So Much To Talk About And Weigh In On: Iraq, Economy, POTUS and More

IMG_1845Let’s start with president Obama. I have seen in the news media a piling on of negative criticism of everything he does. Now I am not one of those that thinks he walks on water and if you have read any of my blog you’ll see the many things I disagree with him on and think he has done wrong. But, I feel like it’s open season to bash him everywhere, for everything and that’s not right.

Maybe presidents shouldn’t have second terms. I feel like this is a complete replay of the end of George Bush’s second term. Everyone criticized everything Bush had done and it was a negative spiral that encompassed the entire 8 years. What pisses me off about Obama is he doesn’t know messaging. He makes no attempt to talk about his successes and lets the right call him weak and taking America down a notch. All of Syria’s chemical weapons have been removed and are being destroyed. I shouldn’t have to read that in the newspapers, Obama and his team should be out there talking up these things. No, success does not speak for itself. People follow a narrative given to them by a lazy media. George Bush, or Karl Rove, was brilliant in convincing the media and American people that war was needed in Iraq. He had his entire team out the with excellent messaging talking about why it was essential. We know the results of that. But, the point is Obama makes no attempt to talk up his victories. That is a grave mistake because people don’t pay attention and listen to the squeaky wheel: Dick Cheney.

Iraq is a complete disaster. Anyone who claims that it’s Obama’s fault doesn’t understand the situation. If he had left 10k troops in Iraq that would not have stopped what’s going on now. When we had close to 200k troops there we couldn’t contain the situation. Bush opened a Pandoras Box with toppling Saddam. I believe that was the catalyst for the Arab Spring, the uprising in Syria. Yes, you can clearly state that Mr. Obama has not explained a coherent foreign policy. I think all of the criticism of him from the right is what makes our Country look weak. We should be united in times of crisis.

In my view, the only way the U.S. could make an impact on Iraq and Afghanistan is to have 1 million military troops in each state  there for about 100 years. We can’t remake those states, they need to want to remake them themselves.

Turning to domestic issues, again Obama has failed in messaging. He should know the basics; people pay half attention to issues and believe what they hear the most. Has the Obama team been out there saying this problem with the immigrant children coming here is that president Obama is following a law president Bush put into place? No, he and his team are not informing people of the facts. It was the Bush law that made it impossible to return children immediately. Instead, Obama says, I won’t go there for a photo op. The American people can see this as complete arrogance and being out of touch. Once again Obama is letting the GOP try to frame the story. When, what’s needed for Obama is for him and his team to get out there and talk about why they are doing what they are doing.

And, in reality, what most Americans are focused on is jobs and unemployment. I keep seeing articles about why the public doesn’t feel better about the ‘improving’ economy. That’s because it’s not improving for tens of millions of people. The public’s #1 focus is their economic security. With approximately 40 million adults unemployed and millions more only being able to find part time jobs this is why the public isn’t feeling good. It’s why they aren’t spending money. The unemployed don’t have money to spend. The employed are too fearful of losing their jobs.

No one is focusing on job creation, job growth and good paying jobs. Raising the minimum wage isn’t going to solve this. We need jobs that pay much more than that.

Whether warranted or not, people hold POTUS responsible for everything, especially the economy.



Long-Term #Unemployed Can’t Catch A Break, #Jobs Report Shows

ImageThis article from the Huffington Post is something everyone should read. While the media hypes the 175,000 number as something good; its actually the “break even” number to keep up with population growth. At this rate of job creation we wont be at full recovery until after 2020. The number of long term unemployed people has been estimated at anywhere from 4.2 million people to 89 million people. Seventy – three percent of Americans rank job creation as their number one priority. The Congress, President Obama, GOP and DEMS not one have proposed a job creation bill since September 2011. We have heard a lot of talk, and talk is meaningless.

A short snipped of the article please read the full article at

The ranks of the long-term unemployed have dwindled by 1 million since last year, but economists are uncertain whether they’re finding jobs or dropping out of the labor force. Only people who have actively searched for work within four weeks of the government’s survey count as unemployed.

