Tier V, Finalized: No Extension, New Job Focus
by: Paul Dewitt Goree May 31, 2010 LVNV
A final decision concerning Tier V benefits was announced, May 27, 2010 by Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi. Pelosi suggested that the GOP have delayed Tier V extension by using stalling tactics and adding an additional 250 amendments to the delay H.R. 4213. (1) But those tactics weren’t 100% effective, for Congress did pass H.R. 4213 and H.R. 4851, which extended benefits for Tier III and Tier IV till December 2010. The bill also provided extended C.O.B.R.A. coverage, but did not provide extended weeks passage beyond, 99 weeks already provided.
Although the explanation was not clear, Pelosi, suggested that the administration intends on focusing on job creation. When questioned if the efforts of the 99ers were immaterial, Pelosi stated, “No. This bill will go until the end of November, at that time we’ll take up something, but not between now and then,” (2) The entire Pelosi taping is available from C-SPAN at http://www.c-spanarchives.org/program/ID/225026.
In prior entries, I stated Tier V, No Questions To Ask? Yet now several questions come to mind, by which I believe the rest of America is also questioning. To full understand America current state of unemployment. I want to start with President Obama intentions. After his election and more recently in February 2010. President Obama made it clear that his intention regarding the state of unemployment were to reduce unemployment below 9.8% by the end of 2010. And to have it maintained at about 8% by 2012. (3) Obama made it clear, that in order for the deficit to be reduced and unemployment to be lowed, the nation would have to experience economic growth. Consumer re-assurance had to be established, thus confidence to purchase increased.
The Obama administration created a through act titled American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (aka the Stimulus Plan) which was to create 3.5 million jobs. I want to point out some of the impressive sections of the act. The act objective was to revitalize the economy, by accomplish the following:
1.)Establish Job Creation and Lower Unemployment
2.)Relief For Struggling Families
3.)Direct Assistance For Homeowners
4.)Re-organize Mortgage Lenders
For the purpose of this entry I will only focus on the Establishment of Job Creation/Lowering Unemployment. With the nation having lost more than 500,000 job, Obama’s approach to unemployment focused on a “PRO-JOB” tactic.(3) In theory, the creation of job, not only benefit the economy growth, but also would aid in the reduction of unemployment. To accomplish this Obama’s administration, created a job tax credit. This credit provided employers with a $3,000 refundable tax credit for each additional full-time employee hired.
Next, the administration eliminated capital gains taxes on small business investments. This also included tax cuts for small business struggling with health care for their employees or energy cost. The purpose of this tax cut was to provide small businesses with an incentive to invest in their businesses, without the fear of taxing themselves into debit. These investments could also result in job creations as some business might decide to expand. Finally the most impressive project of this act was to save 1 million jobs by emergency funding for America’s infrastructure. In the beginning it was estimated that $25 billion dollars would be used to rebuild roads, bridges and repair schools across the nation. (4)
Obama‘s administration had committed $344 billion, of which $179 billion actually was spent. Also spent was $119 billion in tax cuts. (5) Criticism of the distribution of funds was immediately declared by many states including my state of Nevada, were disappointed with the lack of the stimulus money received in ratio to population. The White House’s Annual report, detailed all the funds obligated to The Recovery Act and listed them, as received by each state. Larger states with higher populations, such as California and New York received more funds that less populated states such as New Mexico and Nevada. I would like to point out that during this time, Nevada lead the nation in home foreclosures and unemployment. At that time Nevada had only received $984 million dollars, New Mexico $945 million. Where as New York had received $1.2 billion dollars and Michigan $1.1 billion dollars. (estimated totals)(5) Many believe that politics played a role in the distribution of these funds. However I tend to disagree, seeming the House Majority Harry Reid, represents the state of Nevada and fought hard to get recovery dollars for our state. The notion of foul play, does not seem a logical possibility.
