Posts Tagged ‘jobs’
From our friends at the Iowa Policy Project. If you have not heard, Governor Branstad is releasing numbers that only show hirings added but does not show people let go. Fudging the books or lying we used to call that. Here is a great perspective from folks that I trust totally:
And, of course, the governor’s political opponents could offer up a number of “gross jobs lost” since January 2011 — a measure (about 56,000 lost jobs) that would be just as impressive, and just as silly. …In the bigger picture, these job numbers are not even shaped much by state policy, by what governors do or do not do. Jobs are won or lost by national economic conditions. States can try to pirate jobs or investment from other states, but the only sustained impact of state policy is on the quality of state jobs. Higher labor standards and better investments in education are places to make that impact.Iowa’s leaders can move these discussions forward constructively, but that starts with ending the politicization of basic economic data, as the governor’s staff has done with numbers on job growth.
The contrast between Democratic and Republican approaches to the government’s role in job creation could not be clearer than with the Branstad administration’s recently announced deal with the Egyptian corporation Orascom. The company plans to build a fertilizer plant in Lee County. Touted as a “win-win,” the project will result in a $1.4 billion construction project and 165 permanent jobs, according to news sources.
The deal appears to be predicated on cheap natural gas, proximity to fertilizer users, and a package of tax incentives that according to Peter Fisher of the Iowa Policy Project, “amount to more than $650,000 for each permanent job.” CF Industries, Inc., Dow Chemical and Royal Dutch Shell are reported to be mulling similar projects, so Iowa is participating in a broader economic trend related to the explosion of natural gas supply in the United States due to hydraulic fracturing, and its intersection with agriculture.
The Orascom deal is done, it creates jobs, and it occurred on the Republican watch. However, is a tax incentive to a foreign corporation the best way to create Iowa jobs? Democrats have a different answer, one that favors Iowa businesses, and small businesses particularly.
Recently, the Solon City Council approved a $125,000 package of forgivable loans to a local company planning to open a restaurant and microbrewery on Main Street. One can debate how many jobs this will create, but management, a cook, a brew master, wait and kitchen staff, maintenance and accounting functions will all be part of the business. Perhaps five or six jobs and parts of others after the construction is finished and the business opens. For the money spent on each Orascom job, five or six small businesses could receive such a loan, multiplying the job creation many times per dollar spent over the Republican deal.
If one cares about job creation, supporting Main Street is more sensible than giving tax breaks to large, multinational corporations. There is the partisan difference, Democrats support Iowa businesses on Main Street, Republicans support tax breaks to large corporations.
Democrats support a strong Iowa economy by supporting a reduction in commercial property taxes for every Iowa business, focused on Main Street in small towns. We also support giving Iowans first bidding rights on government contracts, and buying American and Iowa made products where cost competitive. We support financial incentives for small businesses like the one in Solon.
This approach would do more for the Iowa economy than providing tax incentives to foreign corporations for a business relying on the economics of the questionable practice of hydraulic fracturing.
The Orascom fertilizer plant deal shows once again that while Republicans favor large corporations, Democrats favor doing business in Iowa with Iowans. It points out that Democrats make the better job creators.
As elusive as the truth to Mitt Romney.
The money the rich are spending to buy this election could buy some good infrastructure and schools in this country
If I every get surrounded by a group of angry Republicans, I know the secret word to scare them to death: vagina!
When climate change wipes out humanity, the last Republican will say “Why didn’t somebody warn us?”
This crop of Republicans makes writing jokes too easy. Soon Dennis Miller may figure it out.
I shouldn’t pick on Dennis Miller. Republicans have a hard time telling jokes. Instead they run them for public office.
I would love to see as much of the world as Mitt Romney’s money.
If you wanted to be treated decently in this country, you should have been born as a dressage horse.
This is not a joke. The pope says the reason for the child abuse by the Catholic clergy is still a mystery.
Seems like Catholic nuns are the only ones still practicing Catholicism. And to think I used to be scared of them in school.
A Muslim school applied for state money for private religious schools in Louisiana. Boy their legislature never saw that one coming. Seriously.
The approval ratings for congress are directly the inverse to the number of Republicans in Congress at any given time.
Eric Holder may soon be held in contempt of Congress. But not near the contempt that Americans have for Congress right now.