Why Washington Saved the Economy, Then Permanently Destroyed the Labor Market

IMG_1266This is a must read article from the Atlantic that goes into great detail about how DC went full force to save the banking system but has done nothing about the longterm unemployment crisis. They clearly state the biggest crisis in our country now is the longterm unemployed.

Comparing Washington’s reaction to the banking crisis and the unemployment crisis shows how and why government focuses on the rich and ignores the rest.




In the last year, there has settled, even among the Democrats, a kind of reserved defeat that shows a stunning lack of urgency toward the crisis of long-term joblessness. From abandoning the payroll tax cut in late 2012, to quietly acceding to sequester, to going silent on unemployment, nearly all of Washington — not just the right — has essentially stopped talking about the most important economic issue of our time.

High-ranking Treasury officials officials I’ve spoken with on background couldn’t name any specific proposals they have to help the long-term unemployed. Instead, they’ve argued that general economic growth stuff, such as infrastructure spending, should be enough to put these 4 million people back to work. But the economic literature objects: Fighting vast long-term unemployment with general economic growth policies is like fighting pneumonia with Vitamin C.

So, why aren’t even Democrats scrambling to fight for the long-term unemployed?

That Shining City On a Hill ** How We Can Get There Again

IMG_1212Do you remember that shining city on a hill that Ronald Reagan used to talk about; do you remember when America was the envy of the world in every aspect from healthcare to education to freedom and lifestyle? What we Americans have put up with, or let happen, is just appalling. We arent even ranked in the top 10 for so many things, like life span, college/high school graduates, life style, infrastructure. Its really a travesty whats happened in the last 50 years or so. No one has vision, no one wants to talk about our Country in 2025, 2050. Instead, today we go for the sound bite in the hourly news cycle to see who is winning the media/popularity wars. I blame everyone for this, Mr. Obama, Congress, the American people. How did we let this happen?

Today our Country has 2 major problems an unemployment crisis and a long term debt crisis. Both sides of the isle are basically arguing over which should be addressed first or that only their issue is important. Its hard to imagine with todays petty politics that John F. Kennedy was able to challenge the American people to land a man on the moon and bring him back to earth safely within the decade. Something like that would never be agreed to now by the president and congress. But, that is exactly what we need. Forward thinking bold action. I wish George W. Bush said after 9/11 that we will stop using oil and find an affordable alternative within the decade. After all, its our money that we pay for oil that funds most terrorist. Imagine if he had done that and today we didnt import any oil and were just using renewable energy that was affordable. Think of the leverage we would have with places like Iran and other oil rich countries. Our money could be spent right here in America; bringing people new jobs and a better life. But as we know, that didnt happen. Back to our problems. I firmly believe the biggest problem we face now is unemployment. As I have mentioned many times on this blog, unemployment has the potential to do us in. What will happen to the 25 million people who are unemployed or underemployed? Addressing the unemployment issue also addresses the deficit and long term debt since the more people who are working the more money the treasury will have so our deficits will be lower, and so will our longterm debt. I think we need a massive project that will get more people working and will help our overall economy. Something like high speed cross country transit. I think now is the time to make investments in our future, big bold investments; while also having a balanced way to reduce the debt.

We have a failure in government, every single member of it. The fiscal cliff was a disaster, the upcoming and last years debt ceiling debates are such a waste of time. We know what the problems are. We need to fix them. And, in fixing them the American public needs to be better informed. What exactly do we spend our money on? “Big Government” what does that mean? Tell me exactly whats too big and what can be cut. Defense, what do we spend $800 Billion per year on? Exactly what, so we the American people can decide what can be cut and what shouldnt be. Everyone talks about the “entitlement” are killing the budget, ok, so tell me exactly how much do we spend on Medicare and Social Security. Is there an income threshold ($10M maybe) where people dont receive either? Tell me exactly how much that would save us. Tell us all that. We should all be open to changes and reductions in spending but they need to be reasonable. Someone who has $1 million is not a rich person in todays society, especially depending on location, so all cuts should be on the table but they need to be well thought out.  The mortgage deduction, perhaps it should only be on your primary residence and not on any home you want to buy or flip or whatever. My point is think logically. I would like to see a change in the tax code where the government brings in a lot more money specifically to pay down our long term debt. We need to have a plan and we need to have all parties putting everything on the table.

