Monday, August 29, 2011

Bringing The Pain, Part 4

(Part 1 including the setup is here, Part 2 is here, and Part 3 is here.)


I have a question for the registered voters of this wondrous state: what the hell were you thinking exactly when you elected Paul LePage as governor?

As noted here, he signed a bill easing restrictions on child labor, and as noted here (pretty much doing the bidding of those who financed him, of course), he favored repealing the state’s ban on the use of strikebreakers and eliminating unemployment benefits for strikers, and he also rolled back the state’s wage and tip sharing laws to comply with weaker federal standards.

Oh, and who can forget this typical episode from LePage, where he ordered the removal of a 36-foot mural depicting the state’s labor history from the Department of Labor building (to show how petty LePage truly is, he also favored changing the name of one of the conference rooms from the “Perkins Room,” named to commemorate Frances Perkins, the crusading Secretary of Labor under FDR, to something more “business friendly”).

There are actually sane Republicans still representing this state, though; as noted here, President Snowe met some honest-to-God unemployed people at a job fair, and she and Susan Collins supported extending jobless benefits here (earning them the eternal enmity of this crowd).

Update 1 10/6/11: Given this item, all I can say is that, somewhere, “Chicken Lady” Sue Lowden is smiling, unfortunately (here).

Update 2 10/6/11: God, is LePage a buffoon (here).

Update 5/9/12: Same as it ever was - unbelievable (here).


This tells us that the state’s unemployment rate was 7.2 percent in July (with a breakdown of June rates by county here – as noted here, Maryland ranks last in the nation in job growth, though affluent pockets of the state seem to be doing OK).

And as noted here (concerning the March employment numbers)…
“Maryland’s economy continues to grow as our state pulls out of this national recession. Thousands of Marylanders have entered the workforce since the start of the year and we recorded the largest monthly employment gain last month since the final month of President Clinton’s term,” (Maryland Governor Martin) O’Malley said then.
As the story tells us, though, O’Malley was a bit more guarded about the May numbers, for what it’s worth.

Also, this tells you of an individual who had an adventure with filing for unemployment in the state (apparently rescued because he knew someone in the state’s unemployment office). In addition, this tells us the following…
Congressman Elijah Cummings hosted a town hall meeting this weekend at Howard Community College to reach out to those who need help but may not know where to find it.

“It would be so sad for people to sit, thinking that there was nothing they can do, people losing hope. And at the same time, there are programs that exist to help them,” Cummings said.
I respected Elijah Cummings anyway, but I especially do now after that story.


This tells us of newspaper columnist Jim Kinney, who sought stories of unemployed people in the state in April; I hope individuals were able to communicate with him, or you can reach him now from an Email link accompanying the story.

Also, this provides a discussion thread on the topic of people supposedly choosing unemployment over work (though someone is going to have to prove to me that this is a legitimate issue in light of this). This state (like many others, I’m sure) appears to suffer from a degree of economic anxiety that seems to persist despite a growing economy, as noted here from May.

And when it comes to the politicians, this tells us that “Wall Street Scott” Brown single-handedly blocked an unemployment benefits extension last December, and this tells us of the highly questionable job record of a certain Republican presidential candidate who was once governor of this state (typical for a guy who gave us this “duuh!” moment also).


This might be the biggest “job graveyard” of anywhere in this country. However, as noted here, though unemployment once reached the staggering level of 14.1 percent in 2009, it has been coming down since then, though it rose again to 10.9 percent in July (here).

Former Dem Governor Jennifer Granholm said here in June 2010 that the failure of the Senate to extend unemployment benefits and state Medicaid aid was “devastating.” Of course, the wingnuts had a field day with Granholm, trying to propagate the lie that a tax hike led to a spike in Michigan unemployment here, to say nothing of some truly evergreen garbage from the right-wing media circus like this.

So who is in charge of Michigan now with Granholm’s departure? Why, Rick Snyder, head of former lousy computer maker Gateway, who catastrophically slashed unemployment benefits here to a maximum of 20 weeks. And as noted here, Snyder implemented his “emergency manager” law, which of course is meant to (wait for it!) attack public sector unions and arbitrarily remove elected officials from office (Democratic officials primarily, of course).

Want to do something about it? Click here to learn more about the recall effort against Snyder (we’re at least halfway there on the signatures required for recall – let’s keep the momentum going).


The state recently experienced a government shutdown when the Republican legislature wouldn’t agree on a two-year budget plan with Dem governor Mark Dayton (here).

As a result (as noted here)…
The net loss of jobs in July was 19,800 (8,200 private sector jobs were added). Even with the shutdown, the state's unemployment rate remained substantially below the national rate of 9.1 percent.

Most of the 22,000 state workers and 3,000 government contractors who were laid off during the 20-day shutdown have been called back to work. For public sector employment, the good news ends there.
Also, as noted here, the state’s economy lost out on potentially $62 billion. One piece of good news, though, is that the state’s rate of 7.2 percent is still well below the national average.

And when it comes to the politicians, this reminds us that Moon Unit Bachmann said that she hoped higher unemployment would help her campaign (nice). On the sane side, this tells us that Sen. Al Franken issued a statement of support on positive developments in the American Crystal Sugar lockout, which potentially affects 1,300 workers.


This tells us how the state is “shedding jobs,” though hope is out there, somewhere (kind of a reach with a state that ranks last in so many categories, including child poverty, infant mortality, lowest median household income, highest teen birth rate, and highest rate of both obesity and STDs, as noted here…a bit tangential for the jobs issue, I know, but it’s hard to develop an economy with numbers like these).

So what does governor Haley Barbour say about this? Well, he said here that some Medicaid recipients in his state drove BMWs (offering no proof, of course). And as noted here, the state’s two Repug senators, Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker, received an "F" for their antipoverty voting records in 2009 from the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, voting against extending unemployment benefits, the Paycheck Fairness Act, an amendment to extend the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) jobs program, and ten other poverty-fighting bills that could have provided financial relief to their low-income constituents.

Oh, and by the way (as noted here), the state’s unemployment rate in July was 10.4 percent (Barbour, Wicker and Cochran should each be summarily fired, to say nothing of that state’s U.S. House reps…I can dream, can’t I?).

I’ll pick this up later, hopefully this week (I was planning to wrap this up by Labor Day, but I can tell you right now that that ain’t gonna happen).

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