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While the worst of the layoffs in the private sector are over, we're on the cusp of major layoffs, furloughs and paycuts in the public sector as states and municipalities face revenue shortfalls that could total more than $350 billion in the next two years. State and local payrolls have already been trimmed by 191,000 jobs from August 2008 until January 2010. How bad the situation may become is illustrated by a story in the San Francisco Chronicle, which noted that San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom issued pink slips Friday to 17,000 of the city's 26,000 workers. Most will be rehired for a shorter workweek amounting to a 6.25% pay cut. Los Angeles has begun cutting 4000 city workers from its payroll. And it's the same from Abilene, Texas, to Columbia, South Carolina.

Rep. George Miller is seeking support in the Democratic Caucus for his Local Jobs for America Act, H.R. 4812, a two-year $100 billion that he hopes will leverage a million public and private sector jobs. It's precisely the kind of medicine the economy needs. But Republicans and deficit hawks among the Democrats aren't likely to find it to their liking. The details of the proposal, which Miller put together with the help of mayors from around the country, include:

 • $75 billion over two years to local communities to hire vital staff
 • Funding for 50,000 on-the-job private-sector training positions

The bill also includes provisions already approved by the House:

 • $23 billion this year to help states support 250,000 education jobs
 • $1.18 billion to put 5,500 law enforcement officers on the beat
 • $500 million to retain, rehire, and hire firefighters

The Economic Policy Institute said of Miller's proposal:

Misguided critics will undoubtedly say we can’t afford legislation like this, but they are wrong. The fact is that the costs of inaction to our future prosperity are far greater than the cost of this bill. The best first step toward reducing the deficit is to get people back to work, since high deficits will be with us as long as high unemployment is.

Misguided critics, indeed. If anybody should be keeping their powder dry at the moment, it's deficit hawks and peacocks. Under the best of circumstances, it will take a minimum of three years to employ as many Americans as were working in December 2007 when the Great Recession began. Doing nothing to help curb tens of thousands of public sector layoffs will delay that process even further.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Thu Mar 11, 2010 at 01:36 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  We can't create jobs (8+ / 0-)

    It might keep the Republicans from winning.

    In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

    by blue aardvark on Thu Mar 11, 2010 at 01:38:22 PM PST

    •  Yes, we can! Okay, Mr. President, here's your (0+ / 0-)

      chance, support this initiative and make it your own!

      www.yesweSTILLcan.org

      by divineorder on Thu Mar 11, 2010 at 01:53:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  This makes no fiscal sense (0+ / 0-)

        a two-year $100 billion that he hopes will leverage a million public and private sector jobs

        LEVERAGE??  That's $100,000 per job!  That's not leveraging.  It's the full cost.

        Leveraging would be finding a way to cut the cost of adding a new headcount by $10,000 per person per year and then using that to generate five million new jobs.

        Given the fact that many of the people getting these jobs would make less than US$50K / year it probably makes more sense to give out this $100 billion in direct grants to the unemployed than to use it to create only 1 million new jobs.

    •  After six buget meetings in our small (0+ / 0-)
      village in Ohio we had to initiate Nine employeee layoffs..Very, very difficult decision but it save about $200,000.00 and still probably wont be adequate to open 2011 unless "Help" arrives..Someone aint getting the fukin message..Small town main street is the heart beat of America and we are on life support

      "Course I'm respectable. I'm old. Politicians, ugly buildings, and whores all get respectable if they last long enough." Noah Cross - Chinatown

      by LakePipes on Thu Mar 11, 2010 at 02:02:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Does this make any sense? (0+ / 0-)

        You need help... so do many towns, cities, villages, etc.

        So why does it make sense for all of these communities to get a bail out from the federal government?  Why do we have to pass the money through Washington?

        Why can't we keep it local?  Cut federal taxes, raise local taxes, and let local communities solve their own problems?

  •  I would add to this the announcement today (5+ / 0-)

    that Kansas city is closing down fully half of its public schools. While some of that is due to white flight, a lot of it is simply due to abandonment of the schools and local government.

  •  I would take deficit hawks much more seriously if (4+ / 0-)

    they introduced legislation to cut their pay, perks and benefits....

