Thursday, May 12, 2011

It's the job market, stupid

Members of Congress might not be saying much about it, but at least some people in Washington, D.C. are talking about the overwhelming need for jobs in this country. Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich spoke at an event today titled, "Reclaiming Our Democracy: A Discussion About Money, Politics and the Fall of the Middle Class." Reich nicely summed up the anti-worker climate of the past forty years in a few powerful sentences. Reich said:
"From 1946 to 1974, wages and economic growth were on the same track. In the 1970s, 1980 and 1990s, the economy kept growing, but wages have flattened. I was Labor Secretary for part of that time, and we instituted policies to help workers, like raising the minimum wage, but you're dealing with a symptom, not the underlying reality. The reality is we need to strengthen unions and invest in education and health care. We need to pay for it by asking the wealthiest members of society to pay their fair share. We need real growth that is in everyone's interests."
While the discussion focused on the need for good jobs, there was an awareness that there are many hurdles standing in the way. This includes everyone from greedy corporations to the politicians that support them over the interests of their constituents, many of whom are currently unemployed or underemployed.

Terry O'Neill, President of the National Organization for Women (NOW) also also spoke at the event, sponsored by Common Cause and Faith Advocates for Justice. O'Neill is hopeful that Main Street can get back on track after the damage inflicted on it by Wall Street:
"The other side has all the money and more power after Citizens United. But look what happened in Wisconsin. We have the people on our side."