1sunfight’s Weblog

May 9, 2010

April Jobs Report: Best Gain in Jobs in Four Years

Filed under: Economics,Financial Crisis,politics,Uncategorized — Julie P @ 2:18 pm
Tags: , ,

It appears that the recovery is starting to really take hold.  In April, employers added 290,000 employees to their payrolls and since the start of the year there have been a total of 573,000 jobs added to the economy.

“It clearly shows that this economic recovery can no longer be a jobless one,” said Bart van Ark, chief economist of The Conference Board, a leading research firm.  “Companies apparently are finding they can’t squeeze out any more output without adding workers.”

The report also includes a separate survey of households that it uses to estimate the unemployment rate, which increased to 9.9%.

The rise in the unemployment rate is actually a sign of improving perception of labor market conditions.  The increase was due to an uptick in job seekers who had previously been discourage and dropped out of the job market.  There was a jump of 805,000 workers returning to the labor force in April alone.

Surely this is all good news.  It appears that the job market recovery is in its acceleration phase and if my phone ringing for job interviews over the last two weeks is an indicator, I am going to have agree.  But I am going to have to point out that we still have a long way to go to a full recovery.  In two years the US economy has shed 8.4 million jobs, not as bad as the number lost under Ronald Reagan, but it is still a significant number of people.  It is going to take years to put everyone back to work and get the unemployment rate to full employment.  It took Ronald Reagan six years to accomplish that, and if you want to be picky, the nation really was not at full recovery until Bush, Sr. was in office.  I have this to say about President Obama, he will get re-elected in 2012 if he gets the unemployment rate down by putting the nation back to work.  But, trends like this are going to have to continue for the rest of this year and over the next two years.  A lot of people need jobs.

On a personal level I think the job market is picking up, my phone has been ringing for interviews and I am getting requests for them via my e-mail as well.  The problem that I am encountering is that the competition to get a job is fierce.  On two occasions I turned up at job interviews where there were a dozen people vying for a job.  On one other occasion there were eight people there interviewing for one position.  Finally, I went to a job interview that was an open house, by invitation only style, where forty people were there.  One of the people flew in, courtesy of his son who works for Delta, from Seattle to interview with that business.  People need jobs right now and they are willing to go to any length to get one.  This upcoming week I do have a job interview scheduled for Tuesday with two strong follow ups.  Personally I think I will be able to find a job as the job market continues its climb out of the abyss, but I am still very, very worried regardless.  I am up against a lot of people and my unemployment benefits will run out at the end of June without another extension.  I think Congress will give extensions again this year only because the unemployment rate is so very high.  For myself if that does happen I will get the final tier of federal unemployment benefits of an additional six weeks, then I will have to apply for the final 20 weeks with the state.  That will take me through the remainder of the year and with a job market finally adding jobs I think I will be able to find a job, but I think it may take the rest of the year to do it.  I am more optimistic about the job market, but I am not optimistic enough to think I will find something by the end of June.

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April 23, 2010

Things That Chap My Hide

At the end of January 2009 I lost my job.   At first, like many people who lose their job, I did not think it would take me more than six or seven months to find another job.  As it turns out I was very, very wrong.  It is nearly fifteen months and counting that I have been without a job and it looks as though there is no end in sight, so when I read over the following I just fumed.

Two years of unemployment benefits just isn’t enough for some jobless Americans.

Though Congress has extended unemployment insurance to an unprecedented 99 weeks, the safety net is not proving sufficient for hundreds of thousands of people who say they simply cannot find a job in this weak economy.

Currently I am in the third tier of federally extended unemployment insurance that means that I have been made eligible to receive 78 weeks of it.  For some, that is a long time, for me it is too as I have been looking for work diligently for in that period and really want to work, but cannot find work.  I am bored beyond belief and have started to suffer from long bouts of depression and worthlessness.  On that note, 78 weeks is too long, on the other hand, 78 weeks of unemployment benefits is not enough.  I still do not have a job.  I cannot live very long without some kind of income, even if it is unemployment insurance, although unemployment is not covering all of my bills anyway.  It is a very good thing I had a decent amount of money saved going into this, or I would have had my car repossessed long ago.  $1,100 to $1,200 a month is grossly insufficient.