    "I still say a church steeple with a lightning rod on top shows a lack of confidence."

    by logsol on Thu Mar 11, 2010 at 01:39:05 PM PST

    •  I would take them more seriously (5+ / 0-)

      If they would cut the military-industrial complex and stop blowing up suburbia bubbles.

      Last I checked, Fenway Park is not in Afghanistan.

      by theran on Thu Mar 11, 2010 at 01:57:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Right ! The MIC is sucking America dry and (0+ / 0-)

        President Eisenhower who knew the system inside out specifically warned us in his Important Outgoing Address..Probably one of the most prophetic of all time and know one listened then and no one is listening now..The Pentago-CIA and Blaaawater aka Xe is in charge now

        "Course I'm respectable. I'm old. Politicians, ugly buildings, and whores all get respectable if they last long enough." Noah Cross - Chinatown

        by LakePipes on Thu Mar 11, 2010 at 02:06:11 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  You should add that.. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CWalter, VClib, IndianaDemocrat

    Newsom had to take that action because he could not get union agreement on cutbacks.

    Public employee benefits that are wildly excessive in light of our current economic condition are going to have to be addressed.  Or else you will see municipal bankruptcies sprouting  like spring flowers.

  •  Illinois got hit pretty hard here (0+ / 0-)

    School budget cuts, sports programs, bus cuts, everything. Our governor is proposing a tax hike. I dont know how we're gonna be able to make it here. But I know its not just here in illinois. Its so bad here. I dont want to see the kids lose out on education.

    •  It's the same everywhere. (0+ / 0-)

      I can't begin to say how painful the collapse of the swaps and derivatives market (and mortgage-backed securities, CDOs, etc.) has been for local government budgets.  We had counted on the gradual, sustainable growth of our nation's real estate market and the bottom just fell out.

      It's the same everywhere.

      Worst of all, the states and cities with the most capacity to lead investment (like Tennessee, which has been very well-managed) are currently states with extremely conservative legislative bodies.

      This just prolongs any possible change that could be made to turn the dial and change the system.

      "It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses." - CS Lewis, Weight of Glory

      by Benintn on Thu Mar 11, 2010 at 02:03:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Tennessee's investments haven't ... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        theran, tardis10

        ...provided enough money to keep from having some of its leaders push to cut unemployment benefits in that state, even though, at $275 a week, they are among the lowest in the country. (If you're in a family of four, those benefits put your household at $8000 below the federal poverty line in a state with 10.9% joblessness.)

        I refuse to accept "no can do" as a proper slogan for progressives.

        by Meteor Blades on Thu Mar 11, 2010 at 02:13:06 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  These are the Gov cuts THAT WILL HURT people (0+ / 0-)

    80% of success is just showing up...a good and decent man, who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it

    by Churchill on Thu Mar 11, 2010 at 01:50:04 PM PST

  •  Kansas City closing HALF OF IT's SCHOOLS (0+ / 0-)

    80% of success is just showing up...a good and decent man, who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it

    by Churchill on Thu Mar 11, 2010 at 01:50:20 PM PST

  •  $100 Billion-A Bandaid On An Amputation (0+ / 0-)

    That simply puts off the inevitable for another year, just like the Stimulus did, instead of creating REAL JOBS....

    •  Still not sure why we can't..... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brooke In Seattle

      ....can't raise some revenue by taxing the living shit out the economic and medical terrorists.

      It makes more sense if you think at it as if we're the supply (tiny fish) and the Health Insurance Companies are the demand (big fish).

      by dehrha02 on Thu Mar 11, 2010 at 01:57:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Police, fire fighters & teachers have real jobs (3+ / 0-)

      and I'm frankly a little bit offended that you'd make the claim you're making.

      But I understand where you're coming from in terms of the fear.

      I think that in places like Tennessee, where we have a dangerously regressive state taxation policy, we need to think seriously about raising income-based taxes and lowering sales taxes (short term, at least) in order to save jobs, stimulate the economy, and attract business to the state.

      That's a state budget issue.

      Same thing in California - CA has overspent and undertaxed, and the bubbles keep blowing up.

