LaborTalk for July 8, 2011

Obama and Boehner Seek a $4 Trillion Deal
That Could Wipe Out Millions of Jobs

By Harry Kelber

President Barack Obama and John A Boehner, the Republican Speaker of the House, have been meeting in private to decide on how to agree on the terms of a $4 trillion deal that will affect the lives of tens of millions of Americans for years to come.

The two men will decide on the mix of more spending cuts and new taxes they can agree on to raise the ceiling of the federal government's authority to borrow.

The negotiators have had no recommendations on how to create the millions of jobs that are urgently needed. In fact, the problems of the unemployed have not even been mentioned.

Obama has acknowledged "we have not done enough" and "we must do better." Boehner says unemployment is caused by government spending beyond its means.

In fact, if the two political leaders agree on more spending cuts, they will be increasing the number of unemployed workers who will be the ultimate victims of their spending cuts.

Raising the Debt Ceiling Won't Create Jobs

The June employment reports should convince both Democrats and Republicans that the nation's severe unemployment crisis won't go away without strong action by Congress, the White House and Corporate America.

The June unemployment data was sobering evidence that our economic recovery is still fragile. The national unemployment rate rose to 9.2 percent and the number of new jobs for the month was a puny 18,000.

There are 14.1 million people listed officially as unemployed. Since March, the number of jobless persons has increased by 545,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. (BLS). And what about providing jobs for the 125,000 people a month who are entering the labor force?

* * * * *

In his effort to get Republicans to raise the debt ceiling, Obama has been willing to accept spending cuts in Medicare, Medicaid and possible changes in Social Security. It is not clear which — and how many — programs that serve the poor and the elderly he is willing to cut, so that we can all share in the "pain."

Americans can't be hostages to the decisions of an Obama-Boehner agreement, without widespread public discussion before it is presented to Congress. And let's not forget the unemployed.

LaborTalk will be posted here on July 12, 2011 and on our two web sites and on

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