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Long-term unemployment graph 2012
As I pointed out Monday, two million Americans will lose their federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits on Dec. 29 if Congress doesn't act. But the situation is actually worse than that. Another million will subsequently lose benefits in the first quarter of 2013, 400,000 of them in January alone, says the National Employment Law Project. In addition, if the unemployment rate does not fall sharply, another two million out-of-work Americans will not be able to collect federal benefits next year. Altogether, five million workers who would have received federal benefits will not.

There is also one more stinger, according to the Economic Policy Institute. If unemployment insurance benefits are not extended, it will cost the nation hundreds of thousands of jobs:

Spending $30 billion on unemployment benefit extensions in 2013 would increase consumer spending and expand GDP by an estimated $48 billion, raising our $15.8 trillion GDP by roughly 0.3 percent. This increase in economic activity would translate into roughly 400,000 jobs. In comparison, continuing the upper-income Bush-era tax cuts in 2013 would cost $52 billion—nearly 75 percent more than continuing the UI extensions—and generate just 102,000 jobs, nearly 75 percent fewer jobs than the number created by continuing the UI extensions.
Behind all those numbers are individuals. Millions are people who are paying their bills—some of their bills, at least—because they had work but can't find any now and are getting jobless benefits until they do. In other words, people hanging on by the skin of their teeth and a weekly government check. Hundreds of thousands have jobs, even if not the best-paying jobs in our low-wage economy, because the recipients of those checks are spending money in businesses that wouldn't otherwise be there or at least wouldn't have hired as many workers.

Unemployment insurance has been with us in all 50 states and the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico since the New Deal. It's a joint federal-state program funded by payroll taxes. For more than half a century, each state set the normal duration of benefits paid out at 26 weeks. Since 1958, during recessions, Congress has enacted additional benefit weeks, "emergency" extensions. In the case of the most recent downturn, total benefits boosted by emergency extensions in the hardest hit states totaled 99 weeks. A budget deal in February reduced that to a state-federal maximum of 73 weeks. In most states, it's considerably less than that based on the local unemployment rate, in some places as low as an extra 14 weeks.

Because long-term unemployment levels have soared to a post-Depression record in the recession that began in December 2007, many out-of-work Americans, many as in millions, have exhausted their regular state benefits, the state-federal extensions and the federally funded emergency extensions. But if Congress doesn't act, those millions are going to have a bunch of company:

Not only is the unemployment rate more than 40 percent higher today than when the EUC program was first enacted, the crisis of long-term unemployment is also far more severe. In June 2008, about 18 percent of the unemployed were considered long-term unemployed, that is, out of work for more than six months. By contrast, today, an astounding 40.6 percent of all jobless workers (5.0 million people) are long-term unemployed. And this figure has improved only slightly since the last time Congress reauthorized EUC in February 2012. At that time, 5.4 million workers were long-term unemployed, representing 42.6 percent of all the unemployed.
Why? Because, by the latest count, there are still 3.4 job-seekers for every job opening.

(Continue reading below the fold.)

In the past half-century, emergency extensions have never been axed when the official unemployment rate was above 7.2 percent. It's now 7.9 percent and unlikely to fall below the previous cut-off point before mid-2013 at the earliest. If the EUC program is not extended, only about one-in-four out-of-work Americans will receive unemployment insurance, a record low for the current level of joblessness. That means nine million of the 12 million now officially unemployed would not be covered. Of course, many people now out of work weren't covered to begin with. Even at the peak of the Great Recession, only 75 percent of the jobless were covered. Today, it's about 40 percent.

The Congressional Research Service recently calculated that 26 million Americans, that is, workers and their families, benefited from UI payments in 2011. As a result, 2.3 million people, a fourth of them children, were lifted out of poverty, a greater impact than in the 1991 and 2001 recessions.

