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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Press Secretary Gibbs: The best thing we can do for 99ers is create jobs

Robert GibbsImage via Wikipedia
 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
Reach Out Job Search OP/ED

The Obama Administration, after all hopes for a true 99er (unemployed individuals exhausted from all forms of supplemental unemployment compensation) bill in 2010 are lost have finally learned what term 'ninety-niner' means. 

In a December 21st Press Briefing-Secretary Robert Gibbs addressed a reporter’s question directly, about the longest-term job seekers.

Mr. Gibbs, speaking on behalf of President Barack Obama believes the best thing the Democratically-Elected White House could do for 99ers, some of whom have not received any payment assistance since April 2010,  is to create jobs.

Text of the Press Briefing by Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, from 12/21/2010 addressing the 99ers:
 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.

Mr. Gibbs and President Obama, It took your administration eight months to figure this revelation out? Interesting and frankly, insulting to an estimated 6 Million 99ers whom have waited very patiently to hear the White House plans to return them, back to work.

Six months ago, economist Robert J. Shiller wrote that a program, similar to former President Franklin D. Roosevelt Work Administration Program (WAP), should be immediately enacted to address re-employment for the long-term jobless. 

Shiller, a Yale Economic Professor July 31st article in The New York Times, the stated following:
“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.
The Economic Policy Institute, a nonprofit Washington D.C. and economic policy think-tank on issues addressing the interests of low and middle-income workers, crafted a plan on how the White House could implement a job creation program in a October 10th Huffington Post article
“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.”
This was an ‘road-map’ for a real job creation program for the 99ers, President Obama and Mr. Gibbs. 

If the Economic Policy Institute suggestion was introduced in November 30th Obama Tax Cut 'compromise deal' with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on HR-4853, this would a been a great step in creating jobs in this country.

Instead, the administration acted as if the 99ers did not exist, for the past eight months.

On November 10th, the White House via Keep America Working Facebook Page, ask for questions from unemployed job seekers on Obama Administration plans to jumpstart the economy and spur job growth. Janet Ritz, Publisher at the Environmentalist, Huffington Post article on November 30th, addressed President Obama Chief Economic Advisor Austan Gooslbee response to her question regarding the 99ers.
“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.
Here is a link of the of the video response to Ms. Ritz's question, by Austan Gooslbee

Noticed how Mr. Gooslbee said that President Obama was 'laser beamed focused' encouraging the re-training of workers? Really, Mr. Gooslbee? Can you explain what happened to the Obama Tax Law of 2010 with the so-called 'laser focus' to re-train America's 99ers for job opportunities?

Not only were the 99ers left out of the 'compromise deal' but other measures to provide temporary income assistance -S.3706-'Americans Want to Work Act' sponsored by Senator Debbie Stabenow in August 2010- did not make its' way into the discussion room.

'The Americans Want to Work Act measure 'also known as the Tier V bill' would have provided upon to 20 weeks of supplemental income benefit payments to the 99ers. Additionally, the legislation would have provided a $2000 tax credit for private employers to hire the long-term employed, along with the $1000 tax credit provided for in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

Unfortunately, for the 99ers, Senator Stabenow's bill was blocked in a stand-alone filibuster by lame-duck Senator George LeMeiux (R-FL) on September 30th. To date the White House, Press Secretary Gibbs and/or Chief Economic Advisor Gooslbee have stated nothing on record, about the tax credit job incentive S.3706 would have provided, if passed into law.

Vice President Joe Biden was sent over to the U.S. House by President Barack Obama on December 13th -the day after the Senate passed HR-4853 by a 81-19 vote- to inform Democrat Representatives desiring to add amendments to the 'compromise deal', that the legislation was 'take it or leave it', as is. 
 Tuesday, December 7thVice President Biden's Chief Economic Advisor Jared Bernstein acknowledged President Obama 'compromise deal' with Republican Senate Leadership, did nothing to help  99ers'. Bernstein also conceded that job re-training components are needed to assist the 99ers in a interview with CNN Anchor Ali Velshi on December 7th.
"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.
An 11th Hour extension proposal was draft by Congressional Black Caucus Representatives Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Bobby Scott (D-VA) on Friday, December 17th. The measure HR-6556-'The Emergency Unemployment Compensation Expansion Act if passed, would have added 14 weeks to the Tier I Federal Insurance Extension program to all unemployed job seekers.

The House is widely expected to end its' 111th Congressional Session on December 22nd without a vote on Reps. Lee and Scott proposal. Currently, HR-6556 resides within the House Ways and Means Committee, waiting scoring by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). 

For the measure to be enacted into law in the future, HR-6556 would require a re-introduction in the 112th Congress, on or after January 3, 2010, under the control of Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Republican Representatives.

In a December 21st posted video interview with Sirius/WHUR radio at Howard University-Host George Wilson and Crew of 42  Blogger Lauren Burke, Congressman Scott confirmed an attempt to extend payment assistance to 99ers and other unemployed job seekers during House negotiations on HR-6556 was made but, the effort was unsuccessful.

What are your thoughts on this article? Do you believe President Obama and his administration will focus on a job creation program for long-term unemployed 99ers in 2011? Feel free to comment on this story, below!
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