PDA

View Full Version : Obama raises job target, taps Biden to help workers


Renegade
12-21-2008, 10:21 PM
Sun Dec 21, 2008 12:37pm EST


By Paul Eckert

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President-elect Barack Obama unveiled a new task force on Sunday charged with helping struggling working families, as an aide said Obama's economic recovery plan would be expanded to try to save 3 million jobs.

The White House Task Force on Working Families, to be headed by Vice President-elect Joe Biden, would aim to boost education and training and protect incomes and retirement security of middle-class and working families whose plight Obama had made a central issue of his campaign.

Biden's panel of top-level officials and labor, business, and activist representatives would help keep working families "front and center every day in our work," Obama said in a statement released by his transition office.

Biden said the economy was in worse shape than he and Obama had thought it was.

"President-elect Obama and I know the economic health of working families has eroded, and we intend to turn that around," Biden told ABC's "This Week."

"We've got to begin to stem this bleeding here and begin to stop the loss of jobs in the creation of jobs," he said.

An transition aide said grim forecasts for the economy Obama will inherit when he takes office on January 20 prompted him to raise the job-creation target of his economic recovery plan to 3 million jobs created or saved in the next two years.

Last month, Obama's stated goal had been to protect 2.5 million jobs with a combination of middle-class tax cuts, money for public works programs like the building of roads and mass transit as well as money to bolster health and other social programs.

"There is going to be real significant investment, whether it's $600 billion or more, or $700 billion," Biden said. "It's a number no one thought about a year ago."

The Obama administration could not afford to worry initially about the ballooning national deficit in the face of the most severe recession in the post-war era, he said.

"There is no short run other than keeping the economy from absolutely tanking. That's the only short run," said Biden.

Some Democrats are pressing for a package in the $1 trillion range, though other lawmakers are wary of the discussion of price tags upward of $600 billion.

Republican Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia told CNN's "Late Edition" that taxpayers must be protected amid a pricey bailout for the auto industry and other potentially costly measures to revive the economy.

"Most American taxpayers are scratching their head wondering when all this bailout stuff is going to end and probably thinking when is my bailout coming," he said.

But Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Barney Frank argued that failure to act "will cost us even more."

"This economy is in the worst shape since the Great Depression and if we do not respond in a very firm way, it gets worse and worse and feeds on itself," he told CNN.

(Additional reporting by Lesley Wroughton in Washington and Ross Colvin in Honolulu; editing by David Wiessler)
http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSTRE4BK1F520081221?sp=true

ltow
12-21-2008, 10:41 PM
I like sports metaphors better than hospital metaphors.

This could lead to saying things like "needing to put the patient under . . ." or "cutting off an arm to save the patient . . ." or "spreading like a virus . . ."

CanadaSue
12-22-2008, 12:20 PM
When I see statements such as these:

***Biden said the economy was in worse shape than he and Obama had thought it was.***

Isn't it worrisome that the new administration appears so out of touch with the plight of ordinary Americans? If they don't have a grasp of the severity of the problem, I fear their capability of even coming close to 'solutions' that will truly help people.

I wonder if it wouldn't be a good idea for them to hire ordinary, working & middle class Americans for secured, online focus groups where they could discuss the ramifications of possible options? It's too easy to miss many of the every day concerns ordinary people deal with when you're trying to manipulate the economy. Only those living through every day worries & concerns can genuinely offer imput into the impacts of different 'solutions'.

Fiddlerdave
12-22-2008, 12:28 PM
When I see statements such as these:

***Biden said the economy was in worse shape than he and Obama had thought it was.***

Isn't it worrisome that the new administration appears so out of touch with the plight of ordinary Americans? If they don't have a grasp of the severity of the problem, I fear their capability of even coming close to 'solutions' that will truly help people.

I wonder if it wouldn't be a good idea for them to hire ordinary, working & middle class Americans for secured, online focus groups where they could discuss the ramifications of possible options? It's too easy to miss many of the every day concerns ordinary people deal with when you're trying to manipulate the economy. Only those living through every day worries & concerns can genuinely offer imput into the impacts of different 'solutions'.Sadly, I would bet that it is not the current plight of working Americans they are out of touch with - Obama's campaign showed a keen understanding of that in its strategy.