Every time Congress considers an extension of UI benefits, several Republicans toss out criticisms, which, boiled down, amount to: unemployment compensation makes people lazy; they would find jobs if they weren't paid to lay around. In fact, as Lawrence Mishel and Heidi Shierholz at EPI point out, in the most thorough study of the matter (conducted by Jesse Rothstein), only a tiny fraction of the unemployment rate can be attributed to UI benefit extensions.

One more matter of importance: While the 2013 cost of extending benefits is estimated at $30 billion, $18 billion of that would be recovered from the taxes paid and the lowered government spending needed as a consequence of having those 400,000 jobs that wouldn't otherwise be there if the unemployed had no UI money to spend.

NELP wisely recommends doing more than merely holding the line. An October briefing paper, Time to Re-Invest in the Public Employment Service, proposes spending $1.6 billion on one-stop centers for jobless Americans. These would offer expanded job listings, interviewing an additional 1.5 million workers to set them up with a job-search plan, providing an additional 1.5 million with "high-quality job search assistance"—particularly people likely to exhaust their UI benefits soon—and pre-training counseling for another million.

However, implementing these proposals and extending UI benefits, would be mere palliatives. Not unimportant, to be sure. But they only affect acute problems. What's needed in addition is attention paid, serious attention, to the chronic problems that existed before the Great Recession—and contributed to exacerbating it.

What are some elements of a blueprint for remedying those chronic problems? An industrial plan, a permanent (as opposed to ad hoc) government program that provides classroom and on-the-job training to Americans having trouble finding work, and a focus on the plague of low wages. Mere tinkering in the midst of extended economic pain is inexcusable.

Just passing the palliatives, however, will require a battle given the make-up of the current Congress. Working on those chronic problems will require not just overturning the GOP majority in the House but replacing those Republicans with dependable Democrats. As we know all too well, some don't fit the bill.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 05:55 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos Economics and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  And beyond unemployment... (17+ / 0-)

    Also, the media applauds people getting jobs. But if those jobs are for minimum wage, does the media promote any understanding of what that means? We could, in this country, have 0% unemployment but still possess a rampant and nationally embarrassing crisis of transient housing and mass childhood disadvantage. That's the nature of our labor market right now.

    So are we, as a country, about celebrating work? Or are we trying to promote well-being? Is it about abstract numbers, or about some single mother raising kids on $14,500 a year? Is it about just having people act as cogs in a machine or about people's well-being?

    Unemployment benefits are crucial towards bridging the gap, but for God's sake can't we as a country agree that if we're going to value work, we can value work?

    It's not like the solution to all this is unknown.

    it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses

    by Addison on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 06:54:58 PM PST

    •  seems to me it's a country celebrating dreams (6+ / 0-)

      about having work and working hard for those who have neither work nor dreams of work left.

      •  I work damn hard and consider myself (8+ / 0-)

        lucky in many ways. One of them is giving a shit about someone less fortunate and being willing to share.
        It's hard enough being unemployed, especially during these times of no corporate loyalty.
        If you're a company cutting costs, you pick someone who has been there long enough to be paid a higher rate than an entry level salary, has an employer paid pension fund and health benefits. Get rid of them for a kid right out of school, who's panicking because their student loan payments are kicking in, offer a rock bottom salary and voila', you have a loyal cheap wage slave.
        Meanwhile the laid off employee is faced with worrying if the unemployment is going to run out along with trying to keep his/her head above water.
        I like the idea of one-stop Public Unemployment Service with no expiration of unemployment benefits and real training and counseling.
        Why should we pick an arbitrary figure of 7.3% unemployment that signals a stop to extensions. The more people employed, the more the insurance is funded.

        "If you tell the truth, you won't have to remember anything", Mark Twain

        by Cruzankenny on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 07:30:34 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  This is heartbreaking. I swear I don't understand (11+ / 0-)

    how people can survive this. Either the unemployment benefit has to be extended or some other program has to invented to take its place.

    Eliminate tax breaks that stimulate the offshoring of jobs.

    by RJDixon74135 on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 06:55:46 PM PST

  •  It's called civilization. (5+ / 0-)

    To be civilized is to be socialized.
    Socialism is civilization.
    Civilization is socialism.