Criticism also came from business owners, CEO Lynn Tilton of Patriarch Partners, an equity company based New York City and Charlotte, N.C. (6)
Tilton found fault in two of Obama’s proposal. First giving $30 billion dollar of TARP funds to community banks in hopes of spurring loans to small businesses. Second providing $100 billion in tax credit for small business, including the $3,000 tax credit for each new employee hired. Tilton suggest these actions are ill-fated and stated, “the things he’s talking about do not get to the core of the issue…” Tilton believed that giving money to small banks, would only result in small banks doing as larger banks do: Sitting on the funds and not leading them out, because they do not have the resources to deal with these distressed business. The reason the tax credit for new hiring will fail according to Tilton, is because it does not address the core issue, that many of these companies may want to hire new employees and receive the tax credit, yet simply lack the capital to do so. Tilton suggestion for spurring economic growth and decrease the unemployment levels, hardcore decisions would have to be implemented, that place tariffs on other countries and force the ideology of BUY AMERICA among American industries, state departments and consumers. (7)
In response to the criticism, the Obama administration pointed out, it’s intent to fight for fair trade. To begin with, the administration suggested, a revision of NAFTA is urgently needed. In addition to this revision, an end of tax breaks to companies that send jobs oversees. Obama also introduced the Patriot Employer Act of 2007, with Senator Richard Durbin (D-ILL) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH). This act rewarded companies that created jobs in the United States for American workers. An example of one of these act in work, can be seen in the recent activities of Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY). Senator Schumer propose legislation which will charge American companies that transfer customers to an over-sees call center. The fee would be .25 cent per call, and require companies to produce a quarterly report of their customer service call activities. Schumer stated, “If we want to put a stop to the outsourcing of American jobs, then we need to provide incentives for American companies to keep American jobs here…also provides a reason for companies that have already outsourced jobs to bring them back” (8) I fully support Senator Schumer for when I was employed, I was a Customer Service Representative in a call center. I had been employed in that industry for more than 15 years. And I am disappointed that some of my prior employers have switched entire call centers to countries such as India.
As in prior entries, I have always made a comparison of President Obama with Franklin D. Roosevelt. For those following these comparisons, I couldn’t write this entry without detailing Roosevelt’s NEW DEAL, particularly The Works Project Administration. The Works Project Administration (WPA) was established in 1939. It was the largest agency of the New Deal. It’s entire purpose was JOB CREATION. These jobs would employee millions of American in public work projects focused on infrastructure development, through the nation. Expenditures for WPA totaled $7 billion dollars, and was successful as it provided needed jobs and community development.
As with all political ordeals, the program and it’s successful results were criticized for wasting tax payers dollars. More importantly the criticism, suggested that taxes dollars were being wasted as foreman and management of the working crew, stalled in production, seeming payment would be guaranteed regardless of the results. (9) Criticism as it is, does not diminish the fact that Roosevelt and his administration did an excellent job, with the implementation of the New Deal and projects such as WPA. WPA was terminated by Congress as the United States entered WWII in 1941. There is no estimating the millions of Americans WPA assisted as this nation, witnessed it worst depression.
As Obama turns his immediate focus from benefits extension to job creation. I can’t help but correlate those efforts to WPA. Hopefully in November, we will see Tier V benefit enacted by Congress, but till I suggest we adhere to, quotes from Franklin D. Roosevelt. First during these difficult times it’s important that we all remember “ When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.” and “It takes a long time to bring the past up to the present.” In no way does these quotes suggest surrendering effort or intent, but simply signifying PATIENCE is needed during times such as these. So I will be patience, but as active as I can be to establish employment and keep faith in President Obama and his administration, seeming it was me who voted for his election into The White House.
1.) T. Cahill, The GOP Kills Tier V, us unemployed.blogspot.com , May 27, 2010
2.) Arthur Delaney, Tier 5: Pelosi Says No To More Weeks Of Unemployment Benefits The Huffington Report, May 27, 2010
3.) Lori Montgomery and Michael A. Fletcher, Obama budget calls for new
spending to lower unemployment, help middle class, Washington Post
February 2, 2010
4.) The Obama-Biden Plan. May 31, 2010 http://www.change.gov
5.) Matthew Bandyk, The Stimulus: States Getting the Most Money So Far. USNEWS February 22, 2010
6.) Swap Fox, Patriarch Partners, LLC acquires American LaFrance
Charleston Regional Development Alliance Dec 15, 2005
7.) Arron Task, Private-Equity Mogul Tilton Say Obama’s Job Proposal
Won’t Do Jack Business Insider February 2, 2010
8 ) Associated Press, Schumer Wants To Slow Exodus of US Call
Call Center Post Star May 30, 2010
9.) Howard; Donald S. The WPA and Federal Relief Policy (1943)