Economic Report: Oil Spill Impact On Florida Alone Could Hit $2.2 Billion, 39,000 Lost Jobs- 06/08/10
University of Central Florida economist Sean Snaith says the gulf oil spill will cost Florida up to $2.2 billion in its gross state product and could eliminate 39,000 jobs in that one gulf state alone. Other gulf states will feel similar impacts. President Obama Monday says the economic impact is substantial and ongoing. Obama called on BP to act in a quick and responsive manner when responding to damage claims and not to nickel and dime those whose livelihoods have been hit by the oil spill.
By Doug Cunningham
The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear a case brought by the National Education against the No Child Left Behind law. The teachers’ union and nine school districts in Michigan, Texas, and Vermont had maintained the federal government should not mandate education reforms without paying for them. A U.S. Appeals Court had earlier deadlocked on the issue letting a lower court ruling against the NEA suit stand. By refusing to hear the case the U.S. Supreme Court essentially rejected that unfunded mandate argument.
So-called “swipe fees” are one of the major issues being pushed as Congress prepares to marry the two versions of financial reform. Jesse Russell reports:
Workers and their unions are watching intently for results in tonight’s Arkansas U.S. Senate Primary runoff election. Labor has mounted a vigorous campaign against incumbent Blanche Lincoln, who opposed the health care public option and is against the Employee Free Choice Act. AFSCME President Gerald McEntee.
[McEntee]: “We want to win on behalf of workers in Arkansas and across America. This is part of a message to Democrats. Don’t cast vote after vote in opposition to workers.”
The nation’s working families “are understandably frustrated, anxious and angry,” says AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Arlene Holt Baker.
“They are angry at Wall Street and the government…they don’t see anybody out there fighting with passion for good jobs…the forces of the right are at work to turn that anger in a dangerous direction.”
Holt Baker moderated a panel discussion—Working Class Anger: Does it Go Left or Right?—this afternoon at the America’s Future Now conference examining the roots of the anger that the mainstream media often portrays as the fuel that feeds the right-wing Tea Party movement.
Pollster Celinda Lake of Lake Research Partners says people’s distrust of government is at an all-time high. That distrust stems from their economic concerns and fears that the government hasn’t been able to sooth, but is not an endorsement of the radical anti-government stance of the extreme right, she says.
There is job anger and paycheck anger. It’s directed at big banks and corporations, too. They want to see the changes they were promised in 2008 and they want to see someone address their economic concerns.
Lake says the faltering economy has cut a wide swath across the working class with 38 percent of those recently polled saying either they or someone close to them had lost a job, seen their wages fall (43 percent) or lost their health care coverage (27 percent).
But just 13 percent say the government’s Wall Street bailout and other actions have moved down to Main Street and helped working families, and even fewer, 11 percent, say small business have benefited. Sixty-two percent say it was Big Banks that got the most benefit.
Working America Executive Director Karen Nussbaum says Working America organizers going door to door often find people who identify themselves as Tea Party followers or Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh fans. They don’t necessarily embrace the hard core, right-wing philosophy—they are just really mad.
She told of an Ohio woman who said she “listened to Glenn Beck, supported the Tea Party and hated Obama.” But when the Working America canvasser talked about the role Big Banks and Wall Street played in the economic collapse and the power corporations wield over the economy, the woman wrote a letter to Sen. George Voinovich (R) supporting Wall Street reform legislation. Then she joined Working America.
We can connect with these folks. They are open to alternatives that make sense. We can compete with the right-wing message machine.
Working family voters want to see government and lawmakers turn their focus away from Wall Street to creating jobs for Main Street, says Lake.
People who demonstrate a working families’ agenda are the ones who will be elected this fall.
Even though Congress is poised to pass the strongest Wall Street reform in recent history, the current bill is just the beginning of the broad reforms we need to take back the country from the Big Banks, a panel of experts said today at the America’s Future Now! conference in Washington, D.C.
The conference is sponsored by the Campaign for America’s Future (CAF). (If you haven’t signed up and are in the Washington, D.C., area, up you can register onsite at the Omni Shoreham Hotel [2500 Calvert Street, N.W.]. Click here for more information.)