Up to a million people could find themselves with neither a paycheck nor an unemployment check by year’s end, according to preliminary estimates by advocacy group.

Of those one million, I would be one of them assuming I get the final fourth tier of federal unemployment insurance, and if I get the final 20 weeks of state unemployment benefits that I would have to apply for with the state in order to get.

“If you are subsidized to stay out of the workforce, many people will,” said Alan Reynolds, senior fellow at The Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank.

Spoken by someone who has a job in this job market, since it is not happening to them they have no way of knowing what it is really like to be unemployed today.  It is unfortunate for those of us who are unemployed that people like him influence power brokers who have the power over me to tell me if I can get more extensions.  Clearly, these people think I am lazy and do not want to work.

Even though the economy is creeping back to health, employers have not resumed hiring.

I have personally experienced seeing very few jobs available or times when I have seen next to none available.  To exacerbate the problem there are 5.5 people for every job available.  I have gone to job interviews where there are 14 people in the reception area waiting to be interviewed for one job, still others with 28 people.  I have gone to information sessions at the university I graduated from where there have been 200 people trying to get the internships available with the CDC.  Yes, I have put internships into my job search.

Others, however, argue that the reason there are so many people still out of work is because they have unemployment benefits to fall back on.  If they weren’t getting, they’d be forced to get a job.

“People think that when benefits run out, most people will still be unemployed,” Reynolds said.  But “most will accept jobs that are less than ideal shortly before benefits run out.”

The reason, Mr. Reynolds, so many people are out of work is because there are not enough jobs available.  It is not rocket science.  However, since you have a job you just do not know what it is like.  This week, as an example, I have been looking for a server or delivery job in the food and hospitality industry.  No one is hiring.  There are not even burger flipping jobs available.  In the last week I have burned up a tank of gas looking for a job only to get rejected to my face versus over the phone or via e-mail.

Though Labor Department statistics say there are 5.5 job seekers for every opening, Reynolds said there is work available if people are willing to relocate or take jobs in a different field.

I have interviewed for jobs in other states, as well, in my job hunt, and I have looked across a wide range of fields and occupations.  Tell me, Reynolds, where are these jobs that you speak of, if we the unemployed choose to take just anything anywhere?

Even if Congress does extend benefits one more time, the jobless should expect that one to be the last, said Phillip Swagel, business professor at Georgetown University and former Department chief economist under George W Bush.

It is attitudes like this that add stress to my job search in this tough job market.  Assuming I get the fourth and final federal unemployment tier I can survive through Thanksgiving, without another extension it is September or October.  If I get the final state extension I can survive until January or February of 2011.  It is the not knowing, all of the uncertainty, and the tick, tick, tick of the clock winding down that is making my life so hard.

The jobs picture is starting to brighten, Swagel said.  The use of temporary workers is up and employees’ weekly hours are up – both signs that companies should start hiring soon.

Funny, I was talking with some restaurant managers who said they are not only fully staffed, but are overstaffed.  If someone should leave the person may not be replace.  I heard similar at country clubs I have gone to.  As for temp workers, good luck with that too.  I have gone to temp agencies and have experienced employees physically turning their back on me, or tell me – as I look for work in another occupation and field –  since I have no experience anywhere in my background they will not even attempt to place me.

“We are getting close to the point where there shouldn’t be more extensions, “ Swagel said.

Shouldn’t is the operative word.  Businesses are not hiring and there is no should in that.

How Long Should We Help the Unemployed?

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March 6, 2010

It is Easier to Find a Job When You Have One

That is how that expression goes.  I have wondered over the years if there is any truth to it.  The year before I graduated from college I started looking for a job.  It took me a long time to find one and I had a job, but it was the end of a recession,  I was delivering pizza, and switching careers, so that put me to the back of the line for any kind of professional job, even with a business degree.  I got my first professional sales job five months after I graduated.   That job did not last and my next professional job did not come along for 18 months.  In the mean time, I returned to delivering pizza.  In January of 2009 I lost my second professional job and it is now 13 months later and there is not a job in sight.  Frustration abounds.