Republicans are so opposed to anything Obama proposes, I can only hope someday Obama proposes that all Americans must breathe.
Want to have a good cry? Think of what the country would be like after 8 years of President Gore. The peace, the prosperity, the jobs.
People can’t believe in climate change or evolution for which there is overwhelming evidence, but they can believe that 51 years ago a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas conspired to make a child (that was born in two different places) that would grow up to take over the United States and turn it into a communist state. Why is that so hard to understand?
Romney and his rich cronies are out in Utah dividing up the country today. What part do the 99.99% get, do you think?
Turns out that despite calling it illegal and one of the worst things about America, Ron Paul does get Social Security. Ron Paul does look out for Ron Paul.
Per Thom Hartmann, the Chamber of Commerce has won 100% of the cases it has been involved in before the Supreme Court this year. That doesn’t bode well for ‘we the people’ on number 8 – the Affordable Care Act.
Romney lays his claim to fame on being a businessman. America has had two businessmen as president. If you want to use history as a guide, those men were Herbert Hoover and George W. Bush. At the end of their terms, when the rest of the country was broke, they still had money. I am sure we could expect the same from Romney.
Finally we now know that Romney did create jobs while at Bain Capital. Those jobs were in China, however.
Yet again Republicans are running their election year bait and switch on jobs and the economy. Do not ever forget who was in charge when the economy hit the skids. The reasons behind the failures were not some mystical forces of the economic gods, but government policies which allowed banks to become casinos. Adding to the mix was engaging in two wars that were paid for by borrowing from China and Japan, while giving a huge tax cut to millionaires and billionaires. Mix in an unfunded prescription drug benefit which added $700 billion to the debt and you get a recipe for an economic disaster unparalleled since the 1930’s.
The economy collapsed under the weight of all that in 2008. Remember the TARP bailout (giveaway) for Wall Street in Oct of that year followed by a loss of 1.5 million jobs in Bush’s last two months in office. The GDP in that quarter was -8%, an historical figure. The huge run up in national debt that began during the Bush years accelerated in fiscal 2009 which began on Oct 1, 2008. The massive unemployment which began under Bush created huge strains on the budget in the ensuing years as government tried to reverse the economic tide.
In 2010 the Republicans gained control of the House and state legislatures with the promise of job, jobs, jobs. Two years later we have yet to see any real effort on their part to deliver, in fact what we have seen is obstruction at every turn. They were serious when they announced their main objective was to make Barack Obama a one term president, even if it meant taking the country down with him. Fortunately polls show that Americans are not easily fooled a second and third time.
In spite of Republican obstructionism our economy, since 2009, has added over 4 million jobs with growth for 25 straight months and our GDP is now at 2%+, a remarkable turn around considering where we were. Especially when you consider it took 15 years and a world war to recover from the “Great Depression”. Yet Americans are not known for their patience. And though we all desire a faster recovery, there is no magic elixir with an overnight cure no matter what any candidate or snake oil salesman tries to tell you. We are on the track to recovery and it would be foolish to turn around and go back where we just came from. Romney would reinstitute Bush policies on steroids.
The public is finally waking up to this cynical bait-and-switch scam Republicans have been running since the Reagan days, promise jobs and give the wealthiest huge tax breaks. Simple economics tells us and history shows us that what creates jobs is demand driven by consumers who have more money to spend.
This is the Democratic model and now is the time to elect those who understand the economy flows from the bottom, not from a few rich at the top.
Garbage pickers are everywhere. This is a photo of a gent working near where I lived through my early years, until Kindergarten. I asked him if he lived in the area. He didn’t, but knew about the current occupants of my childhood home, saying they had made improvements, including installation of a new roof. He is not the only one working this trade. While in Colorado Springs recently, the apartment complex where I was staying produced a lot of trash, requiring the dumpster to be emptied once or twice a day. A garbage picker made quick work of an abandoned mattress there, stripping it to get the springs in less than half an hour. He was going sell the scrap metal. I had brief conversations with both of these workers, and they were friendly and industrious. They are a sign of the times.