My recommendations are first for Mr. Obama to invite Congressional leadership for weekly lunches/dinners. Obama isnt good at and has not formed relationships with Congress. Thats why Joe Biden was better able to secure a fiscal cliff deal than Obama was. These weekly meetings would foster better relations. Next, we know we have the debt ceiling, the sequestration coming up, deal with it today, right now. What the world wants to see from us is that we can fix any problem and that we have a plan. Having a plan will make our credit rating go back up, show the world we know what we are doing and bring stability and increase hiring.

I want to see a bold plan, I want to see high speed rail from coast to coast. I want our infrastructure the best in the world. Now is the time to initiate all of these things, people need the jobs, the U.S.A. needs to be that shining city on a hill once again.

When Is It Going To Change — Lets Change It Ourselves @GinsburgJobs #LongtermUnemployment

Everywhere I look I see bad news for job seekers; whether its the monthly jobs report that says the number of unemployed people has not decreased in months; whether its this mornings WSJ article from economist predicting a year of tepid growth, not enough to create many jobs.  Yesterdays NYT had as extremely interesting and tragic opinion piece written by well respected economists called ‘The Human Disaster of Unemployment” that went into great detail about the young and old are the ones who suffer most, are least likely to be re-hired and called it ‘nothing short of a national emergency.’  The article also linked long term diseases, cancer, and life expectancy to being unemployed.  Here is the link if you want to read it .  Pew just put out a study that drew a devastating picture for the long term unemployed and their ability to get back into the workforce.  Its the first study that I have seen that actually found that older workers 45-54 and 55+ are having the hardest time and are the least likely to be rehired.  (If anyone wants this study I can email it to you).  Surprisingly, to me anyway, it also found that the more education you have the harder time you will have finding a job.  High school drop outs are less likely to be long term employed than college grads.  Now if you add into the equation the volatility in Europe, Greece no one has any good predictions the economy in the short or long term.  No one has any thoughts that the long term unemployed will find jobs.  Paul Krugman has labeled this time as the ‘The United States is in the 5th Year of a Depression.’

So, knowing all this, what to do?  Smile, keep your chin held high, keep trying, network; and keep doing that on and on.  I am extremely disappointed in Obama, he talks about ‘jobs’ but its not realistic talk, a highway restoration bill will not help 20 million people.  And Mitt Romney, not a word about how he would create jobs. Someone in a position of authority needs to address and tackle this ‘National Emergency’.  No one in the news media has looked into the subject of the long term unemployed?

Lets try to make a difference ourselves, be heard ourselves.  Anyone that wants to join me on twitter contact me at @GinsburgJobs and use the hashtag #LongtermUnemployed.  At the very least we could have a count of people that are in the same position and force the news media and politicians to address the issue.  Lets do it!

For Long-Term Unemployed, Hiring Bias Rears Its Head

By Stephen Singer 03/23/12 Associated Press

HARTFORD, Conn. — Few job seekers who fail to get an interview know the reason, but Michelle Chesney-Offutt said a recruiter told her why she lost the chance to pitch for an information technology position.

The 54-year-old, who had been laid off from her IT job in Illinois, said the recruiter who responded to her online resume two years ago liked her qualifications and was set to schedule an interview. But he backed away, she said, when he learned she had been out of work for 13 months.

The employer he represented would not consider applicants who were unemployed for more than six months, she said.

“What they don’t consider is that these are not normal times,” said Chesney-Offutt, who was unemployed for nearly three years before landing a job.

As high unemployment persists more than four years after the start of the Great Recession – and nearly three years after it was officially declared over – many who have struggled for years without work say they face discrimination. Nearly 13 million Americans, or 8.3 percent, were unemployed in February, the U.S. Department of Labor says.