  •  So, extending unemployment benefits... (13+ / 0-)

    will essentially prevent the loss of more jobs... which in turn would prevent more families from falling into poverty.

    Why is this even a question?

    I'm going to start referring to the GOP as the Whig party. (just to remind them of their coming fate)

    "That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history." ~ Aldous Huxley

    by markthshark on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 07:18:56 PM PST

  •  I agree. Here's an idea: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sebastianguy99, OooSillyMe

    After the permanent 99 weeks are up, a person then gets referred to some sort of public agency that will place a worker with a company.  No matter where.  If a relocation is needed, said agency would help secure moving and living quarters.  Until the person is placed, said person would have to go through a slightly more rigorous benefit approval process each week.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 07:21:51 PM PST

    •  Here, here! (0+ / 0-)

      Let's be as serious about unemployment as seems to be case with the self-inflicted "fiscal cliff".

      "There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.".. Buddha

      by sebastianguy99 on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 08:18:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  No. Relocation removes them (8+ / 0-)

      from a support system. From a community and culture that they understand.

      Along with that- what if they own? Upside down? Could not possibly sell for anything reasonable?

      Do they have family, friends, community that they significantly support in non-monetary ways? Move them farther away from their kids, when they are non-custodial but regularly visit, for example? From elderly parents they check on and support their independence?

      Yes it needs to be available, even encouraged, but it should NOT be required if its creating worse hardship or setting them up for failure trying to adapt.

      I am much too liberal to be a Democrat.

      by WiseFerret on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 06:59:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Relocation is the best option. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        johnny wurster

        There's no amount of job training that can overcome an area not having any new jobs.  Workers need to be where the work is.

        •  Workers need to be where they can take care of (5+ / 0-)

          their families.  Wiseferret is right. Getting a job and destroying your family is not a win for the person or for the country.

          LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

          by dinotrac on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 07:08:52 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Where are these places with a shortage of jobs? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          stormicats

          The recession is nationwide, if not global.  Are we really supposed to believe that 8% unemployment is caused by too many people living near Cleveland?  Even if there were places with labor shortages, moving people from place to place does not address the fundamental problem.

          To believe that markets determine value is to believe that milk comes from plastic bottles. Bromley (1985)

          by sneakers563 on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 08:52:44 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  My wife could take a job in Boston (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          stormicats

          tomorrow. BUt we live in NJ, and I have 24 years into my pension at my current job, have disabilities and can't work and care for the kids both, can't start over in my job in another state ( public employee ) and we need all the help we can get from her sisters here. So relocation is off the table. She has had 3 interviews in 6 months. She does cancer research. Apparently there isn't a great need for this, or for scientists, in the job market. In fact, the NYT ran an article quoting people from her former company who were advising their own kids to stay out of science as a career.

  •  This is why talk of long-term debt, (6+ / 0-)

    at a time when the country needs investments in it's people and infrastructure, is mind-numbing.

    Cutting benefits now is both cruel and unjustified.

    "The human eye is a wonderful device. With a little effort, it can fail to see even the most glaring injustice." Richard K. Morgan

    by sceptical observer on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 07:40:37 PM PST

  •  Neither candidate had much substantively to say (5+ / 0-)

    ...about putting people back to work and how much it would cost.

    It almost feels as if there has been some type of agreement to write-off the unemployed, especially the long-term and hard to place unemployed.

    I look at the demographics of the coalition and see groups that are suffering with high unemployment. If the Democratic Party is serious about standing up for the Middle Class and being fiscally responsible, then they have to address these problems. They certainly will be hard-pressed to hold their coalition together if they abandon people.