I do have a friend who is a recruiter for the state of Georgia, the last time I saw him he looked me dead in the eye and told me, “It is easier to find a job when you have one.  It is why I send you job descriptions for open positions, like receptionist.  Employers are more likely to hire someone who has a job than someone who does not.  If you have not worked in a while you lose that discipline that comes with working.”  Okay, I understand what he meant; at least he did not call me stupid.  He has kept a casual eye open for jobs that he thinks I may qualify for, but not quite as much as he has this week.  He has me looking at jobs from downtown Atlanta, into the foothills of the Appalachians, with only a month left of unemployment benefits I went along with it.  Thankfully, Senator Jim Bunning caved on his opposition to extending unemployment benefits, so I got an additional month to look for a job.  Oh, boy!

This afternoon as I was reading the local newspaper I came across an article about the current state of unemployment.  The article started out with a warning.  “This column is not for the faint of heart.”  I took that as challenge.  The guy rattled off some facts about national and state unemployment, figures I can recite in my sleep.  9.7% for the nation and holding, while the state is at 10.4%; add in the under-employed and the discouraged, the unemployment rate spikes to 16.9%.  Those are depressing numbers, the likes of which we have not seen since Ronald Reagan was president.  I think I have a better chance of getting into Harvard than I have of getting a job.

The article went on and included the phrase, “It is easier to find a job when you have one.”  The writer elaborated a little.  The average time a person is out of work is 30 weeks in Georgia, or eight months.  (Personally I would like to know the median.  I meet some people who find jobs quickly and others who have not. Unfortunately, I am in the latter group.)  He went on to write that employers prefer to hire people who are already working.  I somewhat disagree after a few job interviews I have been on.  I think employers want the recently unemployed people who can start work right away.  The rest of the article then turned into his warning.  He started looking at the real effects of the number of unemployed versus the real amount of jobs getting created and projected for job creation.  In a nutshell, the state of Georgia is looking at putting the 794,000 unemployed back to work by 2020.  That is sobering.  He then took the point of view of “permanent unemployment,” mostly male, would become a norm instead of deviant standard for society.  (This current recession is supposed to be impacting males in greater numbers than women.)  The writer concluded that not only current unemployed males will be disproportionately affected by this recession, but males entering into the workforce over the next decade; writing those boys when never grow into men, if one can at least define male identities by work.   What a horrible legacy for not just a generation, but for a nation.  However, it made me think of another lost generation.

The summation of the article did remind me of Reagan’s recession when people were writing about how the younger Baby Boomers missed out on the economic prosperity the older Boomers experienced, how there is (was) a widening gulf between either end of the generation and how younger Boomers were facing disenfranchisement.   Given that I am a younger Boomer, they were talking about me, and, yes, it did take me longer to start to prosper than my older counterparts, even my brother and sister who are not all that much older than me.  (My brother became an industrial engineer without going to college.  He claims he hit the workforce just as the computer era took off.  He says he feels very fortunate to have been in the right place at the right time.  My sister got on with a business during high school and climbed the corporate ladder over the 30 years she has been there.  I have not been that fortunate.)  However, during the 80’s, under Ronald Reagan, the Christian Right did flourish and fed the wounded males low self esteem.  Women became their whipping post for their inability to thrive, like their older male Baby Boomer counterparts did.  I recall by the end of Reagan’s eight years of high unemployment groups like Operation Rescue headed by Terry Randall, or the Lambs of Christ came into being, both heavily male right wing Christian groups opposed to abortion and wanting to return America back to her “family values” (i.e. woman at home with children and subordinate to the husband. These groups were also the first careers where leaders, like Terry Randall made real money.  He got on talk shows, etc. and made a lot money until the IRS came along.  He was a tax resister.)  Groups like these spawned murderers who started hunting healthcare providers who performed abortions.  Of course, they liked to stalk women who had abortions and make their lives miserable too.  This was one lost generation.  So, the writer made me think, with a rise in groups like the Tea Party, could we be facing more of the same or similar?  Another lost generation of disenfranchised men taken over by the right wing and exploited, like then?  Sustained high unemployment is a recipe for the worst of society to rise to the top.  It has happened all over history.  Too much time on your hands.