As of January, California, Connecticut Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota and Tennessee were considering legislation to prohibit employers from discriminating against the unemployed in help-wanted ads or in direct hiring or in screenings by employment agencies, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Employers typically would face fines if found violating the law. The Oregon House, for example, voted last month to fine employers $1,000 if they post a job ad telling unemployed workers to not apply.

Some personnel managers say evidence of discrimination is sketchy and that hiring decisions are based on a host of subjective reasons that defy remedies imposed by laws.

“There’s much more subliminal discrimination against the unemployed that’s hard to document,” said Lynne Sarikas, director of the MBA Career Center at Northeastern University’s College of Business Administration. “Hiring is an art, not a science. You rely on a gut reaction.”

For example, employers may suspect that an unemployed applicant is seeking an available job for the wrong reasons, she said.

“A manager is going to get the vibe that they’ll take anything to get a job and if something better comes along they’re out the door,” Sarikas said.

Also, some long-term unemployed applicants may come across as too urgent for work, “and desperation doesn’t translate well in an interview,” she said.

Terri Michaels, who manages a Hartford employment firm that primarily staffs temporary employees, criticized hiring practices that screen out unemployed job seekers. Despite the policies of small staffing companies such as hers, some large employers have an unspoken policy against hiring applicants who’ve been out of work for two years or more because they want workers with a stable job history and recent references, she said.

“They won’t be able to say it but they’ll act on it,” said Michaels, manager of Stewart Staffing Solutions.

Employers generally expect job candidates – even while unemployed – to show they did some work such as volunteering or working temporary jobs, she said.

“People who did not work in any capacity, didn’t do anything are not as desirable to prospective employers,” Michaels said. “One has to question, is that discriminatory? I don’t know.”

Michaels said employers may use unemployment to weed out applicants for no other reason than to cut down a huge number of resumes for coveted job openings.

“When you have 14 million unemployed, everyone is applying for everything,” she said. “You have to be somewhat discriminating.”

A New Jersey lawmaker who co-sponsored the nation’s only law barring ads that restrict applicants to those already with a job, agrees that job hunters need to show they’ve been active, even in unemployment.

“Don’t sit at home. Make yourself available to your community,” said Assemblywoman Celeste M. Riley.

Still, she said she backed the legislation after colleagues showed her employment ads specifying that the unemployed should not bother applying.

“I found that absolutely reprehensible,” Riley said. “When you apply for a job, you should be viewed based on your skill level, not whether you have a job or not.”

Connecticut lawmakers are proposing legislation that would ban discriminatory job ads, but may back off from a more far-reaching provision that would permit unemployed job seekers who claim discrimination to file a complaint with the state’s human rights commission or sue in court.

The largest business group in the state, the Connecticut Business & Industry Association, sees a ban on discriminatory job ads as reasonable, but lobbyist Kia Murrell said businesses will fight efforts to give workers the right to sue over claims of discrimination.

“You as the employer will be shaking in fear of a claim of unemployment discrimination,” she said.

The state’s human rights commission told lawmakers that substantiating bias in hiring would be difficult and could require its staff to be nearly doubled if just a small fraction of Connecticut’s 150,000 unemployed were to file a discrimination claim.

State Sen. Edith Prague and Rep. Bruce Zalaski, who head the legislature’s Labor and Public Employees Committee, said they may drop the provision allowing claims of discrimination.

“It’s not our intent that everyone can be sued,” Zalaski said.

The National Employment Law Project, based in New York, wants states to add laws that do more than ban discriminatory ads. Laws should explicitly prohibit employers and employment agencies from eliminating from consideration candidates who are unemployed, the advocacy group says.

“You want to tell employers they can’t screen workers out of the process because they’re unemployed,” said George Wentworth, a lawyer for the group.

Chesney-Offutt, of Sandwich, Ill., said she took a 4-hour-a-week job teaching voice lessons so she could tell prospective employers she was employed.

“They didn’t care I was unemployed,” she said. “They just wanted to know if I could teach voice lessons.”

The strategy worked and she eventually got a job in insurance customer service, taking calls from customers reporting claims. It doesn’t allow her to use her information technology skills, but she’s glad to be working.