    "There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.".. Buddha

    by sebastianguy99 on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 08:24:37 PM PST

    •  you noticed that too.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      George Hier

      The structural part of unemployment is less related to whether the economy is improving or how fast...it is much more related to the transformation of our economy by global trade.  The recession exacerbated that, but isn't IMO the fundamental problem.
      Neither Party has much of a plan, because both are absolutely married to the economic policies which fostered the flight of capital investment to China and other cut rate labor markets.

      Oregon: Sure...it's cold. But it's a damp cold.

      by Keith930 on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 07:24:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  H1B visas (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TracieLynn, dinotrac

    So why are we handing out all these H1B visas when we have so many unemployed citizens?

    Couldn't citizens learn how to do the jobs that the H1B visa holders do?

    What's going to happen to the unemployed when there are several million more workers who can apply for the same jobs?

    •  For Twenty Years Now We Have Been Told (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Utahrd, wbr, George Hier

      That these are jobs that "American's can't do" just as for twenty years we have been told by both political parties that we need to 'educate more scientists and engineers' real soon now

      Characteristics of H-1B Specialty Occupation Workers

      * The number of H-1B petitions filed increased eight percent from 247,617 in FY 2010 to 267,654 in FY 2011.

      * The number of H-1B petitions approved increased almost 40 percent from 192,990 in FY 2010 to 269,653 in FY 2011. 1

      * Approximately 58 percent of all H-1B petitions approved in FY 2011 were for workers born in India.

      * Over two-thirds of H-1B petitions approved in FY 2011 were for workers between the ages of 25 and 34.

      * Forty-one percent of H-1B petitions approved in FY 2011 were for workers with a bachelor’s degree, forty-two percent had a master’s degree, eleven percent had a doctorate, and 5 percent were for workers with a professional degree.

      * About 51 percent of H-1B petitions approved in FY 2011 were for workers in computer- related occupations.

      * The median salary of beneficiaries of approved petitions increased to $70,000 in FY 2011, $2,000 more than in FY 2010.

      H1B visa 2013 fee
      Base filing fee   $325

      AICWA Fee

      (American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act of 1998)    $750 to $1,500

      Fraud prevent & detection fee   $500

      Fee based on Public Law 111 – 230   $2000

      Read H1B fee $2000 rule to check if it applies to your case
      Premium processing fee (Optional)   $1,225

      Funny that nobody asks where these fees go.

      I won't be coming home tonight, my generation will put it right - Genesis 9:3

      by superscalar on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 06:24:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  figures you'd crawl out (0+ / 0-)

        you are not going to happy this coming year.

        -You want to change the system, run for office.

        by Deep Texan on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 06:30:30 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  $70k? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wbr

        Wait, are people still claiming that H1-B holders are paid way below what American workers would be paid?

        •  This Is The Median Wage (0+ / 0-)

          50% of all H-1B visa holders are paid below this wage. Additionally there are lots of other benefits an employer gains from hiring an H-1B.

          The visa is tied to the employment which makes asking for a raise an interesting process, an employer can get rid of those pesky older workers, the H-1B visa holder cannot change employers, etc.

          Actually, the L-1, B-1, and OPT, are much more pernicious.

          I won't be coming home tonight, my generation will put it right - Genesis 9:3

          by superscalar on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 07:47:28 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Actually, yes. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          George Hier

          The H1-B workers tend to displace highly skilled and experienced workers.  In the computer industry, top level architects and the like earn considerably more than $70k.

          LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

          by dinotrac on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 07:10:43 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  MB, thanks for writing about this (10+ / 0-)

    apparently largely-forgotten aspect of the "sequester" agreement enacted last year.  I am personally affected by this cut-off, and am looking at taking retirement years before I planned to because no one is hiring people that look over 50 and I have to have some kind of income.  I am obviously better off than many, since I could retire if I'm forced to, and many are not old enough to do that.  I've been waiting for someone to bring this issue to the attention of the public and have been holding my breath that any deal reached in the "fiscal cliff" negotiation will include a restoration of Federal Extention for unemployment benefits.

