RNC Chairman Reince Priebus Statement on the January Unemployment Report

Editors Note: Surprise, Surprise

The Wire

Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus released the following statement on the January unemployment report:
“While today’s jobs report brings welcome news of lower unemployment, far too many Americans are still without work. Our economy remains unacceptably weak, and families across the country are still struggling to make ends meet,” said RNC Chairman Reince Priebus.

“Three years ago yesterday, President Obama said that if he didn’t have the economy fixed ‘in three years,’ his presidency would ‘be a one-term proposition.’ Today’s unemployment numbers remind us that our economy is far from fixed. That, by the president’s own standard, should make him a one-term president.

“After three years in office, Barack Obama has failed to produce the economic recovery he promised. His endless pursuit of regulations, mandates, taxes and deficits made economic recovery significantly more difficult.

“Our country desperately needs a change in direction. We need a president who will fight for hard-working taxpayers, not just campaign donors and his own job. As the campaigner-in-chief travels around the country, he’s making countless promises for a second term. Today’s jobs report reminds us that he could not even keep the promises from his first term.”

African-American Unemployment up in March 2010, Black Men 19%

According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, African-American Unemployment rose to 16.5% in March.  That’s up from 15.8% in February and 13.5% in March of 2009.

What’s even worse is the outlook for African-American men.  The unemployment rate for Black men in March was 19%.  That’s up from 17.8% last month and 16.4% this time last year.  The unemployment rate for Black women in March was 12.4%.

All this comes as the overall unemployment rate held at 9.7% for the third straight month.  And just in case you were wondering, the unemployment rate for African-Americans 16-19 years old is 41.1% compared with the overall rate of 23.7% for all Americans 16-19 years of age.

Green Equity and Grassroots Organization Creating Jobs where there were none

Came across this video where our friend and blogging peer Chris Rabb works with ColorLines to profile green jobs that are being created across the country in areas where work is scarce.  As I continue to say, it doesn’t matter if you believe in the virtues of sustainable living, the money that is being spent across the globe is green enough.  Hopefully the nation will catch on and stop missing out on this huge economic driver.

President Obama previews Initiatives for Middle Class Families

(Office of the Press Secretary)

Washington, DCToday, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will hold a meeting of the Middle Class Task Force, where they will lay out key investments for middle class families.  Today’s discussion will preview one of the key themes of the President’s State of the Union address, which include creating good jobs, addressing the deficit, changing Washington, and fighting for middle class families.

President Obama said, “We are fighting every single day to put Americans back to work, create good jobs, and strengthen our economy for the long-term. The additional steps laid out today focus on easing the burdens on middle class families who are struggling in this economy, and providing the help they need to get ahead.”

“Every day, middle class families go to work and help make this country great.  For a year, our Task Force has been hearing that they are struggling with soaring costs and squeezed family budgets.  These common sense initiatives will help these families cope with these challenges,” said Vice President Biden.

After traveling across the country the past year talking with families, caregivers, educators, students, seniors, as well as policy makers and experts, Chair of the White House Task Force on Middle Class Families Vice President Joe Biden will join President Obama to announce several recommendations of the Task Force.   These initiatives, borne out of the meetings, travel and work of the Task Force, are aimed at helping middle class families afford soaring child care costs; care for their aging relatives; cope with the challenge of saving for retirement; and pay for their children’s college tuition.

Since its creation one year ago this week, the Middle Class Task Force has held 11 meetings around the country and at the White House.  At these meetings, Vice President Biden heard from parents who were grappling with the costs of child care; students coming out of college drowning in debt; children of elderly relatives struggling to care for them; and workers who were barely able to pay their mortgage, much less save for retirement.

As a result of these meetings, conversations and feedback from around the country, the Vice President and the Task Force will propose several policy initiatives to help middle class families:

1. Nearly Doubling the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit for middle class families making under $85,000 a year. This is accomplished by increasing their tax credit rate from 20% to 35% of qualifying expenses.  The value of the tax credit nearly doubles for all families making under $85,000 a year, and every family that makes under $115,000 will see their tax credit increase.

Additionally, for families struggling to join the middle class, the administration will provide a $1.6 billion increase in child care funding, the largest one-year increase in 20 years, to help an additional 235,000 children.

2. Limiting a student’s federal loan payments to 10 percent of his or her income above a basic living allowance. This will lower payments for hundreds of thousands of students, who are struggling to make ends meet coming out of college.

