Another Jobless Jobs Bill

September 26, 2012

Democrats furious that Republicans refuse to support veterans jobs bill creating zero jobs for veterans

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Last week, Democrats failed to pass S. 3457, the ‘‘Veterans Jobs Corps Act of 2012’’, falling two votes shy when Republicans forced a point-of-order vote, as the bill exceeded spending limits contained in the Budget Control Act.  Had it passed, the measure would have created zero jobs for unemployed, post-9/11 veterans.

Co-sponsor Patty Murray (D, WA) implied her Republican colleagues were using veterans as “political pawns.”  Just before the vote on S. 3457, Senate Democrats shot down a similar GOP bill that would have also created zero jobs for veterans.  Both sides accused the other of being out of touch.

Across the social media interwebs, angry proglodytes slandered Republicans as heartless bastards for depriving needy veterans of zero jobs.

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Potential Jobs

What exactly would the brainchild of Murray and Bill Nelson (D, FL) have done?

  • Create a pilot program “to assess the feasibility and advisability of providing veterans seeking employment with access to computing facilities” to match vet’s jobs skills with available jobs;
  • Ensure that there are at least one disabled veterans’ outreach program specialist and one local veterans’ employment representative per 5,000 square miles”;
  • Require States to consider military training “when approving or denying a commercial driver’s license” or EMT certificate;
  • Conduct a trial program to provide retraining programs at off-base locations.

These impactful initiatives, costing $1 billion over five years, were to have been funded by making passport applicants pay their back taxes.  Nelson had the gall to call the bill, which was essentially a glorified online resumé bank, “commonsense legislation.”  Tom Coburn (R, OK) described it as “a gimmick” and “crap.”   (Coburn was later caught on a live mic describing the kettle as “black.”)

Check that list again to see if any actual jobs would have been created.  Nope, zero.  But wait — advocates insisted the measure would have “potentially created jobs for up to 20,000 veterans.

That’s $50,000 per potential job.  According to White House figures, 707,000 vets are unemployed.  At this rate, it would cost $35,350,000,000 to provide each of them with a potential job.  We’d need to spend $1,000,000,000,000 to give every unemployed person in America a potential job.

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Redundant

‘Even so,’  you say, ‘surely we ought to do something to help veterans find jobs?’  Of course.  We already do.

In August, the White House bragged that its Joining Forces Initiative had exceeded its goal of 125,000 vets hired by private employers.  The same companies pledged to hire another 250,000 by 2014.  The top participant in the program, Amazon.com, actively seeks out veterans, and did so long before any financial incentives were offered by the government.

The bipartisan Vow to Hire Heroes Act, signed into law last November, established a slew of job assistance programs with catchy names:

  • The Veterans Job Bank, aneasy to use online service that connects unemployed veterans to job openings with companies that want to hire them”, lists over half a million jobs openings “specifically targeted at Veterans”;
  • My Next Move for Veterans, an “easy-to-use online tool … that allows veterans to enter information about their experience and skills in the field, and match it with civilian careers”;
  • A Veteran Gold Card allows post-9/11 veterans to “access six months of personalized case management, assessments and counseling at the roughly 3,000 One-Stop Career Centers located across the country.”;
  • Hero 2 Hired (H2H), a “comprehensive employment program … that offers everything a … job seeker needs to find their next opportunity” — job listings, those indispensable “career exploration tools,” training resources, “virtual career fairs,” plus nifty Facebook and mobile apps;
  • The Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP) for 45,000 qualified applicants each year;
  • A hundred hiring fairs sponsored by the Dept. of Commerce, which also went to the considerable effort of creating “strategic partnerships to deal with specific populations of veterans and their unique challenges”;

There’s also a Military Spouse Employment Partnership, a Wounded Warrior Transition Assistance Program, and yet another “virtual employment resource center”, VetSuccess.gov. 

So you can see how GOP senators are such evil fucks for refusing to spend $1 billion on another online job bulletin board.
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CCC My Ass

S. 3457’s sponsors said the bill was “inspired by”  FDR’s Civilian Conservation Corps.  It’s nothing of the sort.

The CCC was operated by the Army and directly employed 250,000 young men at a time, providing them good pay, shelter, food and clothing. They planted 3 billion trees, created 800 new parks, upgraded nearly every state park in the nation, stocked nearly a billion fish, built hundreds of thousands of miles of roads and trails, performed erosion control on 40 million acres of farmland, and spend 6.5 million work-days fighting fires.  The CCC ran for nine years, cost a bargain $3 billion, and gainfully employed a total of 2.5 million.