I believe their new opinion is because they are now inside the administration's offices (all of that happened in the last week) and are now seeing all the information we are not being told. I suspect (and hope) they will share it - people have a right to hear it, the citizens should not be treated like children, however childlike many act.

BirdGuano
12-22-2008, 01:05 PM
"This economy is in the worst shape since the Great Depression and if we do not respond in a very firm way, it gets worse and worse and feeds on itself,"

See my "Flat Spin" thread here in the Vault. :D

CanadaSue
12-22-2008, 01:36 PM
Okay going to read that before commenting here.

CanadaSue
12-22-2008, 02:10 PM
Okay...

First addressing fd's point., I strongly suspect that may indeed be the case - that the icoming administration has been apprised of facts & projections of which they were previously not aware. I can only guess that what they may have seen consists of more precise estimates of just how bad it is - surely the scope of the problem could not have been previously missed.

One thing to me is clear - the big banks & the street have essentially been running enormous off the books operations, operations that seemingly dwarf the recorded, accounted & regulated economy. Considering the staggeringly large numbers we've seen tossed about in the last several months, I don't know how anyone could have missed that this is a huge Ponzi scheme, for all intents & purposes.

For the economy to move forward, people need to keep buying, to keep BORROWING to keep buying. Old debt has been repackaged & resold so often, I don't doubt that the 'obligations on the original obligation' has long surpassed the value of the underlying, originating loans. You can't simply stop & pay everything back - there's not enough money, labour or product.

There's going to come a time, (soon), when I think we'll be hit with massive scale, massive scope, institutionalized defaults. And what's the fix? The service industry isn't a stable base for an economy - even many essential human services can be cut back, downsized or refocused in a pinch & man, we're in such a tight pinch, we'll have bruises for generations.

Right now, who really needs pedicures, expensive hair care or luxury goods - goods I define as want rather than need? Yet even stuff we need, stuff that could be manufactured - how much of that is currently needed that couldn't easily be absorbed by the second hand market or simply by repairing what we have when it breaks? How much STUFF do we really need?

But what do we base an economic recovery on? And who do we look to for models?

Early in the development of the continent, there were frontiers to conquer, infrastructure to build & land to develop to hold the waves of immigrants. Even then, much of the benefit of that economic growth went back to old world countries who had after all, invested in the new ventures in th first place.

Fast forward several eras, through world wars & the maturation of development. Move through the post-industrial age to where we find ourselves... here & now & colletively mired in debt. Where do we go from here?

We already have a net surplus of housing stock although some areas have disparities. There's no sense moving people into certain areas to fill housing if there's no work for them there & increasingly, that work is vanishing in some regions. Look at Detroit & affiliated auto industry areas. Entire neighbourhoods are sitting empty. Same with other cities. The health of these communities are predicated on a strong, domestic vehicle industry & that ain't happening. The Big Three are in trouble, the other companies are reporting sales volumes off & people are less eager to trade in 3-5 year old vehicles for newer models. They're holding on to care longer & even if they want to buy new, getting loans is harder.

Different areas are no doubt seeing the same desperate combinations of cimcumstances, overstock of housing because there are decreasing numbers of jobs & people are leaving.

What I can't get a grip on is... where are they going? Where are they living? How are they eating? Illegals going home can't account for all the net losses. I don't know where to get data on numbers of people moving back in with older parents or combining households for strictly economic reasons - not sure such numbers exist yet.

It's that kind of data the new administration is going to have to wrestle with as they look to craft solutions. Infrastructure projects aren't a bad idea - we've been hearing for years that infrastructure is crumbling & periodically, we see graphic examples of the truth of that. But at best, even if that works & works well it will serve only as, (pun intentional), a bridge to a new economy.

The fascinating underlying question has to be - of what will that new economy consist?

BirdGuano
12-22-2008, 02:26 PM
Exactly my point in all of this is that the VELOCITY of change is such that there is no viable replacement for that part of the economy (70% consumer driven) to make any remote hope of a "soft landing" possible.

It's just NOT going to happen, and the sooner people can get past the denial stage and to the self-preservation ACTION stage the better off they will be physically and psychologically.

Different areas are no doubt seeing the same desperate combinations of cimcumstances, overstock of housing because there are decreasing numbers of jobs & people are leaving.

