Saturday, August 27, 2011

Grand Central Terminal, Saturday Afternoon, August 27, 2011.

source: MTAPhotos on Flickr

Barbara Lee Calls on President to Help Jobless Workers and Their Families

August 25, 2011

Contact Kristal DeKleer (202) 225-1882

Washington, D.C.– Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Congressman Bobby Scott (D-VA) sent a letter to President Barack Obama urging him to address the needs of jobless workers in his forthcoming jobs plan. The letter urged the President to not only maintain the current extension of unemployment benefits to America’s jobless workers, but to also incorporate H.R. 589, The Emergency Unemployment Extension Act. Congresswoman Lee sponsored the bill to extend unemployment benefits by fourteen more weeks for all unemployed workers.

“Extending unemployment benefits for an additional fourteen weeks would serve as an immediate resuscitation for people who have reached the end of their 99 weeks of unemployment benefits,” said Congresswoman Lee. “Not only do jobless workers need assistance for food and shelter month to month, but unemployed workers immediately spend the assistance receive,which stimulates the economy and contributes to job growth.”

"The current Majority in the House has done nothing this year to help the millions of Americans who are chronically unemployed keep their heads above water,and any new jobs program should not leave them behind," said Congressman Scott. "These Americans are desperate for jobs but they need this lifeline now because our economy is simply not growing fast enough. I commend Congresswoman Lee for her tireless efforts supporting these forgotten Americans."

For every job opening, there are currently 4.4 unemployed workers. Of the 13.9 million people out of work, 6.2 million have been unemployed for nearly two years. Including H.R. 589 into a comprehensive and bold jobs plan is critical to providing jobless workers with the temporary assistance to meet basic needs while they focus on getting a job.

“Across the country people want and need jobs, and as we work together to create jobs we must work together to continue to support our nation’s jobless workers,” Lee continued. “Now more than ever, we must fight every effort to shred the safety net. We are in the middle of a jobs crisis and we must do all we can to address this national emergency.”


Follow Barbara Lee on Twitter@RepBarbaraLee

The Daily Show: World of Class Warfare

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Unemployed or Underemployed and Depressed?

(via Help A Reporter Out)

Hey There, I'm looking to write a story on how long bouts with unemployment and underemployment brought on by our weak economy has impacted the mental health and well-being of people living in and around the Washington, DC area. I'm looking for 2 or 3 personal accounts of how unemployment or underemployment has affected individual's peace of mind and mental well being, and how they and their families are dealing with it.

To respond, send an email to this address:

The deadline for responses is 7:00 PM EST - August 19

Monday, August 15, 2011

Can you see the miracle?

h/t Democracy In America, The Economist

Much is being made of the "Texas Miracle" - an economy that weathered the recession relatively well.

Judging from the chart below, it's hard to argue that anything of the sort actually happened. The chart compares the unemployment rates of Texas, New York, Florida and Illinois.

(click image to enlarge)

Look at the numbers from a different perspective: the number of unemployed in each state:

So, where's the miracle?

If you want to create jobs, create jobs.

Rep. Schakowsky on Countdown discussing her jobs bill:

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The "Help Wanted" Project

What does 9.2% unemployment mean? How can we understand a statistic like 14.2 million unemployed?

Maybe by remembering that each of these numbers represents a person.

“I am intelligent, experienced, professional, lead with integrity and have excellent references,” a reader wrote in response to a Post article asking the unemployed to write about their experiences. “How did my life come to this? I am exhausted, I need peace of mind and I need a job. I am scared and recently called a suicide hot line... God forgive me.”

“Every application not responded to is rejection – being told I am worthless, useless and unwanted,” another unemployed reader wrote. “Every job posting telling me I am not good enough, that all my life work is worth nothing, tells me I do not measure up. I feel like I have been told a 1,000 times to just die.”

The Washington Post has collected stories from six families who have been affected by unemployment. You can read their accounts at Help Wanted: Stories of Unemployment

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Eric Cantor Wants Your Resume

h/t and inspiration from Joan McCarter

"Jim, the most important thing we can do for somebody who’s unemployed is to see if we can get them a job."

That was GOP Leader Eric Cantor speaking with Jim Cramer about the July labor numbers. The full quote (from Joan's article:)

CANTOR: Jim, the most important thing we can do for somebody who’s unemployed is to see if we can get them a job. I mean, that’s what needs to be the focus. For too long in Washington now we’ve been worried about pumping up the stimulus monies and pumping up unemployment benefits and to a certain extent you have states for which you can get unemployment for almost two years and I think those people on unemployment benefits would rather have a job. So that’s where our focus needs to be.

