12/2011 Labor's Edge Blog Articles
Antidote for Stupidity of Shipping Tax-Dollar-Financed Jobs Overseas
by Leo Gerard
Amid prolonged, painfully high unemployment, ABC News Anchor Diane Sawyer for the past year tirelessly advocated a simple solution – buy American-made products. She clearly explained the reasoning: every American dollar spent on an American-made product helps create an American job.
Defying Sawyer’s admonition to search for “Made in America” tags, California set a record for using government money to create jobs in China. The Golden State awarded a contract for the new Bay Bridge that created 3,000 jobs in China for five years – a period during which the state’s unemployment rate persisted at two percentage points above the nation’s already high average.
Now there’s an antidote for California’s stupidity. It is legislation called the Invest in American Jobs Act. Championed by U.S. Rep. Nick J. Rahall, (D-W.Va.) and Senators Sherrod Brown, (D-Ohio), Bob Casey, (D-Pa.), and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.).
More posts by Leo Gerard
Act Now: Tell House Republicans to Stop Holding Jobless Hostage
by Mike Hall
The Republican-controlled House Rules Committee early Tuesday morning voted to block a full House vote on the bipartisan Senate compromise that extends unemployment insurance (UI) benefits for the long-term jobless. The current program expires Dec. 31.
Call House Speaker John Boehner at 202-225-0600. Tell him to stop playing politics with the lives of working familes–pass the Senate’s bipartisan bill to extend unemployment aid and middle-class tax cuts now.
Previously, Speaker Boehner indicated he supported the measure. But the Republican tea party wing raised such a ruckus, Boehner changed his tune, and now says the compromise should be rejected.
More posts by Mike Hall
Public or Private: Unemployment Hurts the Economy
by Doug Moore
When Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich proposed that students should take over the job of cleaning our schools, he was rightly denounced for wanting to eliminate what he called "stupid" child labor laws.
But not a word has been said about the tens of thousands of low-wage janitors who would lose their jobs under Gingrich's plan or about what it would mean to their families and to our national and local economies.
This is sad but not surprising. Tea Party extremists and other Republican ideologues demand that government programs at all levels be eliminated or slashed, but never mention the millions of hardworking Americans who would lose their jobs as a result.
More posts by Doug Moore
The Few, the Proud, the Very Rich
by Sylvia Allegretto
Much of the current political and popular discourse has focused on inequalities that exist in the U.S. In particular, the Occupy movement has brought the huge disparities in wealth to the forefront. There are a few questions floating round about wealth. First, how skewed is the distribution? Second, it is true that the rich have gotten much richer over time? (a statement I often heard my Grandma make).
Well, there is a plethora of statistics (e.g. here, here, & here) out there, but here are two. The share of wealth held by the top fifth is about 87.2 percent, while the bottom four-fifths share the remaining 12.8 percent of wealth—so the Occupiers are correct in their assessment. And, the riches of those in the top 1 percent are about 225 times greater than that held by the typical family—it was 125 times in 1962—so, Grandma was correct too.
More posts by Sylvia Allegretto
Los Angeles Labor Begins ‘Team Homeless Heroes,’ Raises $10,000 for Homeless Veterans
by Red Godfrey
Tonight when you go to sleep, will it be somewhere safe and secure? If you answered "yes," ask yourself one question, “Where are approximately 144,000 homeless veterans in the U.S. going to sleep tonight?”
Now I assume you will ask yourself the question, “Why are our veterans homeless?”
I agree this seems to be a fair question, with probably long and complicated answers. But will pursuing any answer make any difference tonight, or tomorrow night, to those homeless veterans who have served on behalf of us all? So the question really we have to ask ourselves is, “What can -- and should -- we be doing now?”
More posts by Red Godfrey
High-Speed Rail Will Restore California’s “Pioneering Spirit”
by Bob Balgenorth
“This project,” the New York Times recently reported on California’s High-Speed Rail plan, “goes to the heart of the state’s pioneering spirit, recalling grand public investments in universities, water systems, roads and parks that once defined California as the leading edge of the nation.
Then, after explaining all the benefits of better transportation, a stronger economy, a boom in employment, a cleaner environment and a higher quality of life, the Times summarized the simplistic opposition of a Republican politician who said: “It’s a boondoggle.”
There, in a nutshell, is our fight.
More posts by Bob Balgenorth