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| Press Secretary Robert Gibbs |
stated in a 12/21 briefing
that the best thing the Obama
Administration could do for
the 99ers is to create jobs
In a December 21st Press Briefing-Secretary Robert Gibbs addressed a reporter’s question directly, about the longest-term job seekers.
Q And then lastly, as you know, there is a group of unemployed who have -- who call themselves the 99ers --
MR. GIBBS: Sure.
Q -- these are individuals who have been -- whose unemployment insurance has run out. They were not included in the deal, the tax deal that the President signed with Mr. McConnell and the Republicans and others. Is there anything that the President can do for them?
MR. GIBBS: Well, I think the best thing that we can do as a country is get a fragile economy more stable and one that creates more jobs. I think that's why I think -- economists said that they would reorient their growth estimates based on the agreement that the President signed. And obviously the best thing we can do for them is to create an environment where businesses are hiring.
Look, we have -- you heard me say on a number of occasions that one of the great benefits of the agreement was taking the politics out of unemployment insurance. We have -- it’s been a contentious battle just to get unemployment insurance to continue up to 99 weeks. It’s not in any way been easy. And this takes the politics out of that throughout 2011 and hopefully we can continue to focus on getting the economy moving again and providing those guys with a helping hand with a job.
“Why not use government policy to directly create jobs — labor-intensive service jobs in fields like education, public health and safety, urban infrastructure maintenance, youth programs, elder care, conservation, arts and letters, and scientific research?", Shiller cited.
'Would this be an effective use of resources? From the standpoint of economic theory, government expenditures in such areas often provide benefits that are not being produced by the market economy,” he wrote.
“If the private sector can’t put people back to work, then the public sector must,”stated in the Economic Policy Institute proposal.
"During the first six to nine months, the program would fund fast-track jobs. This fast-track authority should be carefully defined to prevent abuses. It should be limited to four areas that reflect national priorities and demonstrate a high potential impact for aggregate job creation: neighborhood/community improvement, child health and development, access to public services, and public safety.
Fast-track jobs might include, for example:
cleaning up of abandoned and vacant properties to alleviate blight in distressed and foreclosure-affected neighborhoods;
staffing emergency food programs to reduce hunger and promote family stability;
working in Head Start, child care, and other early childhood education programs to promote school readiness and early literacy;
renovating and maintaining parks, playgrounds, and other public spaces.
After nine months, the program would move into the full implementation phase, and projects would be identified based on a planning process that would involve community input. Priority for funding under the longer-term phase would be given to employment projects that:
integrate education and job skills training, including basic skills instruction and secondary education services;
coordinate to the maximum extent feasible with pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs;
provide jobs in sectors where job growth is most likely and in which career ladders exist to maximize opportunities for long-term, sustainable employment for individuals after program participation.
Jobs would be made available broadly to the unemployed, but local governments would be permitted to target the program to those most in need, such as those unemployed for more than six months or people residing in a high-poverty community.”
“The White House has avoided using the term 99ers. Why? There are millions who've lost their jobs and have exhausted benefits through no fault of their own. How can the economy ever come back if 99ers, many middle-aged middle-class, are kicked farther under the bus”, Ritz wrote.
"Ads say: no unemployed need apply. Age discrimination is rampant and obvious. Mortgage companies will not modify for the unemployed. Even if you get the economy going, how many millions will be forced into poverty that would otherwise be the bulwark of democracy if they were helped now?” Ritz inquired.
"Well look, I think someone that experienced that extensive length of long-term unemployment they absolutely need help. I think they help they need most, is some type of structural training or something to help them get back into the workforce”, Bernstein stated .
"Because I think the case is that they need some type of skill enhancement. That is obviously a huge part of our agenda, not part of this agreement", Bernstein stated.