3. Creating a system of automatic workplace IRAs, requiring all employers to give the option for employees to enroll in a direct-deposit IRA.

4. Expanding tax credits to match retirement savings and enacting new safeguards to protect retirement savings, making it easier for families to plan for retirement.

5. Expanding support for families balancing work with caring for elderly relatives, helping them manage their multiple responsibilities and allowing seniors to live in the community for as long as possible.

The Task Force’s final report, and full recommendations, will be released in February.

Additional information about these Middle Class Task Force initiatives is included in the attached fact sheet.

About the Middle Class Task Force: The Task Force, Chaired by Vice President Joe Biden, is a group of top-level administration policy makers, charged with the mission of focusing on developing policies aimed at raising the living standards of middle-class, working families in America.

Since its creation on January 30, 2009, the Middle Class Task Force has held 11 meetings around the country and at the White House:

· February 27, 2009: Green Jobs (Philadelphia, PA)

· March 17, 2009: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and Middle Class Families (St. Cloud, MN)

· April 17, 2009: College Affordability (St. Louis, MO)

· May 26, 2009: Green Jobs (Denver, CO)

· June 23, 2009: Manufacturing in the 21st Century (Perrysburg, OH)

· July 10, 2009: Health Reform Roundtable (The White House)

· July 16, 2009: AARP/Health Care Reform Discussion (Arlington, Virginia)

· September 9, 2009: Access to College (Syracuse, NY)

· October 19, 2009: Middle Class Recovery Through Retrofit (The White House)

· November 5, 2009:  Roundtable with Policy Experts  (Washington, DC)

· December 16, 2009:  Roundtable with Leaders in Manufacturing Sector (The White House)   

Members of the Task Force include: Vice President Biden, Chair; the Secretaries of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, Energy, Treasury, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, and Agriculture; the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency; as well as the Directors of the National Economic Council, the Office of Management and Budget, the Domestic Policy Council, and the Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors.

To read reports released by the Middle Class Task Force, please visit: www.WhiteHouse.Gov/AStrongMiddleClass.

RNC Statement on September Unemployment Report

Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Michael Steele released the following statement today:

“As President Obama travels to Copenhagen to bring the Summer Olympics to his hometown seven years from now, Americans back home are increasingly concerned they won’t have a job seven months from now as they see more and more of their neighbors and friends lose jobs today.  The president’s verbal gymnastics will not hide that fact that more than 263,000 Americans lost their jobs in the month of September alone and the national unemployment rate increased yet again to 9.8 percent.  The president said, ‘the measure of an economy is, is it producing jobs?’  Clearly it isn’t.  President Obama can either acknowledge that his economic experiments have failed and change course, or continue down this path and see even more Americans lose their jobs.”

Southern Dallas Left in the Dark on Main Post Office decision

From DallasSouthNews.org

Last night I moderated a Town Hall meeting hosted by Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson at Dallas City Hall regarding an Area Mail Processing (AMP) Feasibility Study conducted by the United States Post Office.  AMP Studies are taking place all across the country.

Tim Vierling, Dallas Sr. Plant Manager, gave a presentation, and then took questions from the audience as well as myself.  Also involved in the conversation were Mayor Tom Leppert and State Senator Royce West.

Senator West had some very pointed comments for Mr. Vierling and the Post Office, including the fact that his office had contacted USPS about this matter at least twice without a response.  He also referenced a previous AMP study done either late ‘06 or early ‘07.

This latest AMP study apparently concludes that the Post Office will save $9.2 million annually by consolidating mail processing operations in Dallas with those at the North Texas facility located in Coppell.  I say apparently because no one outside of the Postal Service has seen this study.  Most of the savings will come from eliminating 117 jobs.

The first document on the USPS website regarding the AMP is a brief dated March 24, 2009 which says the following regarding the study:

If the feasibility study supports the business case for consolidation, we will hold a public meeting to allow members of the community to ask questions and provide feedback. We will address these questions or concerns at the public meeting.  The public’s input will be considered in any final determination.

By June 17, 2009, the Post Office had seen enough information to determine that consolidation was necessary.   A public meeting was called for July 1st at Mountain View College and the following highlights of the study we have not seen were released in a brief.

1.    Business Case:

Proposed annual savings in the AMP feasibility study is approximately $9.2 million.

2.    Postal Employees:

Due to the consolidation, a net decrease of approximately 117 positions is projected.  All reassignments will be made in accordance with collective bargaining agreements.

