Skip to comments.Jobs Crisis Forum: The Time for Excuses Is Over. Create Jobs Now
Posted on 07/11/2011 12:26:24 PM PDT by mdittmar
Shonda Sheen of Yellow Springs, Ohio, was laid off in December 2009 and is about to run out of unemployment benefits. Because of state budget cuts, she also could soon lose the health care nurse who helps care for her mother who has dementia. At the last job she applied for, she was told 450 others had also applied for the same position.
Sheen and Bob Stein, a 60-year-old former salesman who has been out of work since May 2010, are two of the 14 million Americans who are unemployedand their story is not being told in the midst of the debate over the deficit. Sheen and Stein, who are both members of Working America, spoke to a forum on The Jobs CrisisMoving to Action: A Dialogue Between Workers and Policymakers at the AFL-CIO this morning.
As Sheen said:
All I want is a decent job. I want to work. I love to work. Im scared. I dont know whats going to happen to my mother. I have a home to pay off.
The forum, moderated by Bob Herbert, distinguished fellow at Dēmos and an award-winning journalist, drew a sharp contrast between the policies that got our country in this economic crisis and are currently being advocated to get it out, and what is needed in order to spark a real economic recovery.
Stein says its frustrating to try and find a job in an economy that generated only 18,000 jobs last month. I was set to lose unemployment as of the second or third week of December, and [politicians] were fighting back and forth and it was predicated on the Bush tax cuts. I was caught right in the middle of that, he said.
The thing that was so upsetting is when you heard about the number of people about to lose their unemployment check. I thought, OK, I understand that youre adamant about this Bush tax cut thing, but youre holding us all hostage. Youre playing politics with people lives. People use their unemployment. This will stimulate and help the economy.
The panel also included AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), Rep. Sander Levin (D-Mich.) and Heather Boushey, a senior economist at the Center for American Progress.
Panelists noted that many in Washington continue to push deregulation and tax cuts as the way out of the economic hole the country is in, without acknowledging the role that those policies played in creating the current economic conditions. The strategy to encourage corporations to spend their billions of dollars in profits is doomed when politicians dont first acknowledge the truth that working people drive the economy as consumers. Without good jobs or shared prosperity, corporations wont spend and our economy cant prosper.
Trumka said working people are frustrated with both political parties.
The time for excuses is over. People dont care about why it [creating jobs] isnt getting done. They just want to get it done. We can create jobs if we want to. Its a matter of political will.
More and more economists are coming around to the idea that the economy is faltering because of a lack of demand, said Boushey. The best ways to increase demand, she said, is to invest in things that generate demand, like infrastructure aid to the states, education and long-term unemployment benefits.
Levin said the nations trade policies must be a part of any jobs policy. Its important, he said, for trade agreements to include enforceable labor standards to develop a strong middle class in the nations we trade with who can then buy U.S. products. It also is important to ensure that American workers dont compete with workers who are oppressed, he said.
Noting that the middle class is the engine of our economy, Franken said retaining tax breaks and loopholes for the rich, as Republicans have proposed, wont increase demand. Rich people can only buy so much stuff, Franken said, then they save their money.
The idea that those at the top who are richer than anyone has ever been in historywhy they cant pay a higher percentage in taxes is crazy.
Tax the unions and refund it to the overtaxed taxpayers.
To quote Ayn Rand: “Why don’t you just pick them off the trees, where you think they grow?”
I have a 2000 Nissan truck with more smarts than Shonda Sheen.
cut taxes, regulations and ban public employee unions NOW and the jobs will come back.
This what you get, Minnesota, when you elect an idiot so-called comedian to the Senate. No matter what the topic, Al Franken can open his mouth and prove he's a moron.
Story makes no sense.
It says 14 million are unemployed, but we also know there are 44 million on food stamps.
OK....reduxio ad absurdum....why don't all working people quit their jobs and immediately go on unemployment? Then, the economy would be really really stimulated.
Any conference that permits a. frankin to attend as anything other than a janitor is rediculous on it's face.
Who wants to bet me a dinner this Shonda voted for zero? “Hey Shonda, sounds like you were a union worker? If so, you should have lots of $$ saved up as we non-union workers payed for your pension, etc.!”
Guess you got the hope and change you asked for!
Dick Trumka before he dicks you.
Uhhh, no, that's not the way to do it. The best way to fuel the engine is to get the gov't out of the way by cutting taxes for everyone. If you put more take-home pay in a person's paycheck, and they believe that pay increase is permanent (not some idiotic, temporary, rebate), they will spend more. That increased consumer demand will result in more production and the need for more workers. Personally, if you can't find a job in 99 weeks, you're asking more than you're worth and you need to take a hard look at yourself and your skill set. Taking money from people and then have the gov't turn around and spend it says that the gov't knows how to spend my money better than I do. Bullsh%t!
As far as Franken's comment, Congress wrote those loopholes into the tax code. Why not ask them why they put them there. Al: Get off your thick-lipped ass and pass a tax and spending cut and just get out of the way. Give consumers the cash to buy what they want, not what you want so you can get reelected.
“We can create jobs if we want to. Its a matter of political will.”
Wish harder. Beggars want rides.
Hey, Trumka, get a life, or.......get some brains. Obama is working you like a puppet while he destroys union jobs, creates none and destroys this country With you being seen on the same stage as the Democrat nutcases you hang with is a travesty to the working men and women of the real USA labor movement. Get lost deadbeat supposed union leader. Go hang out with traitor POTUS Obama until he throw you under the bus!!! What a dummy!!!!
Some "gems of wisdom" are so ludicrous they need no further comment.
Hell yeah, just take all the $ that is being confiscated from public employee union members and put it back in the pockets of business owners. Is that what you had in mind, “Dick”?
They just say things and that's supposed to become true, let me try this; "we need to acknowledge that the Obama policies prevented us from building warp-engines, hurting women, the chillrin and Trekkies the most"