    A closed mind believes the future and the present will be the same, attempting to counteract an underlying fear that the future will be worse than the present, which inhibits the tendency to question at all. (Paraphrasing "A Course in Miracles.")

    by ceebee7 on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 12:02:38 AM PST

  •  why that would just be a gift (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chuckvw

    like free health care
    free condoms
    free education

    you know, you would think they would realize that we're going to kick their ass all up and down the street in the future.

    -You want to change the system, run for office.

    by Deep Texan on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 06:28:00 AM PST

  •  It's all so fancy talk, I can't follow, but ... (5+ / 0-)

    ... it's beyond me why the public healthcare option, whereby businesses are not burdened providing private health insurance packages to their employees, is not fought for tooth and nails.

    If there were a public health insurance mandatory to participate in for every American, costs for small business owners would go down, wouldn't it? So it should be an incentive for more people to run their own small businesses if they were relieved from the burden to provide the healthcare package, shouldn't it?

    Why is it that any small retail business ends up either closing down or becoming a corporate chain?

    Imagine every Starbucks store, would be owned by an independent owner instead of some corporation? Berlin in Germany used to have hundreds to thousands small corner pubs, hundreds of small butcher, bakeries, groceries and bookstores, individually owned, giving some family financial security and a dignified livelihood.

    New York city had them, imagine you HAD to buy your books in independent bookstores around the corner in your neighborhood. What's wrong with that?

    Imagine the zoning regulations would be loosened and you were allowed to open up your small mom and pop store within your residential neighborhood and offer people to walk to their stores instead of driving to them.

    I can't help it, but I believe that the internet technology has been a blessing on the communication front to exchange knowledge, but a curse to independently owned real life local businesses that couldn't survive against the large online corporate entities killing every competition and diversification of small businesses.

    •  I blame Democrats for that. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      George Hier

      Not selling the idea, that is.

      Admittedly, it is not generally in the Democratic mind-set to  care about things that are good for business, but this is a time when Republicans didn't and wouldn't step up.

      A rational health care system that doesn't rely on the employment relationship is a much better fit for the American economy -- one where workers change jobs frequently for a variety of reasons.

      LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

      by dinotrac on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 07:13:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Nothing less than Trickle-Up Economics™ (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chuckvw

    Trickle down has been a total and complete failure.

    The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

    by xxdr zombiexx on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 07:03:24 PM PST

    •  There's nothing wrong with trickle down, so long (0+ / 0-)

      as you remember the true source of wealth: all of those people out there buying incredible accumulated piles of things, doing incredible accumulated tasks, etc.

      Everything that trickles down has to work it's way up first.

      LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

      by dinotrac on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 07:15:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Trickle down never worked. It was a lie. (0+ / 0-)

        If it worked we'd be talking about different things now.

        The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

        by xxdr zombiexx on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 03:45:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's always worked and it isn't a lie. (0+ / 0-)

          It is basic economics.  If there was ever any real intention to provide stimulus with the "stimulus" package, it was based on trickle down.

          The problem with the one-dimensional trickle-down that some people like to promote is that it doesn't work by itself.

          Yes -- when wealthy people buy things, start businesses, invest, etc, the benefits trickle down to the people who make, transport, and sell things as well as the people who get employed in those businesses, but...

          you can't move the economy forward by seeding the wealthy.
          There aren't enough of them to carry the economy on the weight of their purchase of goods and services, and no incentive to invest if there are no customers for businesses.

          The right way to get trickle down is for people to get wealthy serving the needs of a population that has sufficient economic capacity to buy their goods and services.

          LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

          by dinotrac on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 05:46:45 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Check out yesterday in Europe (N14) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chuckvw

    for the direction that gutting unemployment funding could take us.  Probably won't. we're Americans after all;  but could!

    Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?

    by ActivistGuy on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 07:10:09 PM PST

  •  Here's another thing: Those checks pay insurance (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chuckvw, tardis10, wbr

    I'm newly unemployed, so recent that I haven't even received my first unemployment check yet.  But when they finally start coming, more than half of what I get per month is going to go toward my COBRA payment.

