Don Davis

On Saving 319,000 Jobs

Filed By Don Davis | August 10, 2010 10:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Barack Obama, Congress, election 2010, Jobs, Pelosi, politics, Unemployment

Across my desk have some documents that report how many jobs will be saved by the House 124.jpgcoming back into session to vote out H.R. 1586 and send it to the President for his signature. Long story short, after all the commemorative pens have been distributed about 319,000 more people will be working, including 161,000 more teachers who will be in class this year then there would have been there if it wasn't for this bill. As it happens, that many teachers is actually about 25,000 more people than the total number of workers in all of America's coal mines combined. It's going to cost $10 billion for the "save the teacher's jobs" part of the bill; another $16.1 billion will be paid to states to help them pay for their share of Medicare expenses this fiscal year, that will allow them to avoid laying off the remaining 158,000 workers, many of whom are working for someone like Child Protective Services or are State Troopers or are working for your State's Department of Corrections. About 80,000 of those jobs are private sector jobs, as contractors who work for the various states are also kept on the job.
To give you an idea of just how many teachers we're talking about, Florida will have 9200 more this fall than they would have otherwise, Illinois will have 5700 more, Kentucky, 2200 more, and in California there'll be about 16,500 more teachers in the classrooms this fall than if this bill wasn't going to pass. You can look up how many more teachers your State is estimated to have this fall at a handy page on the House Committee on Education and Labor's website. I don't have a handy chart for the remaining workers, but if those jobs are more or less distributed the same way you could expect California, as an example, to save a total of about 33,000 jobs with just this one bill, and Florida to save about 18,000. How badly do states need the money? By an amazing coincidence, as I'm putting this story together I'm watching tonight's "The Rachel Maddow Show", and sure as life, she's working the same story. She said that Paul Krugman is reporting that several states are literally unpaving their roads because they can't afford to maintain them any more. So here's the best part: it's all paid for by closing a variety of tax loopholes and recovering money that wasn't being used from other programs, so no new deficit spending or additions to debt are required. The tax loopholes? They take aim at the various methods multinational companies are using to shield US income from US tax collectors; these mostly involve getting a Post Office box in the Cayman Islands, or something similar, and more or less claiming all your US business is derived from your new "regional office," or that you believe you paid all your income taxes on your US income to some other government. Our Republican friends are going nutty about this, claiming, as John Boehner just did on "Meet The Press", that: "...they want to raise the taxes on the American people." This is particularly tough for Republicans because they're dying to save The Bush Tax Cuts For The Really, Really Rich, all $800 billion worth of them, without explaining how they would be paid for, all the while complaining about the much, much, lower cost of paying for saving these 300,000 jobs--and, in the very next sentence, saying they hate deficits. If you check out the transcript from that "Meet the Press" interview, you'll see that David Gregory asked Boehner about how he planned on paying for the $800 billion in tax cuts he wants, three different times, and he wouldn't give a straight answer once. So when people ask you "What's Washington doing about jobs?" you can tell them they're not only saving about a third of a million of the jobs that fight fires, put criminals in jail, and teach your kids this fall--and paying for it, to boot--but those smaller classrooms are also making it more likely that your kids will have better jobs when they grow up; all of that without much help from our Republican friends, who's biggest job right now seems to be figuring out how to borrow another $800 billion from you and China to give away to their wealthiest friends. Which is its own special kind of job. I'm pretty sure the word "snow" is somehow involved in the job description.

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The Republicans want a balanced budget and I agree. Here's the recipe that will do it. 3 items.

1. Bring all troops home from foreign deployments.
2. Add a $2.00 per gallon tax on all oil consumption.
3. Let the Bush tax cuts expire.

"The Republicans want a balanced budget"

Very funny Deena!

