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View Diary: A recovery that's 11 million jobs short (82 comments)

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  •  While there is no doubt the best options (1+ / 0-)
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    involved legislation, there were and are plenty of things the White House can do.  For whatever reason, they aren't doing it.  And very few people are demanding that they do.

    •  What can the White House do without (0+ / 0-)

      congress?  I'm not challenging your statement, I'm interested.

      May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house. George Carlin

      by msmacgyver on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 08:31:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sure thing (5+ / 0-)

        There is plenty that can be done without additional legislation. (Sorry for repeating myself - again).

        The American Prospect did a special report on it.

        This is from Robert Kuttner's introduction:

        Several laws on the books already prohibit theft of wages and phony classification of permanent workers as temps or contract hires and guarantee the right to organize or join a union and to be paid a minimum wage. None of these statutes is adequate, but under George W. Bush, the executive branch did its best not to enforce them.

        The other source of leverage, potentially much more effective, is government's power as a contractor. The U.S. government spends half a trillion dollars a year to buy goods and services from the private sector. Federal procurement, directly or indirectly, influences about one job in four in the entire economy. And most large national companies do business with the government. That goes for service companies such as FedEx; big corporations providing security guards; manufacturing companies that make everything from airplane parts to uniforms; and food-processing companies that provide school lunches. A whole other set of corporations, such as nursing-home chains, are indirect recipients of federal grants under Medicaid.

        Labor journalist Mike Elk has also reported on this possibility.

        In the last part of the Clinton administration, when Podesta was White House Chief of Staff, the government issued executive orders to implement "high road" contracting practices that would have enforced laws on the books barring companies that broke labor, safety, and environmental laws from receiving federal contracts. President Bill Clinton’s “contractor responsibility rule” would have created guidelines, a centralized database and data standards to prevent bad actor corporations from receiving government contracts. (The George W. Bush administration ended up blocking implementation of the orders.)

        Despite laws that forbid companies who break the law from receiving government’s contracts, these laws are rarely enforced by the federal government. As I wrote in February, only a handful of major corporations that have committed major crimes have been suspended from receiving government contracts since the mid-1990s, according to testimony before Congress by the Project on Government Oversight: “General Electric (for a period of five days); now-defunct companies WorldCom, Enron and Arthur Anderson; Boeing (which received multiple waivers to receive new contracts during its suspension); and IBM (for a period of eight days in 2008).”

        For more, see this piece testimony from the Center for American Progress. Soon after the 2010 election, CAP did a whole report on things the president could do to advance progressive change (including, but not limited to the economy) that didn't require new legislation. It included various means to promote automatic mediation to limit foreclosures and speed resolution.

        The first step in addressing jobs is for everyone to understand that the president has the power to address jobs. That must change.  

        (It's also worth remembering that states can do plenty too.  The Progressive States Network had lots of great ideas on that score.)

      •  Obama had his chance... (0+ / 0-)

        ...with both houses of congress and he wasted it.

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