    I'd like to stimulate the economy more, but instead I'll be helping Anthem/Blue Cross executives take home their bonuses.  I can't go uninsured, though I'm definitely shopping around for a better option.  But you know, pre-existing conditions etc... not gonna be cheap.

    •  I couldn't afford COBRA (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lineatus

      I've been on unemployment since mid-August...the bene's down here in FL are laughable & the job market would make you cry! At 50, things are quite dismal...I'm starting to really worry.

      ...inspiration moves me brightly

      by wbr on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 11:55:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Mine ran out a few months ago (6+ / 0-)

    I get a few hours temping now and then, but my "retirement" savings are almost gone. At 62, the hope of finding an fte job with benefits is increasingly fleeting.

    If they raise the medicare age, it will be yet another nail in the coffin. As the middle class shrinks, it becomes increasingly more cost effective to "care" about it.

    And, of course, the poor remain invisible to both parties.



    Those who do not move, do not notice their chains. Rosa Luxemburg

    by chuckvw on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 07:12:35 PM PST

  •  I'm scared to death (7+ / 0-)

    being one of those 2 million. I have zero resources beyond the end of the year. I have been looking for work just over a year. And I'd like to tell Romney to his face, "go fuck yourself, how dare you call us lazy, you self-centered over privileged MF'er".

    I'd much rather be working, as I'm sure the 99.9999% of unemployed would.

    To surrender to ignorance and call it God has always been premature, and it remains premature today. Isaac Asimov

    by Kairos on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 07:16:19 PM PST

  •  There's something else we could do (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Keith930, wbr, George Hier

    but no one in Congress has the political will to do it, given what neoliberals nearly all of them are now.

    We need to bring back punitive import tariffs, stat.

    I'm so over free trade it's not funny.  Even Krugman, the hero economist of the center-left, is pro-free-trade, completely missing the irony.  We have zero protection for home industries and we must import products we could have made here if not for the slave labor in China running us into the ground marketwise.

    (Not to mention the lax environmental regulations everywhere U.S. factories have relocated, another major reason they did relocate.  No more Rachel Carson books or Erin Brokovich lawsuits.)

    Having strong import tariffs does three things:

    1.  Relocates industry to this country, where it can hire Americans and American residents subject to United States labor laws;

    2.  Potentially cuts far back on fossil fuel waste since goods wouldn't have to move as far; and

    3.  Gets at least the worst of industrial environmental abuses under control.

    (I say "potentially" on item 2 because I've heard conflicting numbers on this.  But I suspect a lot of the wastage of fuel on this side of the pond would be solved if we placed more emphasis on train transport and less on trucking.  The thousands of new jobs brought here by industry would more than offset the trucker jobs lost.)

    Now this will necessitate us getting out of all our various trade agreements.  I have no idea what legalities are involved with that but what will the WTO do, send an army after us?  Bring it.  I think everyone else would be relieved we were no longer abusing their work force.  It is not like they can't set up their own industries.  Believe it or not, we're not the world's mommy, and they don't need us to rescue their economies and democracies and every other little thing.

    In fact I seem to recall some nation or other in SE Asia doing something like this on their own turf:  introducing strong tariffs, and winding up with a far healthier economy than our own.  South Korea, maybe?

    That's what'll save us.  The United States government is so far in the hole right now because never before in our nation's history has it relied so heavily upon income tax as a revenue source.  Historically, it relied as much or more on import tariffs.  Now that that's all gone it has to tax hell out of the populace.  I know the high-earners can handle it to a certain extent, but maybe we could calm everybody down and quit yelling at one another so much if we could take some of the pressure off of them.  And we could cut middle-class taxes quite a bit too.

    It's win-win all around as far as I'm concerned.  The only ones that would lose would be the neoliberals and who cares about them anyway?  There will be more than enough jobs at that point that they can each get one of their own.  This is planet Earth, not a Wall Street casino, and they are NOT entitled to our collective wealth.

