A Fraudulent Jobs Summit

If the President had offered us a job summit a year ago, he might have been taken seriously. Now, however, after more than six million jobs have been lost — and with the bottom still falling — Obama’s brain storming get-together can only be treated with contempt, if not outrage.

What is needed is immediate action, not idle chatter. We already know what works: federal stimulus money channeled directly towards job creation, a public works campaign to help rebuild the U.S. crumbling infrastructure, full funding for education and social services, and more.

Instead, Obama will invite the corporate elite to the White House to hear their advice on how to create jobs, as they continue slashing them by the thousands. The conservative Washington Post reports:

“President Obama plans to bring together CEOs, small business owners and financial experts to sound out ideas for continuing to expand the economy and create jobs” (November 16, 2009).

Labor leaders have also been invited to the meeting.

Allow us to save the busy President some time — it is obvious what the summit participants will suggest and why. Corporations will propose that taxes remain low for themselves and their very wealthy shareholders, while keeping regulations equally low. Both of these measures would save money for corporations, while encouraging billionaires to play more on the stock market — their solution to creating jobs. Unions, on the other hand, will demand a new and improved stimulus package. This, of course, is the only answer for workers.

The first stimulus bill was an abysmal failure because it was far too small, while much of the money was dedicated to tax breaks. Obama is correct that it saved jobs from being destroyed and that it gave desperate states some financial relief. But the aid was far too small to be truly effective, regardless of Obama’s constant boasting about it.

A new stimulus package must be much larger, and wholly dedicated to creating jobs, not merely “saving” them. The current situation in the U.S. is one of complete social failure; there is immense work that needs to be done — in infrastructure especially — while there exists millions of workers available to do the job. But nothing happens. This points to an obvious failure in the market, and thus demands serious state intervention.

But state intervention cannot be the type that Obama has promoted thus far, especially bank bailouts and corporate-style health care. Instead of aiding the super-wealthy, it should be demanded that Obama drastically switch gears to curing the unemployment pandemic.

Unfortunately, the strong measures needed to address the unemployment issue are unlikely to come from the Obama administration. The president has made clear his desire to focus on the federal deficit; he is under extreme pressure from foreign lenders — Russia, China, etc. — and U.S. bankers to make cuts in the budget, not expand it. And although no one from the U.S. corporate elite complained a bit about Obama’s record breaking $660 billion military budget, they will scream bloody murder if a new stimulus is created to benefit workers.

It is up to us, then, to scream louder. Obama will not create a much-needed stimulus unless he is fearful of the social consequences of doing nothing. If he feels that workers and the unemployed will suffer quietly as jobs continue to disappear, he will continue his “let-them-eat-cake” attitude. If, however, he sees large, angry demonstrations demanding jobs, he will be forced to think again. The time is now. The union movement can pass resolutions as the American Federation of Teachers Local 1021 of Los Angeles did just last week, which calls on the labor movement, as a whole, to organize their membership and working people in general to attend a Solidarity Day III march and rally in Washington, DC in the spring of 2010 to demand living wage jobs for all. If we stay quiet, Obama will implement the corporations’ solution to the recession — a jobless recovery with a substantially lower standard of living for everyone but the rich.

SHAMUS COOKE is a social service worker, trade unionist, and writer for Workers Action (www.workerscompass.org).  He can be reached at shamuscook@yahoo.com


More articles by:

Shamus Cooke is a social service worker, trade unionist, and writer for Workers Action (www.workerscompass.org). He can be reached at shamuscooke@gmail.com

March 19, 2018
Henry Heller
The Moment of Trump
John Davis
Pristine Buildings, Tarnished Architect
Uri Avnery
The Fake Enemy
Patrick Cockburn
The Fall of Afrin and the Next Phase of the Syrian War
Nick Pemberton
The Democrats Can’t Save Us
Nomi Prins 
Jared Kushner, RIP: a Political Obituary for the President’s Son-in-Law
Georgina Downs
The Double Standards and Hypocrisy of the UK Government Over the ‘Nerve Agent’ Spy Poisoning
Dean Baker
Trump and the Federal Reserve
Colin Todhunter
The Strategy of Tension Towards Russia and the Push to Nuclear War
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
US Empire on Decline
Ralph Nader
Ahoy America, Give Trump a Taste of His Own Medicine Starting on Trump Imitation Day
Robert Dodge
Eliminate Nuclear Weapons by Divesting from Them
Laura Finley
Shame on You, Katy Perry
Weekend Edition
March 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Michael Uhl
The Tip of the Iceberg: My Lai Fifty Years On
Bruce E. Levine
School Shootings: Who to Listen to Instead of Mainstream Shrinks
Mel Goodman
Caveat Emptor: MSNBC and CNN Use CIA Apologists for False Commentary
Paul Street
The Obama Presidency Gets Some Early High Historiography
Kathy Deacon
Me, My Parents and Red Scares Long Gone
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Rexless Abandon
Andrew Levine
Good Enemies Are Hard To Find: Therefore Worry
Jim Kavanagh
What to Expect From a Trump / Kim Summit
Ron Jacobs
Trump and His Tariffs
Joshua Frank
Drenched in Crude: It’s an Oil Free For All, But That’s Not a New Thing
Gary Leupp
What If There Was No Collusion?
Matthew Stevenson
Why Vietnam Still Matters: Bernard Fall Dies on the Street Without Joy
Robert Fantina
Bad to Worse: Tillerson, Pompeo and Haspel
Brian Cloughley
Be Prepared, Iran, Because They Want to Destroy You
Richard Moser
What is Organizing?
Scott McLarty
Working Americans Need Independent Politics
Rohullah Naderi
American Gun Violence From an Afghan Perspective
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
Why Trump’s Tariff Travesty Will Not Re-Industrialize the US
Ted Rall
Democrats Should Run on Impeachment
Robert Fisk
Will We Ever See Al Jazeera’s Investigation Into the Israel Lobby?
Kristine Mattis
Superunknown: Scientific Integrity Within the Academic and Media Industrial Complexes
John W. Whitehead
Say No to “Hardening” the Schools with Zero Tolerance Policies and Gun-Toting Cops
Edward Hunt
UN: US Attack On Syrian Civilians Violated International Law
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Iraq Outside History
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: The Long Hard Road
Victor Grossman
Germany: New Faces, Old Policies
Medea Benjamin - Nicolas J. S. Davies
The Iraq Death Toll 15 Years After the US Invasion
Binoy Kampmark
Amazon’s Initiative: Digital Assistants, Home Surveillance and Data
Chuck Collins
Business Leaders Agree: Inequality Hurts The Bottom Line
Jill Richardson
What We Talk About When We Talk About “Free Trade”
Eric Lerner – Jay Arena
A Spark to a Wider Fire: Movement Against Immigrant Detention in New Jersey
Negin Owliaei
Teachers Deserve a Raise: Here’s How to Fund It