Last week the heat was on the U.S. Senate to extend federal unemployment benefits. The bill was defeated.. The unemployed and jobless are understandably angry, discouraged and dismayed at the failure of the federal legislative process.
For the past week, these feelings have been vented by commentators, reporters and the news media in the form of who's to blame. I decided to take a step back and think deeply about the problem of joblessness. I think that the time for blame is over. The blame game distracts from the fundamental problem -- where are the jobs. Now, it is time for solutions. Over the next few weeks, I will examiner the question -- Where are the jobs?
In this process, I read about the recent efforts of Indiana's House Majority Leader Patrick Bauer to determine how many jobs have been created by Indiana's State government through business tax breaks and incentives.
As reported by the Chicago Tribune on June 22, 2010:
"The head of the Indiana Economic Development Corp. is defending the agency's practice of giving companies incentive to locate jobs and projects in Indiana.
Mitch Roob says the agency secured 637 decisions by companies to locate projects in Indiana from 2005 through 2008. When the agency closed the books on 2009, it found 66 of those projects weren't providing the jobs promised.
Roob says only $13,000 in tax credits and about $125,000 in training dollars were deemed unrecoverable from those projects.
Democratic House Speaker Patrick Bauer had requested numbers from Roob."
The reality is that our elected officials have ignored the "jobs catastrophe," as stated by Dr. Larry Mischel before Rep. Jim McDermott's hearings on policy solutions for the long-term unemployed.
It is time for our local, state and federal governments to account for their efforts to create jobs. The Federal Government passed a huge stimulus plan at the beginning of the Obama presidency. It was to bail out the too big to fail banks. It was to fund shovel ready projects. It was to stop home foreclosures. What happened with the stimulus money? How many jobs have been created? How many jobs can Americans expect to be created in the near future?
It is also time to demand transparency similar to that sought by Speaker Bauer. This can be done through public information requests or freedom of information act requests. Send in your requests, demand the information needed for this fight.
I believe it is time for a new strategy and a new message -- We demand jobs NOW!
What do you think?
STAY TUNED: More examination of the politics of jobs.
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