The dramatic worsening of the nation’s unemployment rate from 5.7 percent in July to 6.1 percent in August isn’t the only recent economic indicator starkly contradicting Sen. John McCain’s repeated statements that the “fundamentals of the economy are strong.”
Take a look at this data.
- With millions of America’s workers out of a job, unemployment rose among almost all demographic groups, hurting women the worst. Black women saw their unemployment rate worsen by 1.6 percentage points to 9.1 percent. The unemployment rate for African Americans overall rose to 10.6 percent and that of Hispanics to 8 percent.
Large corporations and the lobbyists they employ in Washington are running a familiar “game” on workers in the United States, Latin America and Mexico. The object of the game is to get as much out the workers at the cheapest price. What most people don’t think about is how U.S. trade and policy are both part of the game.
Photojournalist David Bacon, author of Illegal People: How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants, who spoke at the AFL-CIO in Washington, D.C., last night, says our flawed trade policies “enforce poverty in other countries.”
Bacon says so-called free trade exacerbates poverty and inequality in our trading partners, spurring migration flows. One example he cites is the way the North American Free Trade Agreement opened the Mexican corn market to cheaply produced U.S. corn, making it impossible for Mexican farmers to “get a price for their corn that would pay for the cost of growing it.”
With less than two months to go before voters elect a new president, new members of Congress and many governors, the Republican Party is engaged in an all-out effort to deny the vote to millions of voters who traditionally vote for Democrats.
From Michigan to Mississippi, Republicans are actively working to challenge the votes of people of color, the impoverished and students.
AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Arlene Holt Baker defined the problem, saying:
We have learned painfully that in this third century of our republic, we cannot take our right to vote for granted. We have to defend it. There are people in our political system who think that voting is a privilege reserved for those like themselves, that it is fair and right to confuse and intimidate people into not voting.
How are Americans coping with the economy leaving less in their pocketbooks and wallets? A survey of the Principal Financial Well-Being Index found that 81 percent are eating out less, 75 percent are spending less on clothing, 75 percent are cutting back on entertainment, and 59 percent are driving less. Twelve percent, up from seven percent in 2007, have fallen behind on monthly bills. And 43 percent are spending less on basic necessities – up from 36 percent since 2007.
Indiana will receive a $10.4 million grant to help offset some of the pain being felt in that state due to layoffs in the RV industry. Indiana is the RV capital of the country with nearly 60 percent of the touring vehicles produced each year coming from the Hoosier State. Nearly 60,000 jobs in Indiana are the result of the RV industry and over the past year manufacturers has announced more than 2,500 layoffs. With the economy on the decline and fuel prices on the rise sales of RVs have plummeted. Elkhart County, home to the majority of the state’s RV production, had an unemployment rate of 9.3 percent in July, that’s up from 7 percent in June. Overall, the state had an unemployment rate of 6.1 percent in July.
McCain]: Like most Americans I go see my doctor fairly frequently.
That was Republican Senator John McCain speaking recently from the campaign trail. The Senator said “most Americans” can see their doctor “fairly frequently.” But that isn’t what recent studies show. A recent study called Public Views on U.S. Health Care System Organization found that 73 percent of Americans have had difficulty securing a doctors appointment and thirty nine percent who have insurance said it was difficult to reach their doctor on the phone. Twenty-six percent of those with insurance had difficulty scheduling an appointment the same or next day when they are sick. Meanwhile, Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Sen. Joe Biden was in Missouri this week. During one stop he explained that it isn’t just American people who are calling for a change in the way healthcare in the United States is run, it is also corporations who see it as a way to better compete and drive down overhead costs.
The campaign manager for Sen. John McCain has said this election “is not about issues.” According to Rick Davis, this November is all about “personalities.”
Tell that to America’s working people, as they suffer through home foreclosures or struggle to find jobs that pay the bills.
And what about the millions of those for whom Social Security will provide the primary—or only—income to support them when they retire? They have a right to know where McCain stands on the issue—and whether, under his plan, they would be forced to work long after age 65.
McCain and Sen. Barack Obama have laid out sharply contrasting visions on the nation’s most successful social safety net. Obama would support and protect Social Security, while McCain would privatize it.
Today marks the seventh anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, Pentagon and United Airlines Flight 93 that killed nearly 3,000 people, including some 600 union members.
At the World Trade Center, 343 of the dead were New York City firefighters. Says Fire Fighters (IAFF) President Harold Schaitberger:
No matter how many years pass, we must always remember the ultimate sacrifice made by our 343 fallen FDNY brothers after terrorists launched their cowardly attacks on the World Trade Centers.