      A federal-level solution to these state-level budgetary woes is not going to resolve the long term state budget issues.

      "It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses." - CS Lewis, Weight of Glory

      by Benintn on Thu Mar 11, 2010 at 01:59:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you Rep. Miller (0+ / 0-)

    This is a good start to creating jobs and helping economic growth.  

    As for the deficit, here is a good article by Prof. James K. Galbraith: In Defense of Deficits

    "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results"

    by RebelCapitalist on Thu Mar 11, 2010 at 01:52:32 PM PST

  •  More brutal cuts in Michigan..... (0+ / 0-)

    ....everything.

    School districts going belly-up unless they can figure out how to fit 50 kindergartners in a classroom with one teacher.  

    That's my own comment - I hope I'm exaggerating.

    It makes more sense if you think at it as if we're the supply (tiny fish) and the Health Insurance Companies are the demand (big fish).

    by dehrha02 on Thu Mar 11, 2010 at 01:54:43 PM PST

  •  Agree, but it's really hard to explain my sudden (0+ / 0-)
    shift to Keynesian economics.

    It's just really hard for American working families (and those with young kids especially) to fathom how a ginormous spending plan will help protect us from skyrocketing debt.

    Seems counterintuitive...

    Then again, so do tax cuts for the wealthy, so...

    "It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses." - CS Lewis, Weight of Glory

    by Benintn on Thu Mar 11, 2010 at 01:55:38 PM PST

  •  hiccup (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    liberte, Brooke In Seattle

    This is not a "Great Recession," it is the beginning of a Great Depression.  What President Obama has accomplished is a hiccup on the way down, the stimulus was never large enough, the R obstructionism will prevent the needed medicine from arriving on time.  Today's rx is still not enough--and constantly touting little fixes makes us look foolish when we have to go back to congress again and again.

    As you can surmise, I'm pessimistic.  The economy won't get better as long as the media trumpets deficit fear--and FOX will not stop this intuitive, but incorrect, hysteria.

  •  What we need (6+ / 0-)

    is about 800 billion dollars in infrastructure spending for the grid and energy, waste and drinking water systems, telecommunications, and transportation work.

    And another big amount of money at the state level for credit for start-ups and expanding small businesses.

    "Intolerance is something which belongs to the religions we have rejected." - J.J. Rousseau

    by James Allen on Thu Mar 11, 2010 at 01:57:43 PM PST

  •  Did you have to mention Abilene, TX? (0+ / 0-)

    Even people I don't know won't let me forget it.

    Don't make God into an idiot just because you want to ignore evolution.

    by anonevent on Thu Mar 11, 2010 at 02:08:47 PM PST

  •  Will they address hiring practices (0+ / 0-)

    or will those jobs go to people who already have jobs, and those who are unemployed stay unemployed?

    If we are just going to play musical chairs again, it won't help much with new jobs. It will only help those who are already employed.

    "The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." -- Mark Twain

    by Brooke In Seattle on Thu Mar 11, 2010 at 02:11:06 PM PST

  •  I don't understand $75 billion to hire vital (0+ / 0-)

    staff, which is 3/4 of the total.

    If the staff is vital, it should already be there.  I might be able to see money to retain vital staff.

    Free speech? Yeah, I've heard of that. Have you?

    by dinotrac on Thu Mar 11, 2010 at 02:15:21 PM PST

  •  As a public sector employee looking at (3+ / 0-)

    a fifth year without even a minimal raise, I can tell you that the public sector is struggling. There has always been a philosophy that public sector work, with its health care and pension perks, is somehow exempt from the pain that the private sector feels.

    But virtually all governments are slicing health care and pension payments. People who are retiring now are finding that the health care they counted on will be severely diminished, if not outright eliminated.

    Most of these people are field workers -- the guys who read your water meter, fix broken mains, groom your parks, staff your libraries and repair your potholes. They are doing the dirty work of life, and they are doing it, believe it or not, at salaries that would astonish you.

