Tens of thousands of people will lose their jobs within weeks unless Congress extends one of the more effective job-creating programs in the $787 billion stimulus act: a $1 billion New Deal-style program that directly paid the salaries of unemployed people so they could get jobs in government, at nonprofit organizations and at many small businesses.
In rural Perry County, Tenn., the program helped pay for roughly 400 new jobs in the public and private sectors. But in a county of 7,600 people, those jobs had a big impact: they reduced Perry County’s unemployment rate to less than 14 percent this August, from the Depression-like levels of more than 25 percent that it hit last year after its biggest employer, an auto parts factory, moved to Mexico.
If the stimulus program ends on schedule next week, Perry County officials said, an estimated 300 people there will lose their jobs — the equivalent of another factory closing.
“It’s very scary, because there’s just no work,” said Brian Davis, a 36-year-old father of four, who got a stimulus-subsidized job with the City of Lobelville after he lost his job of 17 years at an auto parts plant that shed hundreds of jobs. Now he faces the prospect of unemployment again.
“This was a huge help,” Mr. Davis said. “The way the economy’s been and the way people are struggling, you’re worried about putting food on the table for your children and keeping the electricity on.”
Again, these are real jobs that the stimulus program created. They were created not just for government work but for small businesses as well. But Republicans want to shut to program down. The only things government should be used for if you're a Republican is fighting trillion-dollar wars for oil and making the rich richer.
But that sure as hell didn't stop Republicans from taking credit for these programs when people got employed.
In Mississippi, an innovative program used the money to pay private companies to hire nearly 3,200 workers, and to pay their salaries on a sliding scale so that the employers would end up paying the entire amount after six months.
Gov. Haley Barbour, a Republican, described the initiative there as “welfare to work.” Mr. Barbour, the chairman of the Republican Governors Association, said in an interview last winter that he hoped the program would be extended past this month, since it took so long for the state’s program to get federal approval.
The federal program has helped employ nearly 130,000 adults and has paid for nearly an equal number of summer jobs for young people, according to an analysis by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal policy institute in Washington.
If the program is allowed to lapse, up to 26,000 workers in Illinois will lose their jobs in the coming weeks, along with 12,000 workers in Pennsylvania and thousands more in other states, according to LaDonna Pavetti, the director of the center’s welfare reform and income support division.
Republicans have no problem giving hundreds of billions to the nation's wealthiest people, but funding workfare programs like this in a rotten economy is just "government waste". But hey, if another 130,000 Americans lose their jobs, that makes the Democrats look bad and helps the Republicans. They get to go on TV and go "Where are the jobs, Mr. President?"
The answer of course is the Republicans cut people off so they can cut taxes on millionaires. Still think the solution to our economic problems will be solved by more Republicans?