Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Where's the Jobs?

You know the economic happy dance over at the 24 Ho'er News Channel?

The problem with this scenario is that there are no facts to back it up. The closer you look at employment in this country, the more convinced you become that the condition of the ordinary worker is deteriorating, not improving.

The problem is that we are not creating many jobs, and the quality of those we are creating is, for the most part, not good. Job growth at the moment is about 80,000 per month, which is not even enough to cover the new workers entering the job market.

And when the Economic Policy Institute compared the average wage of industries that are creating jobs with those that are losing jobs, analysts found a big discrepancy. The jobs lost paid about $17 an hour, compared with $14.50 an hour for those being created.

The Bush administration and its corporate allies give the impression that they would welcome a big surge in employment that would raise the wages and quality of life for all working Americans and their families. But their policies tell an entirely different story. A fierce and bitter war — not bloody like the war in Iraq, but a war just the same — is being waged against American workers. And so far, at least, the Bush administration has been on the wrong side.

The war is being fought on several fronts. For example, after years of shipping manufacturing jobs out of the U.S. to absurdly low-wage venues, we are now also exporting increasing numbers of technical and professional jobs.

Another example: Despite the loss of more than two million jobs over the past three years, and the fact that nearly nine million Americans are officially unemployed, the Bush administration has refused to support a Christmastime extension of crucial unemployment benefits.

Worse, the administration is trying to implement a regulation that would deny overtime protection for more than eight million men and women.

Efforts to get an increase in the pathetic $5.15 minimum wage continue to fail. The benefits from productivity increases that have resulted primarily from an incredible squeeze that employers have put on workers are not being shared with workers. Health and pension benefits are in a downward spiral.

And so on.


Like a half-forgotten ad pitch, the jobless recovery is the Latest Blast from the Past from the Bush and the Iran-Contra Cowboys.

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