"Dwight Eisenhower was last Republican President to preside over a balanced budget. He had a balanced budget in 1956 and 1957. Since then, there have been two presidents to preside over balanced budgets, LBJ in 1969 and Clinton in 1998 through 2001. During the last 40 years there have been five budget surpluses, all five were under Democratic Presidents: 1969, 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2001."

i read deena's "republicans want..." comment as ironic--but if it wasn't meant that way, your recitation of history is directly on point.

on a side note...if you really want to cut the federal budget, medicare/medicade is the thing.

health care cost inflation is killing us as a country, the federal government is already funding 50% of us heath care spending through taxes, and the largest "unfunded liability" in the federal budget going forward is medicare/medicade costs.

the four largest items in the federal budget are, in no particular order, medicare/medicade, defense, interest on debt, and social security.

these four are more than 80% of the federal budget, so any serious cutting involves cutting these four items.

Don if you would simply plot the history of healthcare costs as a percent of GDP for the last thirty years against the loss of American jobs you would see that the problem is not healthcare but the removal of the very vibrancy of our economy through the idiocy of "free trade" where we depleted the income of workers and supported the whole economy through a period of reducing interest rates and providing purchasing power through refinancing of assets such as homes. As long as families could refinance inflated values on assets and have payments about the same as before then they could buy cars and pay for college but the real economic base of jobs shrank each and every year. The reason the healthcare costs grew from 8% of GDP to 16% was because the rest of the economy was not expanding at a rate sufficient to keep them at 8% of the economy. That also accounts for the federal deficit because you can't tax income that has been exported to foreign manufacturing.

This mess is bigger than the pundits can grasp. It will be corrected only through a massive devaluation of the dollar. The result of that will be gas at somewhere around $25.00 per gallon and a commensurate huge increase in the cost of imported goods. It will be painful and you can expect riots, starvation, increased crime, government seizure of the internet and many other effects that are "abominations". It doesn't have to be that way but Congress is populated by attorneys and paid for by lobbyists so it will be that way. A leveling must occur. As these things come to pass those who currently enjoy nice incomes will also find themselves reduced to scratching for a living. The ultra wealthy elite will escape but that is less than 1% of the population.

Does that sound gloomy? Here's the upside. DADT will be irrelevant and nobody will care who gets married. ENDA will have no meaning and become a footnote in history. Churches will file bankruptcy by the thousands and Walmart will relocate its headquarters to China. The entire advertising industry, Wall Street, Hollywood and most media will vaporize.

Nobody like a prophet. Bring it on.

i pretty much agree with the entire first paragraph of your comment word for word...except that the history of healthcare inflation guarantees that health care would still become a larger and larger share of the economy, even if we were doing better at dealing with undermployment, and more importantly, distributing personal income gains more widely, the way we should have been in this economy over the past few decades.

here's why:

price inflation in the larger economy has been around 3% per year for most of the time since the mid 80s, but healthcare costs have been rising at about 7% per year over the same period.

during that time we had one of the greatest increases in industrial productivity in world history as the computer came to the workplace.

to put some numbers to that, united states gdp grew from $2.72 trillion in 1980 to $14.5 trillion in 2010; this according to the bureau of economic analysis.

that "7% beats 3%" mathematical reality is a big piece of what's been going on here...and will continue to go one here, uless we find some solutions...but in thinking about all this, it's also fair to point out that a lot of that gdp growth was concentrated in a smaller group of the population, not evenly distributed, and that may actually be a better way of describing "what's wrong with the american worker" today.

You are right, Don ... plus, the American population is getting older, and older people require more intensive health care. That's another reason that health care costs are rising faster than the GDP.

It's also a major reason why Social Security is in trouble long-term, because fewer and fewer current workers are paying in to support more and more retirees, especially as the Boomers retire.

i should have added that the uneven income distribution i'm talking about did manifest itself in people leveraging their homes for extra income--but it's also fair to note that a big piece of mortgage financing was speculative (and i'm counting "exotic" loans in this category) in the sense that the owners were either hoping to flip the houses at some point, or hoping that they could continue to roll over "teaser" rates until they could grow some equity.

i'm going to just address item one of your suggestions, because it's actually the basis of a story i haven't yet written and have meant to for months.