I don’t propose to make a living picking through neighbors’ garbage, although there is probably income in those carts laden with plastic bags of household detritus. At the same time, there is a dignity of work that is off the radar screen of politicians and people with a secure job and above median household income. Jobs like garbage picking depend on the bottle deposit law, scrap metal prices and sales of second hand goods. They also rely on a consumer culture that is the antithesis of frugal. These are people working in what most would call the margins of society.
We all take on jobs, helping a friend move, organizing a social gathering, fund raising for a local charity. Our ability to do this work depends upon having a sound economic basis. For many of us, owning our home is part of that economic basis. With the house payment gone, taxes and insurance make our average monthly cost very affordable, much lower than renting an apartment, and with much better living accommodations: space, a garden, proximity to a park and good neighbors. By creating a sound economy where we live, we are freed to volunteer resources in the community.
Most people don’t view garbage picking and volunteering in the community as jobs. When politicians talk about jobs, one hopes they are talking about work that pays a living wage, but that is not the reality. Increasingly, social responsibility is absent from most conversations among employers, with the possible exception of a pet project or two. A job is created or eliminated by an employer based on their economic need. If they are smart, an employer will add jobs only when there is a return on investment in human capital.
During the time since the Reagan administration, there has been constant movement to reduce the risk and expense of human capital. This includes outsourcing functions, part time workers and implementation of business processes that eliminate human work. People talk about the vanishing pension, reduced health benefits and rate of pay, but those seem secondary to me. A smart employer will find the right combination of human capital investment to make a business model work, and then, continuously refine it.
Someone who is cynical about life might say the garbage pickers are entrepreneurs. They are, in some sense of the word. Like any business, they depend on the habits of others and the structure of markets and a social safety net to make a living. When we talk about the wealth trickling down, it looks something like the person in this photograph.
This is the face of entrepreneurship that is often missed by people who say society should create jobs. It is worth noting.
~ Paul Deaton is a native Iowan and regular contributor to Blog for Iowa.
“Hawkeye Vision 2012: Caucusing for Working Families“
Presented by the Americans for Democratic Action Education Fund.
Please join us for a political roundtable featuring key Democratic leaders who will offer the progressive viewpoint on the important issues facing working families and the role those issues will play in the 2012 elections.
Tuesday, January 3, 2012 (Caucus Day!) at 10 a.m.
Iowa State Historical Building
600 East Locust
Des Moines, Iowa
Many voters are interested in participating in issue discussions that do not revolve around the ambitions of individual candidates. This expert roundtable will focus on jobs, health care, education, and other pressing issues facing our nation’s working families. Speakers will address how the 99% of Americans can win economic security and social justice in 2012 and beyond.
◦ State Senator Joe Bolkcom (D-IA), Chair of the Progressive States Network
◦ U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison (DFL-MN), Co-chair of Congressional Progressive Caucus
◦ Celinda Lake, President of Lake Research Partners & leading political pollster
◦ Ken Sagar, President of the Iowa Federation of Labor
Admission is free.
Reserved seating and other benefits are available to Hosts and Friends. For a $50 tax-deductible contribution, become a Host and receive reserved VIP seating, a name listing in the event program, and an invitation to a special debrief session with our speakers following the roundtable discussion. For $25, become a Friend and receive reserved VIP seating and a name listing in the event program. Host and Friend contributions to the ADA Education Fund’s programs and services will help educate voters and elected officials on key issues and empower tomorrow’s liberal leaders. All contributions are tax-deductible.
Sponsored by our friends at the UFCW Region Council No. 6 — Northern Plains
Local 79, Esterville Local 431, Davenport
Local 179, Cherokee Local 440, Denison
Local 222, Sioux City Local 617, Fort Madison
Local 230, Ottumwa Local 1149, Marshalltown
CCI members are standing with our Brothers & Sisters in Labor today to demand good paying jobs – not more cuts – from our elected officials. Today, November 17th is a national day of action. CCI members in Johnson County, Polk County, across the state, and even in Washington DC will be standing up to send a strong message that the 99% are demanding a fix to our crumbling infrastructure and a fix to the continued unemployment crisis, not more cuts for the 1%. We know cuts don’t create jobs.
Join us for this symbolic and important demonstration tomorrow!
7:30 am – Park Road Bridge in Iowa City. Corner of Dubuque and Park Road
(Meet in the Hancher Auditorium Parking Lot at 7:15 a.m.)
