Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Coming Soon To A State Near You

What's happening in Pennsylvania to 45,000 unemployed is also happening in Arizona to 15,000 unemployed.

I've had my say. Over and over. Now I'm just angry.

The stories speak for themselves.

Good luck America. You're going to need it.

Lawmakers rebuff gov. on jobless-benefit bill

PHOENIX - State lawmakers refused Monday to change the law to extend jobless benefits, meaning the checks that about 15,000 Arizonans get this week are likely their last.

Republican legislators stood in virtual unison in opposing the proposal by fellow Republican Gov. Jan Brewer to make the necessary change.

GOP leaders said they could not in good conscience vote to keep the checks coming for those those who have been out of work more than 79 weeks without doing something to create more jobs.

But Brewer would not back away from her demand to immediately keep the jobless funds flowing, providing only a general promise to work with lawmakers on an economic-stimulus plan later.

Most immediately affected are 14,697 Arizonans who have exhausted their 26 weeks of regular unemployment benefits and 53 weeks of federally funded emergency aid. But Steve Meissner, spokesman for the state Department of Economic Security, said the DES predicts another 30,000 Arizonans will find themselves in that position between now and the end of the year.

Read the rest

Huffington Post (yeah, I know):

Unemployment Showdowns In Arizona And Pennsylvania [UPDATE]

Unemployed people in Arizona and Pennsylvania are watching helplessly as lawmakers in each state fight over measures to restore extended unemployment insurance for tens of thousands of people whose checks stopped this week.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) called a special session of the state legislature on Friday, but lawmakers argued without actually voting on Brewer's bill to save the benefits. They'll take the debate up again on Monday afternoon.

[UPDATE 6:45 PM: Lawmakers closed the special session without reinstating the benefits. "Everyone wanted to make this fix -- the governor wanted this, Democrats wanted this and Arizonans wanted it to help the unemployed during this worldwide recession, not hold them hostage to partisan politics," said Assistant House Minority Leader Steve Farley (D) in a statement. "Everyone but Republicans, who made a conscious decision to cut off $3.5 million per week coming into our state’s economy. It is absolutely outrageous and it’s time to hold Republicans accountable."]

"Republicans failed to act," said Sarah Muench, spokeswoman for Democrats in the Arizona House of Representatives.

Some Republicans in Arizona have said they don't want to coddle the unemployed with federal deficit spending even if it doesn't affect the state's budget. Brewer said Republicans should not put the federal budget deficit ahead of their jobless constituents.

"I understand that some legislators have concerns about the extension of unemployment aid," she said. "They worry about the federal deficit. So do I. But you don't balance the federal budget by turning your back on Arizonans in their time of need. That's not principled fiscal conservatism. It's just cruel. And we are better than this."

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1.9 Million Fewer Americans Have Jobs Today Than When Obama Signed Stimulus
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
By Matt Cover

(CNSNews.com) – Twenty-eight months after Congress passed President Obama’s signature economic stimulus law, and nearly one year after he declared the summer of 2010 to be “Recovery Summer,” 1.9 million fewer people are employed.

In February 2009, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that 141.7 million people were employed. By the end of May 2011 – the last month for which data are available – that number had fallen to 139.8 million, a difference of 1.9 million.

While the number of people with jobs has increased slightly from its low point during the recession – 137.9 million in December 2009 – those 1.9 million jobs have been lost despite $800 billion in stimulus spending.

This does not mean that the economy is not creating jobs, but rather that it is not creating jobs fast enough to keep up with a combination of layoffs and people entering the job market for the first time.

In a Washington Post op-ed, former White House chief economist Larry Summers noted that the percentage of the population that has a job has not improved, even though the economy is technically in recovery.

“From the first quarter of 2006 to the first quarter of 2011, the U.S. economy’s growth rate averaged less than 1 percent a year,” Summers wrote. “The fraction of the population working remains almost exactly at its recession trough, and recent reports suggest that growth is slowing.”

The fraction of the population with a job has in fact fallen in the 28 months since Congress passed the stimulus – down from 60.3 percent in February 2009 to 58.4 percent in May 2011.

The economy cannot create jobs fast enough to keep pace with layoffs and recent high school and college graduates seeking employment. If the trend continues, as Summers notes may happen, the economy will suffer further in the future as college graduates delay entry into the labor force, reducing their lifetime productivity.

“Beyond the lack of jobs and incomes, an economy producing below its potential for a prolonged interval sacrifices its future,” argued Summers. “Huge numbers of new college graduates are moving back in with their parents this month because they have no job or means of support.”

As both Summers and the BLS data make clear, the economy is not creating new jobs fast enough to make up for layoffs and new graduates, calling into question Obama’s oft-repeated claim that the economy is recovering and creating jobs.

In fact, by citing figures from the first quarter of 2006, Summers is understating the economy’s poor performance. According to BLS data, the number of people with jobs peaked at 146.6 million in November 2007, meaning that over the entire recession – which officially began in December 2007 – the number of people employed has fallen by 6.8 million.


Obama Jokes at Jobs Council: 'Shovel-Ready Was Not as Shovel-Ready as We Expected'

President Obama's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness met today in Durham, NC at Cree Inc., a company that manufactures energy-efficient LED lighting. One of the Council's recommendations to President Obama was to streamline the federal permit process for construction and infrastructure projects. It was explained to Obama that the permitting process can delay projects for "months to years ... and in many cases even cause projects to be abandoned ... I'm sure that when you implemented the Recovery Act your staff briefed you on many of these challenges." At this point, Obama smiled and interjected, "Shovel-ready was not as ... uh .. shovel-ready as we expected." The Council, led by GE's Jeffrey Immelt, erupted in laughter.

The Obama administration promised the Recovery Act ("the stimulus") would prevent the jobless rate from going over 8%. It now stands at 9.1%.