For me, and others like me, “It is easier to find a job when you have one,” but what about those who never got one to begin with?

Thomas Oliver:  Joblessness Creates Long Term Problems

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March 2, 2010

The Rest of the World Or: The Philosophy of Always Right, Never wrong, but Oh So Misunderstood.

Filed under: Daily Observations,Economics,Europe,Financial Crisis,GOP,politics,Uncategorized — Katharina in Ghent @ 9:45 am
Tags: , , ,

Since WWII the US have undoubtedly held the role of world leader, at least as far as the Western hemisphere is concerned. They have helped Western Europe and Japan recover after the war, which most likely is the greatest success story in terms of foreign policy. They have fought many wars, not all of them necessary, and lost a good number of them. And that’s when it all went awry.

Wars cost a lot of money, especially when you have to fight them in some far away place, and they cost a lot of goodwill of your people when these wars are fought against a nation that has no direct relation to you and poses no direct threat. It is bad enough if you decide to fight these battles on your own – it’s your decision, and you have to live with it – but when you try to drag other, ‘friendly’ nations into this just because you can’t afford to do it on your own, then things can get ugly very quickly.

There’s a big right-wing movement in the US who feel that they’ve been abandoned by the rest of the world because we other nations did not want to participate in the war in Iraq. Against all the warnings from outsiders, resolutions from the United Nations and better judgment by all their ‘best friends’, GW Bush and his team decided that fighting one battle – more or less justified because of 9/11 – was not enough, and that they want to invade another country which had had nothing to do with it. On top of this, there was no exit strategy and no idea whatsoever about what to do once the plain battle is over. Now, almost exactly seven years later, the US budget deficit exceeds $10 trillion and is still rising, the economy is in shambles and the nationwide unemployment rate is somewhere around 10%.

The same people who always preach that you’re the master of your own fate decide to ‘not like the rest of the world anymore’, because ‘they’ve done oh so much to make the world a better place, and yet we don’t do anything to come to their help’. Well, if you really think that, try to go shopping to the local market in Baghdad and see how far it gets you (or your various limbs and other pieces of your body).

One thing that Europe has learned over the course of very bloody 1000 years of wars and battles is to not meddle with other countries any more. Similarly, Canada, the second largest nation in size with only 33mio habitants has always pursued a peaceful path. Who would they want to battle anyway? Most of all, we have learned that if you start something, you continue until the job is really done. The war in Afghanistan may have been won by 2003, but the situation was far from secure and the Taliban were still there, just biding their time to come back and hit harder. To start another war, unprovoked, was just plain silly and the surprise that nobody outside was interested in participating just plain idiotic.

Now, instead of supporting the one man who is rising to the challenge to fix the many wrongs – inside and outside the US – that GWB has caused, they do absolutely everything to torpedo him in every decision and bring him down. They rather see their own fellow Americans without Unemployment benefits and health insurance than granting their black president even the smallest chance of improving also their own situation. On top, they are angry with the rest of the world because we don’t feel like doing whatever it is that they want us to do. Oh, and the best of it: they are still angry with China, because even they were not interested in joining an idiotic war in Iraq. Well, here’s a news flash: Guess who’s holding a lot of your debts right now?

Here’s a word of advice to the right wing from a European citizen: if you don’t give a shit about the rest of the world when you’re clearly wrong, then don’t come whining to us when you’ve spilled your milk and there’s no cow in sight. Chances are that you killed it in times of aplenty, and we had told you not to do it.

Note: I am an Austrian citizen, living in Belgium, married to a Canadian, so I’ve experienced a lot of different cultures.

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February 27, 2010

Revolutions Have Been Started Over Less

“Let them eat cake!” quipped Marie Antoinette concerning bread shortages in France.   There were bread shortages at the time of a financial crisis and an unfair tax system that favored nobility making France ripe for revolution.  Sound familiar?