For the first time in decades, Main Street has a chance to rein in the Big Banks, said Heather Booth, director of Americans for Financial Reform.
The reform legislation is a first step to making Wall Street pay to help create the 11 million jobs it destroyed when it wrecked the American economy. The U.S. House and Senate each passed versions of the legislation, which now must be reconciled by a congressional conference committee. The final bill must provide real independent consumer protection, rein in the risky casino practices of some investment banks and stop future bailouts by taxpayers, Booth said.
People are angry and ready to move their money and their votes as they watch their jobs and their life’s work disappear, their state and local budgets dwindle and their homes being foreclosed, Gerald Taylor of the Industrial Areas Foundation Southeast said.. He called for progressives to mobilize and organize ordinary homeowners, farmers and seniors facing the loss of pensions.
Economist Robert Johnson of the Roosevelt Institute said progressives must hold public officials accountable and “get up under their skin” so they fight for the working people and not the Big Banks.
The fight against Wall Street is really about who matters in this country and whose voice will be heard, Booth said. George Goehl of National People’s Action and Taylor said the Wall Street crisis presents the best opportunity in years for progressives to build a truly national movement to change our economy. They called for a coalition of labor, environmentalists, activists and grassroots people to create change.
As Taylor said:
We need to go to the highways and byways of our country and begin a discussion with people about the economy.
John Delloro, president of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), died unexpectedly Saturday after suffering a heart attack.
Delloro, a member of AFT, was elected as APALA’s president in 2009. During his tenure at APALA, the AFL-CIO convened the first National Asian Pacific American Workers’ Rights Hearing in Washington D.C., in November 2009. Following the hearing, Delloro was a principal author of “Breaking Ground, Breaking Silence,” a report from the hearing. Prior to his election, he served as president of the Los Angeles chapter of APALA and was an organizer for HERE, AFSCME and SEIU.
APALA First Vice President Luisa Blue said:
We are all saddened by the sudden passing of John Delloro, a brilliant young labor leader, who made incredible contributions to APALA and to the U.S. labor movement.
Delloro worked as executive director of the Dolores Huerta Labor Institute in Los Angeles beginning in 2006. Under his leadership, the program has strengthened labor studies on all nine campuses of the Los Angeles Community College District and has introduced thousands of community college students to unions. Since 2007, he also has taught Asian American studies at the University of California-Los Angeles. In 2009, Delloro received the Unsung Hero Award by Asian Pacific Americans for Progress.
Kent Wong, APALA’s founding president, said of Delloro:
As a nationally recognized union leader, labor educator, organizer, teacher and mentor, John Delloro touched the lives of many and will be remembered for his compassion, his generosity of spirit, and for his visionary leadership.
Are you a Medicare recipient with questions about the new health care reform law, or do you know someone who is? Tomorrow, you’ll have a chance to get those questions answered by President Obama and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius.
They are hosting an hour-long, live tele-town hall meeting Tuesday, starting at 11:15 a.m. EDT. Health care advocates and senior activists will discuss the key provisions and expanded benefits that the new health care law provides for Medicare participants. The meeting will focus on the $250 “donut hole” rebate checks that will soon be in the mail and the efforts to combat some of the commercial scams and schemes aimed at seniors.
President Obama will take questions from the audience and from callers. Here’s the toll-free number you can use to ask your question: at 1-800-837-1935, Code 80272058. The meeting also will be broadcast on C-SPAN and will be webcast live at www.HealthReform.gov.
The Alliance for Retired Americans will hold watch parties in several cities.
Contact the Alliance for Retired Americans if you live in one of the following communities—Dubuque, Des Moines and Waterloo, Iowa; Suitland and White Plains, Md.; St. Louis, Mo.; Nashua and Manchester, N.H.; Albuquerque, N.M.; Raleigh, N.C.; Ashtabula, Ohio; Philadelphia, Pa.; and Columbia, S.C. Contact the Alliance at: ARAORGANIZING@RetiredAmericans.org.
Don’t forget, the Medicare tele-town hall meeting kicks off tomorrow at 11:15 a.m. EDT.