The Des Moines protest is being sponsored by the South Central Federation of Labor & MoveOn. It will be at 11AM at the East 14th St bridge over I-235
The formula is simple. By fixing our nation’s infrastructure, we will:
RAISE TAX REVENUE
LEAVE A BETTER COUNTRY FOR OUR KIDS
So join us as we stand with our friends in labor, with other concerned citizens, and for the 99%!
Let’s tell the politicians “We need Jobs, Not Cuts!”
I look forward to seeing you there!
State Policy Organizing Director
Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement
2001 Forest Ave.
Des Moines, IA 50311
Everyone welcome at education reform discussions
How can we help our students do even better? Which of Gov. Branstad’s education reform ideas will help our local schools—and which might hurt? I want to know what you think.
I’m organizing public meetings on these issues for parents, teachers, students and all interested citizens. Everyone is welcome to attend, regardless of where you live.
If you can’t make it, I still want to hear your ideas and concerns. Contact me at 319-759-5334 or email@example.com. Thanks for taking the time to help me better serve you.
Danville: November 15 from 6 to 7 PM in the Danville High School chorus room, 419 South Main Street.
West Liberty: November 16 from 5:30 to 6:30 PM in the meeting room of the West Liberty Public Library, 400 North Spencer Street.
Muscatine: November 17 from 6:30 to 7:30 PM in Strahan Hall room 27 at Muscatine Community College, 152 Colorado Street.
Honoring our veterans, service members
Over the past year, Iowa has experienced the largest overseas deployment of National Guard troops since World War II. It’s a powerful reminder this November—the month of Veterans Day—of the sacrifice that thousands of our fellow Iowans are making.
Iowa is a national leader in supporting our veterans, soldiers and their families. The Iowa Veterans Council called a recent legislative session the best for Iowa veterans and service members since the 1950s. And last year, Iowa became the first state to approve 10 measures that the U.S. Department of Defense says would do most to improve the quality-of-life for our military.
We built on those successes this year by:
Eliminating state taxes on military pay: We made military pay exempt from state taxes for soldiers on active duty in the reserves or National Guard. This tax exemption is retroactive to January 1 of this year.
Preventing “stolen valor”: It is now a serious misdemeanor to impersonate a decorated military veteran with the intent to receive monetary gain, such as a job, promotion or political office.
Protecting veterans from unnecessary fees: Any company or individual that charges a fee to help veterans file benefit appeals is now required to disclose that these services are provided for free at local veterans’ affairs offices.
Helping soldiers go to college: We protected funding for the National Guard Education Assistance program, which helps our soldiers attend Iowa colleges and universities.
Divesting from Iran: We voted to divest public funds from companies doing business in Iran to better prevent Iowa tax dollars from being invested in a country that supports the enemies of the United States.
Establishing Purple Heart Day: August 7 is now officially “Purple Heart Day” in Iowa. State and local governments—and ALL Iowans—are encouraged to honor our military men and women who were killed or wounded in enemy action.
Expanding Injured Veterans Grants: A veteran who previously received an injured veteran’s grant may now be eligible for an additional grant for a subsequent serious injury received in the line of duty.
Protecting posthumously conceived children: When a service member is deployed to a war zone or when a person becomes seriously ill, injuries or treatments could prevent that person from conceiving a child. That’s why a person’s genetic material is sometimes saved by military families for later use. We ensured that children who are conceived using the genetic material of a parent who has died will be considered a legitimate child.
Creating new veterans’ license plates: We established new Iowa license plates honoring recipients of the Combat Infantryman Badge, Combat Action Badge, Combat Action Ribbon, Air Force Combat Action Medal and Combat Medical Badge. Proceeds benefit the Iowa Commission on Veterans Affairs.
These are just a few small ways we are showing appreciation and saying “thank you” to those who’ve served and sacrificed.
AmeriCorps grant gives veterans “green” jobs skills
The Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service has awarded a federal AmeriCorps grant to a new Iowa Department of Natural Resources program that will help put veterans to work. The Iowa Green Veterans AmeriCorps program will help returning veterans in their transition to civilian life while learning new job skills.
From October through March, veterans will learn energy efficiency-related job skills and assist rural, low-income and elderly Iowans in making energy improvements in their homes. From March through September, they’ll help with disaster recovery and stewardship activities in Iowa’s state parks. The goal is to connect military veterans with meaningful employment opportunities in the green jobs economy and natural resources.