It is clear that Senator Jim Bunning of Kentucky did not learn anything from history.  It is clear that he does not know the phrase, “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”  However, it is not just his lack of knowledge, or comprehension of history that is most troubling, it is his partisanship and ego that are.  After being an obstructionist on the floor of the Senate on Friday and after getting called out for it Senator Jim Bunning of Kentucky was heard uttering the words, “Tough shit.”

What happened on the floor of the US Senate on Friday is very disturbing, especially for those who rely on federal, not state, unemployment benefits to help pay their bills until they can find a job, and/or those who have COBRA insurance, which is health insurance for the laid off and unemployed.   Senator Jim Bunning blocked a bill that would provide an additional 30 days of extended benefits to the unemployed and COBRA recipients.

Now why would Republican Jim Bunning do such a thing?  Could it be that he is that partisan, that his ego is that large, or is it because he hates President Obama?  Answer: all three.

He has served in both Houses for twenty three years, currently serving as a US Senator, that means he served under former president Bush, so I wonder why the poor memory?  Currently he is demanding that a way be found to pay for the 30 day extension of benefits.  He claims to be outraged with the amount of money being spent in Washington DC these days.  He is angry with President Obama for the amount of debt that was incurred in the last two years of the Bush Administration and is blaming Obama for it.  Senator Jim Bunning seems to have a poor memory of signing, year after year, a blank check to finance the war in Iraq, a war that was started on a string of lies. Wars are not cheap either.  He also has a poor memory of former president Bush spending huge sums of Medicare money on Big Business and Unions; even though both told him they did not want or need the money.   Senator Bunning is an angry old man with an ax to grind with President Obama simply because he does not like him.  Senator Jim Bunning has been heard referring to President Obama as “your president”, thus disowning him.

Here is the outcome of Senator Jim Bunning’s actions: starting Monday, March 1st, the jobless will no longer be able to apply for federal unemployment benefits or COBRA health insurance subsidy.  Because the Senate did not act, (read Jim Bunning) the jobless will now stop getting checks once they run out of their state benefits or current tier of federal benefits.

That could be devastating to the unemployed who were counting on that for income.  In total, more than one million people could stop getting checks next month, with nearly 5 million running out of benefits by June, according to the National Unemployment Law Project.

All week Republican Senator Jim Bunning blocked a 30 day extension on unemployment benefits.  The Senate will not return for a vote on this until Tuesday.

The national unemployment rate currently stands at 9.7% and is expected to remain that high for the rest of the year and is not expected to drop to 6.6% or 7.5% until 2012.  The unemployment rate is not expected to drop to 5.8% until seven years from now.   Republican Jim Bunning was confronted on the floor of the Senate with these facts and the unemployment rate of each state, which is when he  was heard saying, “Tough shit.”

Really, Jim, tough shit?  Jim, there are millions of unemployed people in the country right now and you just took away the only means many have for getting themselves through an economic tough time.  I am one of them.  Jim, I am going to point out to you the figure where 5 million people will run out unemployment benefits by June if there is not any further assistance.  That is 5 million angry people with a motive to start a revolution and it will start at your home and office, since you are the sole cause of it.  You see, Jim, someone like me relies on unemployment to help pay the rent and car note, while my savings pays for food, utilities, and other hidden expenses.  I do not have COBRA at this time because I cannot afford it.  I need to pay for my car, so I can look for a job.  Health insurance, which I need, right now is a luxury.  I can also tell you about my unemployed friend who has Lupus needs COBRA, so she can get medical treatment for her illness.  Her COBRA health insurance costs her $1,200 a month for her and her husband, and that is with the break provided for in the stimulus plan.  But, in your mind it is, “Tough shit.”  Well, Jim, it will be tough shit for you when the angry mob with a motive turns up at your door.  I will not tolerate being a pawn in your game of brinkmanship with President Obama, just because you do not like him.  Your hatred is going to throw me, and people like me on to the street, and it is going to kill my friend, murderer.