S. 3567 is a resumé posting service.

We’re 1,345 days into obama’s administration, and that’s the best he and the Democrats can come up with.  In comparison:

March 4, 1933  FDR takes office

March 27           CCC bill introduced to Congress

March 31           Congress passes CCC

April 7                First enrollee

July 1                  1,500 CCC camps running with 317,000 participants

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200,000 Chain Saws

The two parties in power offer conflicting approaches to job creation.  Democrats rely on a recipe of hiring incentives, retraining programs, re-invent Monster.com several times over, more retraining programs.  The GOP places it faith in tax breaks, tax breaks, spam, easing regulations, tax breaks, and spam. Truth is, neither the Gops nor the Dems have any clue whatsoever how to create jobs, for veterans or anyone else.

As noted above, under the Democrats’ brilliant plan, it would take $35 billion to help every unemployed vet check online to see if by chance a job was waiting for them.  I have a plan to use that dough to give 250,000 out-of-work vets — the same number the CCC employed — a job for the next three years.  And I’ll put them to good use, clearing the dangerously overgrown forests of the American West.

Wildfires consumed a record number of acres this season, costing billions in damages and related costs.  Thanks to global warming, wildfires are seven times worse than they were in the 1970’s.  Unless the overgrowth is cleared, things will only get worse.

I’ll ask the US Military to provide some planning and logistical support gratis, and the program is fully funded without need to increase the federal deficit.

I call it the War on Forest Fires Program (WOFF)

Scope

WOFF is a three-year program with a goal of:  a) reducing wildfire volume by 1/3;  b) providing gainful employment and on-the-job training for 250,000 veterans currently without jobs.

WOFF will employ crews of ex-military personnel across the Western United States to clear overgrown brush and trees on Federal, State, and local land.  Private landowners will be able to contract with WOFF to clear their land.

The total cost of the program is $35.7 billion, and is fully funded by savings in the military budget.  WOFF will also generate significant cost savings to the Federal, state, and local governments in the billions of dollars, resulting from reduced losses to wildfire.  Additional benefits will be acrued from indirect stimulus of the economy through purchases.

Personnel & Salary

All 227,000 unemployed veterans of the post-9/11 era will be employed in fuel-reduction activities.  Pay will be based on experience and former rank. They will receive, on average, the median the 2012 Army E5 salary, or c. $34,000.

A further 23,000 veterans of the Gulf war era will be hired for supervisory and administrative roles.  Pay will be based on experience and former rank. They will receive, on average, the high end of the 2012 Army E6 salary, or c. $40,000.

Housing, food, and clothing will be provided for all participants in the program, as will travel expenses for regular familial visits.

During the fire season, the entire compliment of WOFF will be available to augment existing civilian fire-fighting personnel.

Salary

Old vets             $2.8 billion

Young vets       $25.9 billion

Total salary      $28.7 billion

Equipment

Forestry equipment will be purchased from American manufacturers.  While the actual equipment required will be diverse, the following examples can serve as a rough estimate of costs (extensions reflect a 15% volume discount.)

Item                   Qty.            Ext.

pulaski             216,000    $27,000,000

chain saw       216,000    $171,000,000

‘bobcat’              10,000   $204,000,000

forestry dozer     1,000    $102,000,000

Total equipment               $504,000,000

All additional equipment and materials shall be provided on loan, at no charge, from the US Military.

Administrative Costs & Supplies

Assume 25% overhead based on salaries.

$6.5 billion

Total Program Cost

$35.7 billion

Funding

To fund the program, I shall not rely on passport applications.  First thing we need to do is end the war in Afghanistan.  It’s costing us $300 million a day, and I’m earmarking the first 119 days’ of savings for WOFF.

Alternately, 23 of the 4,702 oversees military bases (4.9%) can be shut down for an average savings of $1.5 billion per base.

Program Benefits

Significant financial benefits will be realized from WOFF.

A detailed analysis by The Western Forestry Leadership Coalition estimates the total costs of wildfires exceeds $3,000 per acre.

To date in 2012, 8.7 million acres have burned in the United States, for a total cost of around $30 billion dollars.

If WOFF’s goal of reducing fires by 1/3 is achieved, the program will have paid for itself in just over three years.

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How Hard Can it Be?

It took FDR 36 days to put a quarter of a million men back to work with the CCC — just one of the many programs he implemented in his first 100 days.  The current Dems and Gops in Washington have spent the past twelve years bickering, posturing, and floating asinine schemes while our economy dies and one in five can’t find work.

As my back-of-the-envelope exercise above shows, It shouldn’t be that hard to come up with real solutions to our pressing problems.  Yet, apparently, it is beyond the faculties of our Congress and our President.

Patty Murray and Bill Nelson are incompetent, delusional imbeciles.  Their colleagues in Congress, on both sides of the aisle, are all incompetent, delusional imbeciles.  (Bernie Sanders gets a pass.) So, let’s fire the lot of them and elect instead some ordinary citizens with brains and real common sense.

And vote for Jill Stein.

(c) 2012 by True Liberal Nexus.  All rights reserved.