Full-time AmeriCorps members receive a modest living allowance and an education award of up to $5,550, which can be used for higher education tuition or loan repayment after completing a full year of service. The DNR’s Veterans Program was awarded $290,000 to support the hiring of 20 veterans for 2011-2012.
To learn more, go here.
Bringing workforce services directly to veterans
The Iowa National Guard and Iowa Workforce Development have partnered to bring workforce services directly to veterans with workforce access points at Iowa armories.
This effort will make career-enhancing resources and job prospects more accessible for our soldiers returning from active duty. Maj. Gen. Tim Orr, Adjutant General of the Iowa National Guard, says that more than 25 percent of those returning from combat in Afghanistan are seeking full-time employment.
The National Guard partnership will add 42 new access point locations for veterans. Services include job search and résumé assistance, unemployment claims and labor market information, educational and veteran specific resources, access to workforce specialists via live chat and more.
Des Moines, IA 50319
2609 Clearview Drive
Burlington, IA 52601
by Ralph Scharnau
We live in a dual economy. On one hand, corporate profits are high, corporate cash holdings are soaring, and income gains are proliferating for the rich. On the other, the working and middle classes experience weak job growth, high levels of unemployment, and declining income.
The Occupy Wall Street movement has tapped into a broad discontent with this economy marked by rising joblessness, poverty, and economic injustice. The movement correctly identifies the 1% of Americans as an oligarchy with income, wealth, and power concentrated in the hands of a small privileged class who now control 42% of the nation’s wealth. The rest of us, 99%, confront varying levels of inequality.
Today, jobs understandably rank as voters’ top concern. A job, after all, is crucial for establishing a person’s sense of security and self-worth, health and safety, and chances to participate in the life of the community.
Today American workers face unprecedented pressure. About 14 million people are out of work, but only half of them receive unemployment insurance and 43% have been unemployed six months or longer. By counting those who are involuntarily part-time and those classified as discouraged, the total unemployed or underemployed rate rises to 25 million workers, or about one-fourth of the workforce.
With the jobless rate hovering just over 9%, the economy is not even creating enough jobs to keep pace with population growth. The average length of time a person who lost a job was unemployed reached 24 weeks during the recession but actually continued to rise to 40 weeks in September, the longest in more than 60 years. Increasingly, American workers are falling prey to “off-loading,” cutting jobs and dumping the work on remaining staff.
Median annual household income declined more during the recovery (since June 2009) than it did during the recession (December 2007 to June 2009). Hourly pay outpaced inflation during the recession but not during the recovery.
And people who lost their jobs have taken pay cuts in order to be hired again. This explains why 8 in 10 people see the recession as ongoing.
A record 46.2 million people live in poverty in the nation today. This means nearly one in six Americans lives below the poverty line of $22,000 for a family of four, including 20% of all children.
The gender wage gap also figures into inequality. Today women are paid an average of 80 cents for every dollar paid to men, but for African-American women, it’s 70 cents and for Latina women, it’s 60 cents.
These grim signs of the devastating effects of the great recession amount to a human crisis that demands action. The most effective way to reduce the deficit is to create jobs. With consumption accounting for nearly 70% of our economy and private sector investment in jobs languishing, we need a major direct public jobs program.
President Obama has suggested a variety of job creation measures. These have been blocked by a Republican Party that offers no actual job creating plans, only tired slogans about cutting taxes, social programs, and regulations which will only grow the deficit and eliminate jobs.
To create jobs, infrastructure spending on highways, bridges, and schools makes sense because of high need and extraordinarily low borrowing costs. To save jobs, we need direct aid to states and municipalities to prevent layoffs.
More jobs mean more consumers spending, more tax revenues, less poverty, and less debt. Thomas Jefferson wrote about our government’s “undiminished devotion” to human rights and the “palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of God.”
Ralph Scharnau teaches U. S. history at Northeast Iowa Community College, Peosta. He holds a Ph.D. from Northern Illinois University. His publications include articles on labor history in Iowa and Dubuque. Scharnau, a peace and justice activist, writes monthly op-ed columns for the Dubuque Telegraph Herald.