But are they REALLY leaving, or just falling off the radar ?

spinnerholic
12-22-2008, 04:34 PM
It's just NOT going to happen, and the sooner people can get past the denial stage and to the self-preservation ACTION stage the better off they will be physically and psychologically.

Right on.

And here's a suggestion of how to start. Let's get as local as possible to meet our needs. And most basic of needs are, for all of us: food, clothing, shelter and medical care. And a job that pays enough to allow us to provide our basic needs for ourselves, right?

Starting with the most basic needs, how do you think we might be able to do these things?

BirdGuano
12-22-2008, 05:05 PM
Starting with the most basic needs, how do you think we might be able to do these things?

Zoning changes, Home Owner Associations, utilizing empty space in the burbs for food production, electrification of the infrastructure, tax and policy changes to favor domestic energy and food production, reform of the medical malpractice tort system.

I could go on for days......

rryan
12-22-2008, 06:48 PM
Right on.

And here's a suggestion of how to start. Let's get as local as possible to meet our needs. And most basic of needs are, for all of us: food, clothing, shelter and medical care. And a job that pays enough to allow us to provide our basic needs for ourselves, right?

Starting with the most basic needs, how do you think we might be able to do these things?

Really?

Deregulate EVERYTHING. Get the government out of everything---including an end to corporate welfare and subsidies.

Govt absorbs almost of 50% of GDP by their numbers--count in the costs of hidden taxes and the cost of paperwork and other bureaucratic BS and it's probably more like 75% of total GDP.

Personally I'd do real well with my income goign up 50 or 100%.

spinnerholic
12-22-2008, 07:22 PM
We aren't talking on the same levels, rryan. I'm down here on the ground, wanting to talk about basic needs of food, clothing, housing and medical care.

You are talking about needed deregulations - a congressional law making process.

The two are worlds apart.

dyrt
12-22-2008, 07:44 PM
We aren't talking on the same levels, rryan. I'm down here on the ground, wanting to talk about basic needs of food, clothing, housing and medical care.

You are talking about needed deregulations - a congressional law making process.

The two are worlds apart.I think you are talking about the same thing. In your world, congressional law is needed to take money from some people to give to others. Rryan thinks that will make things worse for the same people that need the help. Right now, our safety net is working good enough.

I agree that the fastest way out of the recession is to unchain capitalism though I would keep the chains on any business that is currently considered too big to fail. We should not be in this situation again. Any huge corporation that gets tax money bailout should remain in chains until the money is paid back. Lets build a new economy based on smaller businesses.

CanadaSue
12-22-2008, 08:05 PM
Smaller may be better, local certainly should prove to be in the short to medium term & changing a lot of zoning & other 'affluence based regulation' may be necessary. What I mean by my phrase...take the example of 'estate lots' built in rural areas. People wax eloquent at work & at cocktail parties about how they'd LOVE to move away from the noise & bustle of the city - they're looking for a more quiet lifestyle.

First thing many do when they find themselves in that situation is start bitching about the noises & smells associated with rural living... manure, etc. They scream for & can often affect zoning changes & other ridiculous rules that make it harder for the original rural folk to make a living. Other landowners who may have been there 'forever' may suddenly find they can no longer have their small flock of meat/egg birds, goats, sheep, etc.

Beginning with reversing those zoning laws then looking at making it easier for people with larger, edge of city lots to keep hens, rabbits & other small stuff would be a good start. Unrestricted neighbourhood trade of meat, veg & other produce & of services would also be good - we currently see that with the underground barter economy.

I'm not seeing a whole lot of real encouragement for small business. The burden of taxation & other regulation is such that it takes nerves of steel to launch any sort of venture or grow a small home based business into something larger.

Tort law reform has got to play a part in this. There are so many small business ideas that never get off the ground because insurance companies make it impossible. They set premiums high because of what they perceive as the higher possibility of lawsuits.

Here's one example. Many daycares won't - for ridiculously obvious reasons, take kids who are in any way ill. Wouldn't it be nice to have a provider who did nothing but take a sick child or two for the day? Good luck. A lawyer would scream about the possibility of lawsuits & so would insurance companies. Yet economically, it makes so much more sense for parents to have a safe place to bring their child for the types of minor illnesses that keep them out of school or day care, that require little other than rest, light & nourishing meals & fluids & something to entertain them. Parents don't have to take a personal day, (paid or unpaid) & employers don't have to worry about replacing a valued employee for a day.

