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Archive for January 9th, 2014|Daily archive page

JOBS, YES; TEMPORARY BENEFITS, NO: PART TWO (OF FIVE)

In Bureaucracy, Business, History, Law, Politics, Social commentary on January 9, 2014 at 12:01 am

Millions of Americans continue to blame President Barack Obama for the nation’s high unemployment rate. But no President can hope to turn unemployment around until employers are forced to start living up to their responsibilities.

And those responsibilities should encompass more than simply fattening their own pocketbooks and/or egos at the expense of their fellow Americans.  Such behavior used to be called treason.

It’s time to recognize that a country can be betrayed for other than political reasons.  It can be sold out for economic ones, too.

Employers who enrich themselves by weakening their country—by throwing millions of qualified workers into the street and moving their plants to other countries—are traitors.

Employers who set up offshore accounts to claim their American companies are foreign-owned—and thus exempt from taxes—are traitors.

Employers who systematically violate Federal immigration laws—to hire illegal aliens instead of willing-to-work Americans—are traitors.

And with a new definition of treason should go new penalties–heavy fines and/or prison terms–for those who sell out their country to enrich themselves.

In its June 8, 2011 cover-story on “What U.S. Economic Recovery?  Five Destructive Myths,” Time magazine warned that profit-seeking corporations can’t be relied on to ”make it all better.”

Click here: What U.S. Economic Recovery? Five Destructive Myths – TIME

Wrote Rana Foroohar, Time‘s assistant managing editor in charge of economics and business:

American companies “are doing quite well,” but most American workers “are earning a lower hourly wage now than they did during the recession.”

Corporations, in short, are doing extremely well.  But they don’t spend their profits on American workers.

“There may be $2 trillion sitting on the balance sheets of American corporations globally, but firms show no signs of wanting to spend it in order to hire workers at home.”

In short:  Giving even greater tax breaks to mega-corporations–the standard Republican mantra–has not persuaded them to stop “outsourcing” jobs. Nor has it convinced them to start hiring Americans.

While embarrassingly overpaid CEOs squander corporate wealth on themselves, millions of Americans can’t afford medical care or must depend on charity to feed their families.

Yet there is also a disconnect between the truth of this situation and the willingness of Americans to face up to that truth.

The reason, writes Foroohar:

Republicans have convinced most Americans they can revitalize the economy by slashing “taxes on the wealthy and on cash-hoarding corporations while cutting benefits for millions of Americans.”

To restore prosperity, America will need both tax increases and cuts in entitlement programs.

Now, fast-forward one year later–to a June 11, 2012 CNNMoney investigation, which raised the question: “Why is the jobs recovery still so sluggish?”

And the answer?  “These 8 companies recently announced layoffs in the thousands.”

8 job killing companies – Hewlett-Packard slashes 27,000 jobs (1) – CNNMoney

The companies:

  • Hewlett-Packard – cutting 27,000 jobs.
  • American Airlines – slashing 13,000 jobs–with most of the cuts affecting maintenance and ground workers.  That’s something to think about the next time you’re thinking of flying American.
  • Sony – eliminating 10,000 jobs.
  • Proctor & Gamble – axing 5,700 jobs.
  • PepsiCo – slashing 8,700 jobs.
  • Yahoo – wiping out 2,000 jobs.
  • First Solar – cutting 2,000 jobs.
  • Kraft Foods – slashes 1,600 workers.

Of course, some companies have legitimate reasons for cutting back on employees:

  • Sony has failed to revive its losing television business, which hasn’t turned a profit in eight years.
  • And PepsiCo has suffered a fall-off in customers as Americans switch from soda to healthier drinks.

But there are also sinister reasons why millions of willing-to-work Americans remain unemployed.  Or remain trapped in part-time, no-benefits jobs far below their levels of education and experience.

Chief among these is the refusal of Congressional Republicans to create job opportunities for their fellow Americans.

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I, Vermont) made just that argument to guest host Ezra Klein on the June 12 edition of “The Rachel Maddow Show.”

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders

SANDERS: Everybody knows you have to invest in infrastructure. We can create millions of decent paying jobs in the long term and I speak as a former mayor, you obviously save money because you don’t have to do constant repairs as we’ve just seen.

The simple reason is I’m afraid that you have a Republican mindset that says, “Hmm, let`s see, we can repair the infrastructure, save money long time, create millions of jobs, bad idea. Barack Obama will look good.  And we’ve got to do everything that we can to make Barack Obama look bad.”

So, despite the fact that we had a modest bipartisan transportation bill, roads, bridges, public transit pass the Senate with over 70 votes, Inhofe, the most conservative guy in the Senate, working with Barbara Boxer, one of the most progressives, we can’t get that bill moving in the House of Representatives.

So if you’re asking me why, I would say 100 percent political. If it’s good for America, if it creates jobs, if it’s good for Barack Obama, we can’t do it.

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