Sen. Jim Bunning holds floor: ‘Tough s–t’

Jobless Benefits Start Ending on Sunday

How Bush Bankrupted America

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February 24, 2010

Then and Now

In late January of 2009 I lost my job.  It is one year later and I am still looking for work.  Of course, I am not happy about it, especially with having put myself through college a little later in life.  I was and still am expecting a little more from my degree than what I have been getting.  I switched careers right after Bush, Jr.’s recession earlier in the decade, there were still a lot of people out of work, so I had a hard time finding a professional career, but after searching doggedly from 2003 to 2006 I did find one.  In that time I did have a false start at a company that was run by two brothers who were brilliant businessmen, but two of the worst managers I have ever worked for, so with that experience in mind I trudge forward with a wary eye over my shoulder.  I look to the past for guidance in the present and the future.  Right now my experience is telling me to go back to restaurant work, like I did for a while and keep getting ready for tomorrow.

I see in the present high unemployment, but still not as high as it was when I first graduated from high school in 1981.  Two years after I graduated from high school the unemployment rate went from 7.4% to 10.8% in 1982.   Back then I was living at home with my parents, so having a job didn’t mean to me what it means to me now.  Of course now the unemployment rate is 9.7%, down from 10.2%, which is too high.  It was 7.6% in January of 2009, but it spiked immediately after that, the full impact of a near financial collapse of our banking system was taking affect.

Back then inflation skyrocketed.  It was high while I was in high school in the late 70’s and early 80’s, inflation peaked in 1981.  Interest rates were outrageous.  I can remember reading and seeing interest rates for homes as high as 25%.  The official interest for the period is 13.5%.  A person never knew how much anything would cost the next day.  We are not experiencing runaway inflation today, like we did back then, in spite of George W. Bush’s free spending ways in both of his terms, or the bank bailout, or the stimulus spending act, except by the alarmists.  There are always gloom and doomers.  Back then there was a lot of spending going on to help spur the economy; it was called the arms race with the former Soviet Union.  Back then we went from a creditor nation to a debtor nation.  We did not reverse that until status until the mid to late 1990’s. In fact, we had a surplus in 2000.  It was then reversed starting in 2002.

Back then we weren’t fighting a two front war, nor were did we come to the near financial collapse like what we faced in late 2008 through early 2009.  Back then what was needed was to break the back of inflation.  Steps were taken to do just that, and like then a lot of people lost their jobs.  Back then the chairman of the Federal Reserve and the President of the United States were called job killers.  Back then the president’s approval ratings sank to 35% two years into his first term.  He lost 27 seats in the Houses of Congress.  Now the chairman of the federal reserve and the president of the United States are getting called  nearly the same thing and like back then, the president is facing losing seats in both Houses, even with approval ratings at 49%, which are significantly lower than his honeymoon period of a year ago when it 79%, but 49% is still better than back then.  Back then by the time the 1984 election rolled around people thought the president would lose, like what is being said now about our current president for a race that is nearly three years off.

By 1984 the unemployment rate sank to 7.2% winning the president another term.  Unemployment ran high through most of that president’s two terms.  It averaged 7.5% over his two terms.  (In 1986, after not being able to find stable employment, I moved to Atlanta and worked non-stop until a year ago.  I had no idea the unemployment was 7.0% in 1986.  I would not have made the move, if I knew then what I know now.  That recession caused me to relocate.)  Right now unemployment is expected to remain at 9.7% or 9.5% and by 2012 elections fall somewhere between 6.6% and 7.5%.  Like back then and like back then unemployment is expected to not start approach what is thought to be full employment in six years.  Back then full employment was not achieved until 1989 and I suspect things will not be any different.  Back then we faced down an entire decade of cyclical inflation and recession, now we are facing down a decade of greed and ownership society.  We will move beyond this.  I believe this.

I write this for two reasons.  One I am out of work and looking for work in a flooded job market is emotionally trying.  I really do not want to return to the odd hours and hard work that restaurants offer, but I will if I have to.  I know it’s temporary.  The other reason is that today we forget our past, our recent past.  There are enough people walking around who remember back then, but I am afraid back then is remembered as the “good old days” and people being what they are will remember those days with a little bit more in focus.  I believe there is too much ill will being hurled at a human being who walked into the nation’s worst crisis since FDR walked into the Great Depression.