3.    Local Customer Considerations:

Services that are currently available from the Dallas facility will continue to be available to customers.

•    Collection box pick-up times will not change as a result of the AMP.
•    Retail services will remain the same.
•    Business mail acceptance will remain the same.
•    A local postmark will be available for stamped First-Class Mail.
•    Delivery of mail to residences and businesses will not change as a result of the AMP.

4.    Commercial Mailers:

•    Mailers who presort mail will continue to receive applicable postage discounts.
•    Mailers who drop ship mailings will continue to deposit them at the Dallas facility.

So a public meeting was called, but the public wasn’t aware.  Mr. Vierling siad that the post office’s position was that they had done everything necessary to publicize the meeting, including sending notices to media outlets and government officials.  He then admitted that Senator West’s office was left off that list and was not contacted.

I can say that Dallas South was not contacted about this public meeting either. The organization that has access to every home, business, and place of worship in America couldn’t drop a half sheet announcement in the mailbox?  That doesn’t make sense.

A recap of the July 1 meeting on the Postal Service Website says that 267 people were in attendance including a staffer from Congresswoman Johnson’s office Channel 33 KDAF.  It also lists the number of questions and comments from the meeting by category which lists “Lack of Public Input” as the most frequent topic.

I found out about the AMP Study on July 10th like most people who have expressed concerns in the days sense, receiving an email which contained a statement from Larry Walker, President of the Local American Postal Workers Union.  That’s when the public actually became involved and started to understand that the Post Office was not closing, though major changes were slated for Dallas Main.

It is clear after Monday’s town hall that the public in general and Southern Dallas specifically were not made aware of this “proposed” change.  According to reports, most of the 267 people present at the July 1st meeting at Mountain View were postal workers.

The decision seems to be already made and while there have been meetings held there is no exchange of ideas.  On Monday Mr. Vierling gave us the post office’s position, but never acknowledged the most pressing concern, which was what happens with the 117 employees who would be affected by this move.

One thing I learned about from Monday’s meeting was the concept of “stand by” rooms.  Apparently post office employees are asked to go into these “stand by” rooms whenever there is not enough work for them to do.

Questions from the audience suggested that postal workers are being paid to read magazines and do crossword puzzle in these rooms while others on the floor are being paid overtime.  Another question suggested that managers are asked not to use the workers in these rooms for performance or disciplinary reasons.  Mr. Vierling said that this is not the case.

Congresswoman Johnson is scheduled to meet with Mr. Vierling on Wednesday to tour the facilities for herself and understand why the North Texas (Coppell) facility was selected over Dallas. Hopefully she will get more answers, but one thing is clear: residents were not properly informed about this process and have not had a chance to properly give their input.

African-American unemployment rate 14.5% in July, down for 3rd straight month

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that the U.S. unemployment rate was virtually unchanged for the second straight month, down .1% from June to July.  The 9.4% unemployment rate fir July is identical to May, but another 247,000 jobs were lost during this period.

The African-American unemployment rate declined for the third time in as many months, dropping to 14.5% from 14.7% in June.  The unemployment rate for African-Americans reached 15% in April. Black males saw a .6% drop in unemployment to 15.8% and down from 17.2% in April.

Click here for the employment situation summary by the Labor Statistics Bureau.

Financial Education Lecture Series at Southwest Center Mall

Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, Southwest Center Mall, and the Consumer Credit Service of Greater Dallas will host a Financial Education Lecture Series on Thursday, July 30, 2009 from 4PM to 6 PM.  The free workshop  on surviving a financial crisis is scheduled to help attendees:

  • Prepare a back-up plan in case of a job loss
  • Identify resources for financial assistance
  • Take steps in saving your home
  • Financial Stress Test

For more information, call 214-922-8885

SEMINAR LOCATION

Southwest Center Mall

3662 W Camp Wisdom RD

Dallas, TX


KERA BROADCASTS JULY 22 SPECIAL ON THE ECONOMY

DALLAS/FORT WORTH – KERA examines the impact that unemployment and the recession are having on the lives of North Texans in an hour-long special, The Economy:  Facing the Mortgage Crisis, premiering Wednesday, July 22, at 8 p.m. on KERA-TV and simulcast on KERA-FM.