it is true that we could achieve a significant reduction is defense costs by reducing either our international commitments, or, for that matter, by reducing our desire to be able to defend against two attacks at once...but it is worth noting that as we withdraw to the us there will be "mini arms races" around the world as realignments take place.

for example, taiwan, south korea, and japan will need to increase the size of their military forces; this will be seen as threatening by north korea and china, who will respond.

pakistan and india will presumably increase the size of their forces aligned against each other, and we assume every country in the middle east would be looking to put much larger force structures in place.

so, i guess what i'm saying is that i like what you want to do, and i think we need to have a national discussion about how to get it done (and i don't see the "political leadership class" as being ready to seriously have that discussion)...but as we have that discussion we need to be thinking about the impact of what we're going to do, so that we don't find ourselves creating problems we wish we hadn't.

Let's see ... the Republicans are saying, "(1) Let's vote down this jobs bill, so that (2) the economy and our governments will be that much worse off, and (3) the voters will get that much more angry, and (4) vote us into power in November."

Gee, now what could possibly be wrong with this picture?

i love this plan...if i'm newt gingrich and it's 1994--but if i recall, bill clinton, despite his impeachment, was reelected...and today gingrich is just a-wishin' it wasn't impossible for him to be elected president.


the blind ignorance for what's going to come of all this right wing nuttiness is amazing for me to witness, and it's looking like the voters ain't buying it either, from nevada's sharron angle to ny-23 to pretty much all the primaries i've seen so far...and so i guess the best answer to your question is that they're finding out what could go wrong, and i think it's starting to hurt.

I loved Obama's line yesterday, "They say this bill panders to special interests. If you're children are a special interest to you, then I suppose they're right." Dead. On. Target.

steny hoyer said almost the same thing, word for word, at the end of the house debate yesterday, and i love it, and i wish we wee hearing more comments like it:

"I don't understand how anyone, Democrat or Republican, can be against keeping teachers in the classroom, keeping cops on the beat, and keeping firefighters protecting our homes.

But some who oppose this bill cynically call teachers, cops, firefighters, and nurses ``special interests.''

That's how they will justify their vote against this bill--but with the very same vote, Mr. Speaker, they will vote to protect corporations that exploit the tax code to outsource American jobs.

How first responders are ``special interests'' and those corporations are not, is beyond me--but I'm eager to hear my Republican friends explain it.

I wish Democrats wouldn't buy into the "balanced budget" rhetoric. The government doesn't need a balanced budget - in fact, when it has one of those it normally leads to recession. It needs to sell bonds, those help the economy grow by making money more accessible to people who work and loosening up credit. Spending is far too low as it is - lenders aren't lending that much money, wages are stagnant, and lots of people are unemployed, all while we, as a modern democracy, are facing the prospect of deflation.

But you go to war with the Democrats you have, not the ones you wish you had. I guess asking for sound economic policy means that I must be on drugs and want Canada to invade the US or something.

i think we're all indebted to alex for clearly saying what needed to be said.

i'm particularly glad these lovely children were here today to read that comment.

not only was it authentic donald rumsfeld gibberish, but it expresses a courage little seen in this day and age!

blazing saddles jokes aside, i heard two comments today that, together, paint a picture of today's us economy that rings fairly true to me:

there is a lot of liquidity sitting around in the financial system, but at the same time lending standards have they should have...and the downside of that is that it's much harder for small businesses to get access to loans and lines of credit, at favorable interest rates, than they might have had access to in previous times, even though the money is sitting there, waiting to be lent.

combined with that is the fact that consumers, one at a time, are improving their own balance sheets by spending less, saving more, and paying down accumulated they should be...and the downside of that is reduced consumer demand in the us economy--and if you put all that together, it confuses the hell out of me, but i'm pretty sure the next step is a great big "jobs and investment" program, and the one i suggested involves lots of windmills and will actually pay for itself over time.

after i reread this i realized i better mention that i wasn't trying to call what you're saying gibberish...more that i loved the rumsfeld reference, and i just couldn't resist a blazing saddles response.

Lili Von Shtupp: Oh, it's twue. It's twue. It's twue, it's twue!