    We are at the mercy of the no-taxes people who somehow believe you can continue to provide these services, plus public safety, on the same tax base that existed 10 years ago. And we endure the slings and arrows of a public that will run to the media every time they hit a pothole, complaining about how the city is unresponsive, all while screeching at the mere possibility of a property tax increase.

    Taxes are the price we pay for a decent quality of life. I don't know why so few people understand that.

    It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are 20 gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg. -- Thomas Jefferson

    by AtlantaJan on Thu Mar 11, 2010 at 02:20:54 PM PST

    •  There has been a progression (0+ / 0-)

      of post war recessions. Up until the 90s they had their main impact on blue collar wage earners who would get laid off or cut back. The Bush I recession brought the pain home to white collar middle management workers in the private sector. The only way back for many of them was as independent contractors.

      The present recession marks the first time since the great depression that public employees have experienced major cutbacks. Each time the groups affected never fully recover. It just gets worse every where except on Wall St.

    •  They don't get it because they've been duped (0+ / 0-)

      into believing that all public employees get 6-figure salaries, retire at 50 with higher pay than they got while working, and do nothing for the taxpayer. All that is deliberate right-wing propaganda that unfortunately, though 99% false, has taken on a life of its own and is believed by many.

    •  No guarantees in life dude (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VClib

      "There has always been a philosophy that public sector work, with its health care and pension perks, is somehow exempt from the pain that the private sector feels." Really, and who might I ask really believes that for some reason the Public Sector is magically not connected to the rest of the economy? I don't like to see anyone lose their job and I mean anyone, but is it right for all the pain to hit the private sector worker, where I got news for u pal the average worker doesn't have any pension and is rapidly losing his or her merger benefits as well  Unfortunately, the reality is that the Public sector is not immune from the collapsing private economy and whats happening is sad, but its inevitable. You cannot expect people who have no job because they're plant moved to China to continue to support other people's Public jobs just because.

      "It's better to die on your feet then live on your knees" E. Zapata

      by Blutodog on Thu Mar 11, 2010 at 03:40:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't believe I said that (0+ / 0-)

        the private sector should suffer any more than the public sector. I merely pointed out that people tend to think the public sector does not suffer in an economic downturn, and that isn't true.

        As for the rest of your comment, I would appreciate it more if you didn't say, "I got news for u pal," and actually used correct grammar, spelling and punctuation.

        It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are 20 gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg. -- Thomas Jefferson

        by AtlantaJan on Thu Mar 11, 2010 at 07:08:42 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  California is particularly hard-hit, (0+ / 0-)

    because a reactionary anti-tax GOP combined with higher net Federal tax payouts than paybacks means that California is supporting other states like Wyoming and rich Californians, while not getting revenue enough to keep basic services going. Except, going from bad to worse!

  •  this is what the neo-cons and repugs want (0+ / 0-)

    to starve the beast. They want smaller gov't and they are willing to do anything to make it happen. Like the the phrase "we had to destroy the village to save it", they are willing to destroy the country to 'save it' from large government.

    Richard Nixon/Richard Cheney - Never put a 'dick' in office if you care about the Constitution and the Republic.

    by vet24 on Thu Mar 11, 2010 at 02:43:51 PM PST

    •  That is an effort (0+ / 0-)

      that is being applied globally by the neoliberal Washington consensus. Austerity measures are being pushed with European governments. The IMF has been doing this to third world countries for a long time. This is just the first time that it has been done to the US on such a grand scale.

  •  New Jersey's Idea (0+ / 0-)

    New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said he may privatize some state jobs in 2011, as he struggles to close an $11 billion budget deficit amid rising costs for employee salaries and benefits.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/...

  •  National Infrastructure Bank needed (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades

    Three decades is a long time to wait for a train. So Los Angeles is asking the federal government for help in borrowing $9 billion to speed construction of 12 new mass-transit rail lines.
    ...
    Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa insists the deal presents little risk for the federal government. The reason: Los Angeles County voters in 2008 passed a half-cent sales tax to fund the rail project over 30 years. But Los Angeles leaders say it can be done in 10 if they get the money up front. The city would pay back the loans over 30 years using the sales tax.

    We've got large infrastructure projects in Washington state that could be speeded up. How about in your state?

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