The Great (Re)Training Robbery

By: Wednesday October 1, 2014 11:20 am

Barack Obama told Americans every worker deserves to know “if you lose your job, your country will help you train for an even better one.” A nice sentiment,and politically safe; it’s just the wrong answer. Those “better jobs” don’t exist, and training doesn’t create jobs. Despite all that, every year the U.S. government spends billions of dollars on job training, with little impact. What’s the right answer?

In 2007 then-candidate Obama visited Janesville, Wisconsin, location of the oldest General Motors plant in America. Echoing his current promise to support unemployed Americans with job training, Obama proclaimed “I believe that, if our government is there to support you, this plant will be here for another hundred years.” However, two days before Christmas and just about a month before Obama’s inauguration, the plant closed forever.

 

Hah Hah: You Are Poor

By: Thursday September 18, 2014 3:15 pm

Thanks for reading this. I hope it distracted you briefly from the daily hunger pangs you face. If you don’t complain, we’ll allow you 30 minutes of TV tonight. Now back to work serf.

Who’s Really to Blame for Unemployment?

By: Sunday February 9, 2014 7:00 am

Guided by the mythology of the “American dream”—the idea that, given the opportunity, the deserving will excel and rise above their peers—politicians often attribute unemployment to a mystical “skills gap.”

Ebeneezer Scrooge, the Grinch, and the Modern GOP

By: Saturday December 14, 2013 9:00 am

As Christmas approaches, Ebeneezer Scrooge and the Grinch are front and center in the GOP’s blocking of extending unemployment benefits to the long-term unemployed. While Scrooge and the Grinch eventually figured out that they were missing something, the modern GOP in Congress would label them as “weak” and “wishy-washy” and “backsliders.”

And FDR would have eaten them for lunch.

A Budget That Tightens Belts by Emptying Stomachs

By: Saturday May 25, 2013 8:30 am

A time-honored tactic of conservative lawmakers is to “starve the beast”by defunding government programs. In the case of food stamps—the quintessential whipping boy for budget hawks—they’re going a step further by trying to starve actual people.

That Unemployment Form Might Violate Your Civil Rights

By: Sunday May 5, 2013 7:00 am

If you think being jobless is tough, try applying for unemployment benefits. In Florida, simply filling out the form requires considerable talent and endurance. According to a recent ruling by the federal Department of Labor, the state’s new online application process is so fraught with arbitrary obstacles that it violates federal civil rights protections.

Reluctant to Hire the Unemployed? Too Bad, Says NYC

By: Sunday January 27, 2013 1:00 pm

How do you get a job without experience? How do you get experience without a job? And so it goes for millions of people trapped in a dismal cycle of joblessness. New York City took a step to help unemployed workers out of that spiral.

Us Versus the Volcano

By: Sunday January 20, 2013 9:30 am

I wish we could require all Americans – at least all decision-makers – to read Joseph Stiglitz’s new essay in the New York Times. Inequality is strangling us economically, politically, socially, he writes.

We Don’t Have a Deficit Problem, Cont’d

By: Monday December 17, 2012 12:45 pm

To say that “we have a budget deficit” is no different than saying “we’re in the middle of a recession.” The correlation between deficits and economic growth is very tight. A large part of deficits are composed of reduced tax receipts from less people working, and increase in utilization of automatic stabilizers like unemployment benefits, Medicaid and food stamps, which recedes in better economic times.

Homeowners Lost $2 Trillion in Housing Wealth By Living Near Foreclosures

By: Thursday October 25, 2012 7:36 am

“Why should we bail out the loser’s mortgages,” Rick Santelli yelled in his proto-Tea Party rant. And ever since, practically everyone in Washington has taken care to say that homeowner relief should only be available for “responsible” homeowners, as if there’s a formula to decide whether someone ripped off by a predatory lender is “responsible” or not.

But there’s actually a good answer for why you want to bail out “the loser’s mortgages,” and it’s rooted in basic economics.

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