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Remarks by the President on the Monthly Jobs Report

July 10, 2011




My fellow Americans,

I’m happy to report that I’ve finally found a solution to the jobs crisis — I’m blaming it on Congress.

You see, while I’m ready to roll up my sleeves over the next several weeks and next several months, Congress is lollygagging.  This is so frustrating!  I’ve urged Congress not to wait, but to act right now on some brilliant proposals of mine:

  • Invest in rebuilding our roads and our bridges and our railways and our infrastructure.  (I came up with this one);
  • Streamline our patent process.  Widgets & wangdoodles would already be pouring out of American factories, if Congress would only vote on the patent bill sitting there right now;
  • Advance trade agreements that will help businesses sell more American-made goods and services to Asia and South America.  Congress could do that today. That could be done right now.

There are all sorts of bills and trade agreements before Congress right now that could get all these ideas moving. All of them have bipartisan support. All of them could pass immediately. And I urge Congress not to wait.

It’s really not fair that Congress’ inaction is forcing me to work on this, because I’ve already done so much.  In December, I boosted the economy by signing a tax cut that put a thousand dollars in the pockets of American families, which is nothing to sneeze at when you’ve been out of work for over a year.

A lot of middle-class families sure would feel more secure if they knew that tax cut will still be around next year. That’s a change that we could make right now, by making cuts to Social Security.  But Congress is too lazy.

I admit, it’s not entirely Congress’ fault that our economy sucks so bad.   There are many other things I can blame, from natural disasters and spikes in gas prices, to state and local budget cuts.  And those Greeks and Europeans had to go and ruin everything by giving investors the jitters.

These economic challenges weren’t created overnight — they’re W’s fault.  So don’t expect me to solve them overnight — I’ll need another four years at the least.

I get letters from folks hit hard by this economy.  Some of them pour their guts out in these letters. They feel that leaders in Washington have let them down.  To them, I say:  yes, Congress has let you down.

You can see how I’m busting my butt.  But I can only concentrate on one thing at a time, and we can’t solve the jobs crisis until we solve the debt ceiling crisis first. To put our economy on a sounder footing, we’ve got to rein in our deficits and get the government to live within its means, while still making the investments to make us more competitive in the future.  I’ve urged Congress to quickly move in both these contradictory directions, but they refuse to budge.

Still, we’ve had some good meetings with Congress.  We had a good meeting yesterday, and we’re gonna meet again today.  We’re gonna work through the weekend to solve this crisis with as many meetings as it takes.

Once the markets know that we have a serious plan to deal with our debt and deficit, they’ll start investing to grow and hire.  That’ll provide more confidence to the rest of the world as well, so that they are committed to investing in America.  And then — Presto! — the economy will be fixed, and I can go back to my real job, running for re-election.

I’ll keep you updated on my progress.

— Barack


(c) 2011 by True Liberal Nexus.  All rights reserved.


A Two-Minute Drill

November 3, 2010

Those of you who closely followed last night’s election results may be perplexed by my assurance that the Democrats still retain sizable majorities in both the House and the Senate.

True, the 112th Congress will be dominated by TP/GOP newcomers, but the 111th Congress still has one session left to go, and Dems would be foolish to waste it.

If obama’s feeble electioneering efforts can be compared to a batter in baseball taking a called third strike to end the game, a football analogy better applies to this lame duck Congress.  The two-minute warning has sounded, but the Dems still have the ball.  Instead of taking a knee, they should employ a hurry-up offense to drive down the field and put up at least a field goal before the Half.

The players to lead this drive should be QB Russ Feingold and the other numerous Senators and House members who will shortly be benched.   No time for huddles, just run a few set plays  —  HR 676, for example.  First drafted in 2003, and submitted every year since, HR 676 is a real universal healthcare reform bill that would really work.  Its 88 co-sponsors expected it to finally be debated in 2009, but the bill was rudely shoved aside to make way for the lemming march for the perverse “obamacare”.

It took a resounding drubbing to pound into these politicians’ thick heads that obama was toxic.  As lame-ducks, they have nothing to lose — allegiance to obama cost them their jobs.  In contrast, they have much to gain — to have any hope of reviving their careers, they must jump from this sinking ship.  Overtly telling obama to ‘shove it’ will be both cathartic and constructive.

Passing HR 676 would also effectively repeal obamacare, thus beating the GOP to the punch.  An on-sides kick, if you will, to boldly retake possession of the agenda.

During this final session, a slew of true liberal legislation ought to be brought before the House, no matter how slim the chances of passage, if only to show what these particular Democrats stand for.  Feingold’s Rebels could also pass numerous non-binding resolutions declaiming the wrong direction taken over the past two years.  For an electorate that sullenly voted in the last three elections against one party then the other, these parting pieces of legislation would give a reason to vote for the Dems in 2012.

The clock’s running — snap the ball, Russ!


(c) 2010 by ‘tamerlane’.  All rights reserved.