Ther are literally dozens of ways, loads of small business ideas out there that would work in a small, localized economy IF the government kept it's overregulated, over-nannified noses out of it. While many may welcome a heavy hand of government oversight it really can become too much. I'm one who thinks our collective spines are being turned to jelly by well meaning governments by governments determined to protect us from everything undder the sun - including ourselves! I'm not in the habit of voting in substitue parents or nannies.

But give us time. As things get worse in some areas, people are going to become more willing to embrace local innovation & common sense ideas & will have shrinking levels of patience for all levels of governments & their well meaning interference. The net will help, I think. Word of successful, local solutions to problems facing all or many of us will spread & will be taken up elsewhere. We the people, are far from powerless.

We just need a kick in the backside to remind us of that.

dyrt
12-22-2008, 08:19 PM
We just need a kick in the backside to remind us of that.Looks like we are going to need at least two kicks. We are getting the first kick now and after another failed socialist experiment we will get the other.

CanadaSue
12-22-2008, 09:26 PM
I think more than a few people are going to need several kicks.

Before they can even begin to address the basic problems of trying to survive & thrive in a tansitioning economy that currently appears directionless, they'll have to tackle their personal economic attitudes.

People are clearly still spending too much. I've been overhearing far too many conversations that initially left me with my jaw dropping. People are almost, in some cases ARE... in tears because they don't know where their next bill payments are going to come from. Yet they're determined to 'give the kids a good Christmas!'

I had to think about that for a while. Some I'm sure, can see the writing on the wall. The wild ride is screeching to a halt & they're indulging in one last flight from reality. I don't want to be there in the next few months when reality hits the paycheque... if they're still getting one.

Others are genuinely clueless, so caught up in spend, spend, spend, they can't or won't look at what's inevitable if they'r spending money they don't have.

Most I know have scaled back on Christmas & other spending. I'm not seeing what I think is enough scaling back yet but change IS hard & you learn to let go by letting go. The next steps will come a little more easily as they get accustomed to being more cautious.

Once more than a few have embraced sensible spending & are paying attention to the rot running through the foundations of the economy, the pace of kicks to the butt will speed up. You have to understand that the cutting back YOU do is being done by many others. It sometimes doesn't seem to be such deprivation when you others are doing the same thing.

I think much of the above is going to be needed across a large segment of society before they start focusing on the community at large. A common will emerges from common perceptions of need. Until more are paying attention to local issues - especially bylaws & zoning, very little of that will change due to inertia. In many areas it won't change quickly enough. I know it won't here unless there are some serious reality shocks felt by our curent city council & they have proven, over & over that they're completely clueless. Yet the bums are voted back in & the basic direction or lack thereof, of this city, never changes.

Sucks.

Fiddlerdave
12-22-2008, 11:21 PM
Really?

Deregulate EVERYTHING. Get the government out of everything---including an end to corporate welfare and subsidies.

Govt absorbs almost of 50% of GDP by their numbers--count in the costs of hidden taxes and the cost of paperwork and other bureaucratic BS and it's probably more like 75% of total GDP.

Personally I'd do real well with my income goign up 50 or 100%.When you deregulate EVERYTHING, the looters who have built fortunes and empires with everyone's else's money will become gods. And the looting and ripoffs we have just seen would be pocket change to what would happen then.

BirdGuano
12-22-2008, 11:39 PM
You are talking about needed deregulations - a congressional law making process.

The two are worlds apart.

Unfortunately they are not.

Grass-roots can motivate policy and policy can have a direct effect on grass-roots funding.. either positive or negative.

So one effects the other. There is currently no escaping it.

CanadaSue
12-22-2008, 11:54 PM
It doesn't all have to be at the Congressional level. Some of th most annoying regulations occur at municipal or state level. Those can be changed a mite more easily although even town councils can be surprisingly mulish. Get in a council used to getting it's own way, used to minor empire building & they can really dig their heels in.

However, they too have to be elected & it's easier for the public to raise awareness & get a concensus at the local level. Add up enough locals & you can start affecting states... & so on.