  •  Comments on the concluding paragraphs: (0+ / 0-)
    An industrial plan, a permanent (as opposed to ad hoc) government program that provides classroom and on-the-job training to Americans having trouble finding work,
    Might be some benefit in that but the reality is people can already do most of the jobs out there, it's that they're being shipped off to foreign countries because Dollar is God.

    Trained or not, for the most part these jobs keep getting shipped away until there's a global equilibrium of wages. Meaning we'll have jobs back here when Big Money's wish to pay as little as possible for those jobs -- with us "being competitive" on the international market. At a certain point, you're best area for profit is in cheap labor.

    Those who've read their Howard Zinn know that the main reason for the South's succession was because their elites had a vision of an enslaved Caribbean plus all land South-of-the-Border. Slaves are your cheapest labor, there's no way around that. And there's a lot of people who never really gave up on that.

    Just passing the palliatives, however, will require a battle given the make-up of the current Congress. Working on those chronic problems will require not just overturning the GOP majority in the House but replacing those Republicans with dependable Democrats. As we know all too well, some don't fit the bill.
    2014, and possession of both Chambers, will only be attained according to the degree by which the Party clearly and unequivocally stands up for the people...

    ...which means AGAINST Republicans. Pretend for a moment that seeking compromise isn't just plain doofus-level politics, there's just no reason to fail to distinguish ourselves from the voters. That the recent election was even relatively close given the Republicans actual positions and goals bespeaks of a major failure to been seen representing ordinary people. This has to change if we are going to get anywhere.


    The Internet is just the tail of the Corporate Media dog.

    by Jim P on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 07:43:21 PM PST

  •  I'm sure the favored response of the ... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wbr, shypuffadder

    ...capitalist (hard work always gets results) crowd would be something like 'you're not going to get us to pay more taxes to support all those lazy-freeloading-dependent on hand-outs 47%ers'.  Even if the job demand exceeds the supply...and even though providing extended Federal unemployment insurance does in and of itself increase more economic activity then it takes away...these dipshit ignoramuses still are focused on making POTUS Obama fail...and to hell with the misery their actions will cause hundreds of thousands of Americans that truly want to work...have to work or they lose everything.  G*d damn these greedy sob's. just saying

    Our nations quality of life is based on the rightousness of its people.

    by kalihikane on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 08:00:30 PM PST

  •  We should pass an infrastructure bill (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wbr, shypuffadder

    ASAP. This is work that is crying to be done, and we have millions of workers crying for jobs. By infrastructure, I include basic research and education.

    Paying for it is easy in principle, but politically very difficult. We need to raise taxes on those who have more. I would set the threshold much lower than the $250k figure Obama has talked about, perhaps as low as $100k.

    But however it is financed, the task of putting people to work is approaching crisis mode. Once people are employed, five very important things happen.

    1 - Their lives are made immeasurably better.
    2 - The start to pay taxes instead of collecting unemployment (and other) benefits.
    3 - They buy stuff, which boosts other employment. (Multiplier effect)
    4 - As unemployment goes down, the clout of workers goes up. Employers would no long hold the upper hand.
    5 - The work that they do will fuel prosperity in the future. A modern infrastructure, a better educated workforce, better science--all these will increase our net wealth.

    This is the way the so-called "job creators" can actually create jobs--by paying higher taxes that can finance infrastructure/education/research.

    I spent only 13 minutes at the polling place. I got off Scott free. -7.25, -6.21

    by Tim DeLaney on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 09:10:44 PM PST

  •  there's more to the story than unemployment (0+ / 0-)

    the janitors in our schools were outsourced; from the board of ed to the township public works dept....one janitor told me he went from 50k to 28k and is now on food stamps to feed his family, all this due to Christie's school aid cuts, so that millionaires would not flee NJ if they didn't get a tax cut. And that bastard is getting kudos for showing a shred of humanity during a natural disaster. By the way, some of these janitors lost property during the storm, for good measure.

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