Paul Volker

Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan Unemployment Rate.

Some Fed officials favor reeling in stimulus soon

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February 17, 2010

Getting the JOB done

Filed under: Bush,Economics,Financial Crisis,GOP,Obama,politics — eartothaground @ 4:09 pm

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is literally one year old today.  Despite the crowing of @johnboehner and House Republicans, or Senator John Cornyn who speaks out of both sides of his mouth, “it is not hypocritical for members of his party to tout projects funded by the federal stimulus project,“ the stimulation of the economy has and is continuing to work.

As I drive through Los Angeles, I see lots of the signs, “This project funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.”  Those are jobs, people getting up and going to work funded by the stimulus.  Listening to the President this morning, and the governor of Wisconsin afterwards, there are millions of people who are working today that wouldn’t be if the ARRA hadn’t been passed.

It’s one thing to interpret the numbers.  It’s quite another to lie about the effectiveness of legislation because you don’t like it.  The President has a job, and he’s doing it.  The Recovery Act shows that Congress can do its job, or at least it has in the recent past.  And there are millions of other people who’s jobs depend on them both continuing in that pattern.

Cornyn: It’s not hypocritical to tout stimulus

Stimulus Bill Worked

Judging Stimulus by Job Data Reveals Success

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February 9, 2010

A Nation Divided

I live in a nation that has been bitterly divided since its inception.  There were the Federalists and the anti-Federalists, pro-Constitution (centralized federal government) vs. loose confederation of states, (the Articles of Confederation and what can be considered states rights).then there was the Jefferson/Adams feud that created the two party system, (no third party has ever succeeded, although many have tried) and the list goes on, but that is where it started. Today the struggle is strong as ever in this post Cold War nation, a war that seemed to shift our philosophical viewpoint that came from the Enlightenment to a post Cold War of left vs. right, communism vs. paranoid and delusional.  It is playing out loud and clear on center stage and more than ever since the instant Barack Obama won the 2008 presidential election. 

I keep hearing that our country has never been this divided before.  I could not disagree more; there was the Civil War after all.  It just seems that it even louder this time.  I know it was loud under Clinton, very loud, especially when he tried to pass health care reform in his first year in office with the First Lady playing a major role.  It was loud under former president Bush, Jr. too, from both sides, the anti-war movement vs. the McCarthyists.  In my mind it is because we have our first black president. 

For those who hate President Obama, and I mean hate there is no strong dislike, it is hate, I would like to remind people that Jim Crowe and the Civil Rights movement was not all that long ago.  There are people alive today who were born during the Civil Rights movement and are not yet middle aged.  Our nation is not all that old and that we have not had time to completely change, or move on.  We may not make African Americans sit on the back of the bus, or openly deny them jobs any more, but it’s there, like the last vestiges of a violent storm, the smell of the rain still in the air, and the rumble of thunder far off in the distance.  Barack Obama reminds those that hate him of this time in our recent history when African Americans had to fight back hard at their dog biting tormentors.  There is more to it too.  Barack Obama’s father is not American, he is an atheist from a Muslim nation, and it is stirring up a lot of xenophobia and a lot of fear of the bogeyman.  In this day and age it is terrorists, a group of people who have perverted Islam to achieve their goal de jour.  But, the latter really speaks to the lunatic fringe in America and a lot of swaggering rednecks.  For Middle Americans who hate Obama it speaks more their Cold War past, their McCarthyism, and that a black man is stirring their fear of communism.  Rush Limbaugh put it very succinctly in an interview with Sean Hannity on FOX News. 

For Obama’s detractors he is threatening them.  He seems to threaten their Christian beliefs, even though they have nothing to fear.  He threatens their belief in what democracy means, even though they have nothing to fear.  He threatens their white skin privilege.  He threatens them because he is the president with black skin, a funny name, a foreign father, and centrist political stance.

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May 16, 2009

President Barack Obama’s Weekly Address May 16th

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May 9, 2009

President Barack Obama’s Weekly Address May 9th

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