KRAMER: I just want to be very, very clear, on a day when we have a good unemployment number, that’s terrific, but not a great one and you confirmed not a great one, you are not in favor and will go against the president’s wishes to extend those unemployment benefits?

CANTOR: What I have said all along, Jim, is if we’re going to spend money in Washington, we better start to make choices and we’ve got to set priorities. If we’re going to spend money, we better cut it somewhere else.

Rep. Cantor is absolutely right about this: people on unemployment benefits (and those who have exhausted those benefits) would much rather have a job.

Rep. Cantor is wrong on the need to offset emergency unemployment spending, though - in the same way he was wrong about offsetting disaster relief spending.

I'd like to echo Joan's excellent idea:

...I recommend all unemployed people send their resume and a request for a job interview to Rep. Cantor, since he says the most important thing he, as part of government, can do is to get unemployed people jobs. Maybe he'll share his bootstraps with the rest of us.

Back in January, Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. issued a call for resumes. He delivered some 9,000 of them to Congress and entered them into the Congressional Record:

Let's see if we can top that.

President Obama's Call To Action

My concern right now - my singular focus - is the American people. Getting the unemployed back on the job, lifting their wages. Rebuilding that sense of security the middle class has felt slipping away for years. And helping them recover fully, as families and as communities, from the worst recession that any of us have ever seen.

Today, we know that our economy created 154,000 new private sector jobs in July. And that’s the strongest pace since April. The unemployment rate went down, not up. But while this marks the 17th month in a row of job growth in the private sector - nearly 2.5 million new private sector jobs in all - we have to create more jobs than that each month to make up for the more than 8 million jobs that the recession claimed. We need to create a self-sustaining cycle where people are spending, and companies are hiring, and our economy is growing. And we’ve known that will take some time.

But what I want the American people and our partners around the world to know is this: We are going to get through this. Things will get better. And we’re going to get there together.

The bipartisan compromise on deficit reduction was important in terms of putting us on sounder fiscal footing going forward. But let’s be honest: The process was divisive. It was delayed. And if we want our businesses to have the confidence they need to get cash off the sidelines and invest and hire, we’ve got to do better than that. We’ve got to be able to work together to grow the economy, right now, and strengthen our long-term finances. That’s what the American people expect of us – leaders that can put aside our differences to meet our challenges.

So when Congress gets back in September, I want to move quickly on things that will help the economy create jobs right now – extending the payroll tax credit to put $1,000 in the pocket of the average worker, extending unemployment insurance to help people get back on their feet, putting construction workers back to work rebuilding America. Those are all steps that we can take right now that will make a difference. And there’s no contradiction between us taking some steps to put people to work right now and getting our long-term fiscal house in order. In fact, the more we grow, the easier it will be to reduce our deficits.

Now, both parties share power. Both parties share responsibility for our progress. Moving our economy and our country forward is not a Democratic or a Republican responsibility; it is - it’s not a public or a private responsibility. It is the responsibility of all Americans. It’s in our nature to do the tough things when necessary; to do the right things when called. And that’s the spirit that Washington needs right now.

(full transcript)

News Hounds: Erica Payne Challenges Fox News’ War On The Unemployed

h/t @YvonneNYC

Saturday, August 6, 2011

WSJ: Blinder: Forget the Debt Debate, We Need to Create More Jobs

"The budget deficit is a gradually-developing problem that needs to be addressed over the next few decades, Prof. Blinder says. Exceptional 9.2% unemployment is holding back the economy now.

He notes that, despite the growing debt and the political crisis in Washington, financial markets remain happy to lend the U.S. Treasury money at exceptionally low rates.

'So does that tell you it’s an emergency, that the market is about to cut us off from credit? No. Where we have an emergency is unemployment,' he says.

Unemployment isn’t just a social issue; it holds down growth, he notes: 'It’s bad for people; it’s bad for business; it’s bad for the financial markets. It’s bad for everything.'"


Wednesday, August 3, 2011


"It should not be possible for a small minority to threaten catastrophe if the rest of the government decides not to embrace an extreme agenda of austerity and the dismantling of programs for the elderly and the less fortunate."

"Nor can we ask Americans to accept changes in Medicare and Medicaid if those savings will be used to pay for tax preferences for the most fortunate few."

"And by locking in long-term savings, Congress will have more room in the fall to pass additional short-term measures to strengthen the economy — such as extending the payroll tax cut, which provides an average of a thousand dollars to the after-tax incomes of working Americans; extending unemployment benefits; and financing infrastructure investments. After all, strengthening growth and putting more Americans back to work are among the most important things we can do to improve our fiscal situation today and over the long term."

Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner, in today's Washington Post.