hospitals. Young people who can’t find jobs will reclaim and improve our national parklands, restore urban parks and public spaces, recycle products and materials, and insulate public buildings and homes.

Third, we’ll enlarge the Earned Income Tax Credit so lower-income Americans have more purchasing power.

Fourth, we’ll lend money to cash-strapped state and local governments so they can rehire teachers, fire fighters, police officers, and others who provide needed public services. This isn’t a bailout. When the economy improves, scheduled federal outlays to these states and locales will drop by an amount necessary to recover the loans.

Fifth, we’ll amend the bankruptcy laws so struggling homeowners can declare bankruptcy on their primary residence. This will give them more bargaining leverage with their lenders to reorganize their mortgage loans. Why should the owners of commercial property and second homes be allowed to include these assets in bankruptcy but not regular home owners?

Sixth, we’ll extend unemployment benefits to millions of Americans who have lost part-time jobs. They’ll get partial benefits proportional to the time they put in on the job.

Yes, most of these measures will require more public spending in the short term. But unless we get this economy moving now, the long-term deficit problem will only grow worse.

Some in Congress will fight against this jobs plan on ideological grounds. They don’t like the idea that government exists to help Americans who need it. And they don’t believe we all benefit when jobs are more plentiful and the economy is growing again.

I am eager to take them on. Average Americans are hurting, and their pain is not going away.

We bailed out Wall Street so that the financial system would not crash. We stimulated the economy so that businesses would not tank. Now we must help ordinary people on the Main Streets of America — for their own sakes, and also so that the real economy can fully mend.

My most important goal is restoring jobs and wages. Those who oppose me must explain why doing nothing is preferable

15 comments:

  1. Hear, hear! I agree, this country needs stimulus--more money--to boost the economy and get people back to work. Some people in our society seem to have adopted the idea that governments should be run like corporations---and for the welfare of corporations and the wealthy.

    But, this government was not established to be a corporation, it was not established to turn great profits or satisfy stakeholders. It was established precisely to promote the welfare of the people...not corporate welfare.

    I also think that companies that outsource jobs and production should have to pay tariffs and penalties; they're getting off scott-free, and that's just not right. Hitting them in the pocket is the only thing that will incentivize the large corps to bring jobs back here. That's just my 2 cents.

    Thanks for the informative post Barbara.

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  2. Rose -- Thanks for the positive comments. I felt I needed to put this article on my blog as my voice as well as all the others needs to be heard. Somehow I feel like those good ol guys in Congress and the Presidential office forget about what this government means. Its surly is not meant as a competitive money game for corporations on the backs of all Americans. I am not a "rally round the flag" type of person -- just a person that likes a fair "ballgame."

    Thanks for your sensible voice on this issue -- barbara

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  3. We are supposed to study history to learn from it. What worked in the past could very well be valid today. I do disagree with what he said about the price of oil not being a primary factor. It is!

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  4. Grampy -- Oil prices are hurting the economy.
    The oil situation is a quagmire that is sinking us for sure. Any ideas on how to turn this situation around? -- barbara

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  5. Being from Canada and knowing little about the economy in the United States I can't make a judgment on what you think should happen in your country. However...
    Canada is in a terrible state. Poverty. Unemployment. Desperation. No hope. Youth are not even trying and why should they?
    I am from BC and they just now raised the minimum wage after 10 years.
    Groceries cost too much.
    Clothing (even thrifted!) costs too much.
    Fuel costs too much.
    Post Secondary Education costs too much.
    Medications cost too much.
    You can't even escape by having a drink because it costs too much.

    I am past desperate. Tonight I had to shop for this evening's meal. I have $27.00 in my bank account and that needs to last me (and 2 kids) 8 more days. Hmmmm.

    I think your plan sounds genius for Canada. I wish our politicians would spend some time living like *I* do and see how discouraged they feel after 10, 20, 30 years. I hate it. As I see it, there would be no way out but fortunately for me, I have family and a fiance that help. But what about everyone else? What indeed?

