By Marge Clark, BVM
June 01, 2012

What will best improve the economy, and provide steps to greater equity in this nations?  Jobs.  Jobs with fair pay, safe working conditions, benefits, ….

The unemployment report this morning reinforces that these jobs are needed NOW!

House leaders SAY they are proposing bills to increase jobs – when they put forward legislation providing further tax cuts for the wealthy and businesses.  They hold that these are the source of increased job creation.  Hmm.  We have had large tax cuts for the wealthy since 2001 and 2003 – a time when employment plummeted!  Many who did invest in jobs did so overseas.

Even if additional tax cuts would spur increased hiring, it would take time – time we don’t have!

One influence on jobs is purchasing power, particularly of middle- and lower-income workers – who spend on necessary things as soon as they have the money.  When they are not earning, they are unable to make purchases, and the need for manufacturing jobs falls.  When workers are not earning commensurate with their qualifications and work requirements, they are less likely to spend, hoping for better days.

However, House members are also stymieing the purchasing power of many workers:

  • force spending cuts to safety-net programs and block grants to states (BCA S.365  [6/11)], House budget proposal [3/12] and Reconciliation [4/12])have resulted in loss of over half-a-million government jobs in the last 27 months – 337,000 of these at a local level. These include jobs which help others develop and find work, among which are reduction of teachers and closure of “one-stop shops” which provide job training and job placement. In May, 2012, the government lost 13,000 jobs 3,300 of which were in education.
  • oppose legislation to make collective bargaining (for fair wages and conditions) more available
  • fail to bring H.R.1519 (Paycheck Fairness Act) to the floor (would help women come to parity in pay for comparable work (current estimates range from women’s pay being $.77 to $.83 to a dollar earned by a man in a comparable position)
  • introduce (4/18/12) the RAISE Act (H.R.4385) which would give employers the
    choice to provide differential pay, for the same work
  • plan, the week of June 4, to force deeper cuts to spending on infrastructure (H.R. 4348 and S.1813current conference negotiations) – which will further curtail jobs in the hard-hit construction industry.

Everyone should pressure members of Congress to support legislation that would bring greater job accessibility and equity to workers.

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