Reposted from:
A recent NY Times Op Ed by Bob Herbert, July 10, 2009, has set off a series of demands that there is no time to wait for our own government to become the employer of last resort. “Last resort” time period has arrived. For example, with Michigan unemployed well above its last figure of 12.9% and other hard hit states in the same crisis; and with double digit unemployment very soon becoming the national figure, our federal government must immediately jump into the fray.

Both Herbert and Paul Krugman, the left-liberal columnists of the Times, have been chastising the Obama Administration for not being more aggressive given the economic and financial crisis gripping our country. But, columnists can only report what they see and recommend policy actions. Congressional policy leaders will take note and then discard the paper in the trash can. It is up to peoples organization to bring the mass action
where it belongs.

The green shoots of economic rebound that are often referred to have been discounted by everyone, and even by President Obama himself. The Administration has even said the unemployment rate will get higher.

Factor into that actual unemployment figures the tens of thousands of unemployed who have given up seeking work and that low double digit figure goes close to 15%. Right now they are not even counted in the current 9 plus percent.

This BLOG, “Jobs or Income Now”, sets the framework for mass action. Putting a human face on the staggering ravages of unemployment is necessary. Maximum use of the Blog can bring home those stark realities.

Triggering Mechanisms

Clearly, the Administration and Congress needs to immediately set up a triggering mechanism that will set off the government becoming the employer of last resort. Yes, just like in the 1930s when the WPA was started.

The first trigger could be the 13% level of unemployment in a State. Then the figure should be reduced to 12%, 11% and 10%.

Unemployment Compensation

At the same time, Congress must extend unemployment compensation to make sure that those on unemployment insurance will continue to receive their benefits for another 26 weeks. This should not wait until the last moment which only increases the stress people are facing.

Permanent Government Jobs?

President Obama has said that any federally financed job programs will not be permanent. By saying that there is recognition that the federal government must start employing the unemployed immediately. He then said that those same jobs must become private sectors jobs as quickly as possible. This is an arguable point.

What would be wrong with our own government doing the construction work on the highways, bridges and roads; as well as, in the public transportation system? Also, employing artists, writers and other creative people to document the suffering taking place across the country would be necessary to counter the right wing/Republican denigration of these efforts. This is exactly what happened during the 1930s when the right wing attacked FDR and Congress for these programs. They were turned back by the various photographic, artistic and related programs that brought home the human suffered requiring action on the part of our government.

Union Jobs at Livable Wages

The federal government being the employer would certainly be the most economic way to proceed. It would also bring those workers into the American Federation of Government Employees [AFGE] where they can have a grievance procedure to protect their working rights as well as health and pension benefits.

Giving money to construction companies on a sub-contracting basis just adds to the cost and far less work would be done; and workers employed would be far less. There is a good chance, also, that these jobs will not be union jobs.

This Blog can do a lot to spread the word.