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  6. Birdie -- why is it that the people of the country know the score on the financial woes of the country but the powers that be can't see what needs to be done. It is a trying situation right now in the US. I am sorry -- I did not know that Canada also was in the same condition as us. I guess I thought because you had a health care system that you had to have better governng than us. I am glad you wrote and told me the real truth about what is hapening in Canada. Perhaps we both need better leadership from the politicians. Thanks so much -- barbara

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  7. Hello:
    Whilst we would not profess to understand the state of theeconomy in the USA, we can certainly confirm that many of the points you raise here have a deep resonance with what is happening in the UK. There does, as you say, seem to be a vicious circle of fear, lack of spending and unemployment that really needs the help of central government to break into and produce positive results. Of particular concern, in our view, is the hopeless situation for young people and the reducing opportunities for them since they, we believe, are our future.

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  8. We just elected a Prime Minister who believes in Big Oil and Corporate Tax Cuts, imprisoning more people, and fighter jets before health care. So not much hope here. No idea what voters were thinking.

    I like to listen to FDR's 'I Welcome Their Hatred' speech.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TA1Mc2HsL2Q&feature=related

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  9. Sheri -- I listened to FDR's speech and forwarded it to several friends. I think he sums up what politicians need -- intestinal fortitude -- or no fear to stand up to the folks in the corporate/military complex.

    I do need to follow more of the international news. I depend on my computer for much of my news. I will repeat some of what I said to Birdie about her comment -- "I did not realize that Canada was having similar problems as us." Her poignant comments really made a statement.

    I guess we as citizens of the world need to be alert and use our voice when needed.

    I am going to do a little research on your new prime minister.

    Thanks for the link to FDR's speech and also the interesting comments. -- barbara

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  10. Jane and Lance -- I have discovered that I have to be more aware of what is happening around the world. You tell me that the UK is having the same problems as we are having in the U.S. Also I hear from two Canadian bloggers on this issue that tell me that Canada is experiencing similar issues as the UK and the U.S.

    What is exactly going on? I know this is a complex question. For me personally, it is sad to realize that our countries are in the clutches of corporate domination. There has to be a path away from this.

    I would suggest listening to the YouTube link mentioned by Sheri, above, -- interesting.

    Thanks for briefing us on the UK situation -- barbara

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  11. Right you are, m'dear! And the GOP and their ilk will holler "SOCIALISM!!!!" "EWWWWWW--that would mean we give decency and dignity to EVERYONE!" But you see, Palin and Bachman call this "negotiating with the enemy.." Oh, my! What a privileged world they live in. I'm sorry to hijack your blog, Barbara...but you started it!!! :-)))))) Love you, girl!! Thanks ever so much for this post!

    Elora

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  12. Elora -- Yikes -- didn't know that Palin and Bachman called giving decency and dignity to Americans "negotiating with the enemy". Hmm what country do they live in? All this baloney (my dad's favorite word to describe politicians) is just that -- baloney.

    Thanks for your sane comments -- barbara

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  13. Barbara, I agree with Robert Reich's assessment and his proposal. And I'm very sorry to see the President yield to the Republicans on the economy and social issues. We have an undeclared war being waged on the middle and working classes, and it appears that significant numbers of people who fit into those categories are willing participants. In our Congressional District, the challenger last time won on the promise to end "Obama care." We are a poor district, where most people have no health insurance or have only Medicare. And they elected a man, a physician no less, who campaigned on a promise to reduce access to both! It's like turkeys voting in favor of Thanksgiving. How dumb is that? Pogo Possum summed it up brilliantly, "We have met the enemy, and he is us!" Jim

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  14. Hi Jim -- nice that you stopped with a comment. I like your quote by Pogo, I hadn't heard it in a long time but it sure is appropriate now.

    I have been trying to follow all this political "stuff" but must admit it is difficult to tell where Obama stands. The extremists are having a field day with our medicare, social security (which is not part of the budget, hands off you guys) unemployment benefits etc. I find this crowd the most un-compassionate members of Congress that I have witnessed in my many years of being a voter. What will be the final shake out? Thanks again for stopping by and hope you return soon. I visited your blog and really like it. I will be visiting it again. -- barbara

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  15. Well, I've said for a long time that it's about time that the average citizen started to pay attention to what was going on in Washington again. I'm just as guilty as anyone of not paying enough attention over the past decades. What happened to me? I used to care. And, if this stupid "debt crisis" has done one good thing, I think that it has made a good number of us wake up and start to care again.

    Reich has some very good ideas, but they won't be listened to because the Republicans and Democrats are too consumed with hatred toward the other party, and the desire to win, win, win. They better be careful, or there will be nothing left to win.

    Well, this old lady has had it. "Hell no, we(the middle class) won't go -- easily and without a fight."

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