Tuesday, January 14, 2014


  Two more blogs from the Lion:

The last couple of weeks have been spent reading wrap-ups on 2013 and looks forward at 2014.  Economists are taking polls about how much the economy will grow...stocks will rise...what bond prices and commodity futures will look like.  Pundits are commenting on the civil war in Syria, Iran's nuclear program and whether there can be a peace treaty between the Israelis and the Palestinians.  China appears to be flexing its muscles and there is a call for a reassessment of America's role in the Middle East and foreign policy in general.  Crystal balls are being polished and rubbed as cognoscenti opine on how many cars will be sold, and homes purchased, and big oil companies are pushing to lift the restrictions which prohibit them from exporting domestic oil.  (more on that later)  We are told Congress has to deal with extending long-term unemployment benefits and food stamps, the military budget and all the appropriation bills.  No where, in all the reading I have done, does anyone talk about the elephant in the room...we needs jobs.

     There are not enough jobs and the jobs that are available do not pay enough.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Standard and Poor's 500 hit record highs in 2013 and are projected to continue to rise in 2014.  Corporate profits are through the roof.  Initial public offerings, like Twitter, are skyrocketing and merger and acquisition activity is more intense than it has been for years.  The top 1% of earners have seen their wealth increase year over year as the gap between them and everyone else continues to grow.  Yet, where are the jobs?  Where are the wages?  Where are the benefits for the average, gum-chewing working American?

     The new mayor of New York ran on a platform about a tale of two cities.  John Edwards tried to do the same thing on a national scale.  The mayor succeeded but Edwards failed.  Why?  Perhaps Edwards was ahead of his time.  New polls suggest Americans are finally waking up to the fact some people are doing very well at the expense of everyone else.

     Have you read a single piece on what Congress will do to increase jobs?  Not one of the agenda items for the 2014 session, as of now, focuses on job creation.  President Obama says he will spend the rest of his second term focusing on combating income inequality, but offers no specifics.  We are told this whole congressional session will be concentrating on positioning both parties for the mid-term elections in November.  Screw the mid-term elections.  The party that creates jobs should get everyone's vote and the other suffers the loss of political power.

     Anytime in the next 6-8 months you hear a politician speak on a subject, ask yourself what it has to do with creating jobs.  Immigration reform?  What jobs will it create other than those for border and prison guards?  Raising the debt ceiling?  How does this create jobs?  Reduce the deficit?  Show me the jobs it creates.  Taxes?  If taxes go up on the rich how will this create new jobs?  No one should get away with a public appearance without being asked about jobs.

     Jobs, as a topic, by necessity also raise questions about wages, benefits, medical coverage, housing costs, day-care access and more.  If the Affordable Care Act accomplishes its goal, medical coverage will not be able to held hostage any more for employees.  Workers won't have to choose between a raise or an increase in their health insurance premium.  If...
IF there is no clear connection, other than trickle-down theories, between deficit reduction and jobs, ignore it.  If you get a chance to go to a town hall meeting, or decide to write or tweet or email your representative, the topic should be jobs, what they are doing to create them and why are they wasting their time on anything else?

     There are things which could be done right now if we are so inclined.  First, create the 2014 versions of the W.P.A. (Works Progress Administration) and the C.C.C. (Civilian Conservation Corps).  State and federal governments should announce a hiring call.  Anyone who wants a job will be hired.  (with proper vetting, of course, as we don't want felons and former criminals to be working)  This is counterintuitive, but listen.  Hire everyone.  See how many people you have.  Pay them a living wage.  (can you imagine the impact on young people if they knew there was a job for them right now?)  Give them free passes on mass transit where possible...or give them a bike or scooter.  Now start finding things for them to do.  Everything from filling in potholes, (which most cities cannot afford to do these days) to cleaning parks or building new ones.  No more talk of " shovel ready" projects.  Hire and then come up with jobs for them to do.  Is there anyone reading this who couldn't come up with 100 needs which could be filled by this workforce?  Second, require testing and skills assessment of anyone hired and if remedial education is required then add funding to community colleges for literacy, math skills, writing and anything else considered a priority.  Of course, you would need to hire more teachers...oops more jobs.  Third, work out a deal with the trade unions.  Pay them to expand apprenticeship programs for anyone under 30.  Plumbing, electrical, carpentry and other unions could train, and pay while being trained, a whole generation of skilled trade people...(oh btw it is predicted the nation is going to have a huge shortage of such workers over the next 20 years) Pass legislation giving union workers first dibs on new construction and other jobs if their union participates in this idea.  Finally, make college free.  (at least at state institutions)  Offer admissions to anyone who qualifies.  Wave their tuition if they enter majors which will add jobs or which will be necessary for future jobs.

     This list does not even begin to exhaust all the possibilities.  Its purpose is to stimulate more thoughts and perhaps you can come up with more examples of ways to create more jobs.  (please !)

     The gap between the rich and poor is not what we should worry about.  The shrinking middle class should care the hell out of everyone in this nation.  We need working Americans.  It is the most important national security issue we face (thank you National Security Agency).  A strong America can never be defeated by terrorism or international adversaries.  America can only be destroyed from within.  (something Osama bin Laden realized and proved after September 11th.)  If your public leaders are not talking about jobs, they are more traitorous than Edward Snowden and willing to create more fear and hatred than any terrorist.


  1. You got it Bernie! The jobs question is the US's third rail. It's not just economics. People generally like to work, especially if it's something that gives them satisfaction and dignity. If all of our teenagers could be offered training and jobs early on many of our social problems would be diminished.
    Can't wait until you get released this year, when we can hear more of your cogent comments! Venceremos!

  2. That last paragraph should read "scare the hell out of....". :)

  3. "First, create the 2014 versions of the W.P.A. (Works Progress Administration) and the C.C.C. (Civilian Conservation Corps). State and federal governments should announce a hiring call. Anyone who wants a job will be hired. . Pay them a living wage."

    If you paid them the 2012 equivalent of the $41.57 a month they got in 1938, then their wages per month in 2012-14 would be $669 per month.

    For a 40 hour week times 4.3 weeks per month (ave.), that would be equal to paying them $3.89 per hour.
    However we should remember that the WPA members got tents or barracks to live in and also meals most of the time.

    So what is your idea of a "living wage"...
    I'm guessing your new modern WPA program is going to be paying them 3 times or more what they got back then (after adjusting for inflation)

    Or is $3.89 per hour plus room and board OK with your new WPA program?

  4. Hey Bernie! You're out this year, right? I hope you jump right back into the game! Look at what radio talk show host Norman Goldman has done. Talk radio is in its last death throes. Goldman (an many others) are bypassing radio by using podcasts and internet streaming.

    Now, about jobs. I think the step before that should be: publicly financed elections. Get the $$$ out of politics. That's the one corrupting influence that prevents all other helpful govt actions from happening. Publicly financed elections will allow truly decent people to become our political leaders, and they will then do what's right for "wee the people."

  5. You are going to be out this year? That is the best news I've heard in a longlonglong time. I just listened to Democracy Now! tonight with Daniel Ellsberg debating the NSA lawyer on Edward Snowden. As the the show ended, my first thought was of you, Bernie, so wishing you were on the air to take apart everything that was said. There are so many issues that I wish you would discuss with us. So many. I do hope you are going to be back on the air somewhere where I can hear you.

  6. Foodstamps that is the only thing we do now day. President Lincon was kill by the church in rome. Hope that you check out sex offender issues sometime on computer. China is calling the shots now. In the 1950's they called us commies today it sex offenders. Well people love children and want the best for them nothing wrong with that