Hosted by KERA’s Sam Baker and Shelley Kofler, the program will feature studio discussions and taped segments that shed light on the complicated process of foreclosure and explain to those out of work for the first time how they can tap into unemployment assistance.  The program will also connect families and individuals with the resources available through “2-1-1 Texas,” a service of the Health and Human Service Commission’s Texas Information and Referral Network that offers free information to those in need.

“The need for information and assistance is great because Texas state law allows a home to be foreclosed in as little as three months,” said Rick Thompson, Executive Producer of The Economy:  Facing the Mortgage Crisis. “While this started out as more of a subprime problem, the increase in unemployment is now exacerbating the crisis.”

Guests for the studio discussion include Dana Dillard, Senior Vice President for GMAC Mortgage and a member of the HOPENOW Alliance that works to prevent foreclosure; M. Joyce Brown, Housing Officer with the Dallas County Home Loan Counseling Center; Tom Pauken, Chairman of the Texas Workforce Commission; Lisa Miller, Vice President of the CareerConnection in Dallas; and Kervyn Altaffer, Managing Attorney at Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas, who works with clients to help prevent foreclosure and mortgage scams.

The Economy:  Facing the Mortgage Crisis will incorporate questions from North Texans who are undergoing tough economic challenges.  Those with questions can submit them in advance by calling 214-740-9226 or emailing economy@kera.org.

The Economy: Facing the Mortgage Crisis will be rebroadcast Sunday, July 26, at 2 p.m.   The program is part of KERA’s year-long, multimedia initiative on the economy that makes use of the public broadcaster’s media assets – KERA-TV, KERA-FM (90.1 in Dallas/Fort Worth/Denton, 99.3 in Sherman, 100.1 in Tyler and 88.3 in Wichita Falls) and the kera.org Web site – to provide vital, balanced information and reporting on current economic issues.  The Economy project launched July 8 and includes television and radio specials, weekly radio reports, related national programming and a dedicated Web site, kera.org/economy.

Facing the Mortgage Crisis is part of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s Public Service Media Economic Response Initiative.

KERA’s Community Advisory Group for The Economy project includes ACORN Housing, BCL of Texas, Catholic Charities, CCCS of Greater Dallas, CCCS of North Central Texas, Central Dallas Ministries, ChildCareGroup, Children’s Medical Center, Community Council of Greater Dallas, Dallas After-School Network, Dallas Concilio, Enterprise Community Partners, Fannie Mae, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Freddie Mac, Goodwill Industries of Dallas, Head Start of Greater Dallas, Housing Crisis Center, HUD, Jordan Community Development Corp., Money Management International, North Texas Food Bank, North Texas Housing Coalition, Northeast Texas 2-1-1, Parkland Hospital, Salvation Army, Holy Trinity Center, Tarrant Area Food Bank, Tarrant County Housing Partnership, Texoma Area 2-1-1, United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, United Way of Tarrant County, Urban League, Workforce Solutions and YWCA of Dallas.

For more information about “2-1-1 Texas” and the services available, visit 211texas.org or simply dial 2-1-1.

Program host Sam Baker is Senior Editor of News and Public Affairs and local host for Morning Edition on KERA-FM.  He also edits and produces radio commentaries and has produced KERA versions of the NPR series This I Believe and StoryCorps.   Baker was host of KERA-TV’s Emmy Award-winning public affairs program On the Record, which addressed a wide range of issues from a North Texas perspective.

Co-host Shelley Kofler is an award-winning political reporter and television producer who joined KERA as News Director in 2007. From 2000-2004, she served as the Austin Bureau Chief and legislative reporter for North Texas ABC affiliate WFAA-TV.  Kofler also covered government issues for North Texas NBC affiliate KXAS-TV and worked with KERA on numerous public affairs projects, including nationally broadcast programs.

Martin Luther King Center offers Dallas Residents Financial Assistance with Utility Bills

Dallas residents who need assistance with their utility bills and live in a 752xx Zip Code may contact the Martin Luther King Social Services program.  Residents in need may receive up to $600 towards their bill.

Individuals may call 214-670-8416 to make an appointment on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays starting at 9 a.m.  The Social Services Program Staff will take calls until slots are filled for the day.  Those over 60 years of age may also call on Tuesdays (9AM).

The Martin Luther King Center is located at 2922 Martin Luther King Blvd.  Residents  in other parts of the City of Dallas, or hose in need of help with utilities and/or food can call the city’s Community Help Line – 211.

Please share this information with anyone who may be helped by this service.