IT’S STILL ALL ABOUT THE JOBS!
► In today’s NY Times — Companies spending on equipment, not workers — Two years into the recovery, hiring is still painfully slow. The economy is producing as much as it was before the downturn, but with seven million fewer jobs. Since the recovery began, businesses’ spending on employees has grown 2 percent as equipment and software spending has swelled 26 percent, according to the Commerce Department. A capital rebound that sharp and a labor rebound that slow have been recorded only once before — after the 1982 recession. With equipment prices dropping, and tax incentives to subsidize capital investments, these trends seem likely to continue.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Rep. Inslee calls for focus on jobs — Getting the U.S. economy back on track boils down to creating jobs and controlling health care costs, U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee (D-1st) told the Economic Alliance Snohomish County. Congress needs to ignore all of its partisan distractions and concentrate on three things, Inslee said: “Jobs, jobs and jobs.” State government needs to do likewise, he said.
► In The Hill — Do more on jobs, Democrats tell Obama — Senior Senate Democrats are growing frustrated by what they see as President Obama’s passivity on the economy, and are beginning to discuss a large infrastructure package funded by tax increases.
► In today’s Washington Post — Biden, lawmakers pick up pace of debt-reduction talks — Amid fresh signs of a faltering economic recovery, bipartisan negotiations to rein in the national debt shifted into high gear Thursday as lawmakers in both parties called for a quick resolution to the talks as the best medicine for the shaky economy.
► In today’s NY Times — Rule by Rentiers (Paul Krugman column) — The latest economic data have dashed any hope of a quick end to America’s job drought, which has already gone on so long that the average unemployed American has been out of work for almost 40 weeks. Yet there is no political will to do anything about the situation. Far from being ready to spend more on job creation, both parties agree that it’s time to slash spending — destroying jobs in the process — with the only difference being one of degree.
STATE GOVERNMENT NEWS:
► In today’s Seattle Times — The economic link between investment and moving goods, people (Lance Dickie column) — Public officials say transportation infrastructure and freight mobility investment is key to landing the jobs associated with Boeing’s next generation of 737s. Talk is already burbling about a big push on transportation in the 2012 Legislature. Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon argues the discussion needs to move beyond gas taxes to updating public-private partnerships and deciding how investments get done.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Democrats like Reardon are in a bind. Having supported the conservative corporate no-taxes all-cuts philosophy of government, when investment is needed in things like roads and higher education are supported by business, how do you pay for it? Reardon’s talk of “public-private partnerships” gives you a clue where the corporate Democrats might head: privatization of our transportation system. That means more tolling and the introduction of a brand new and significant cost: private profits. Roadkillers, indeed.
► At SeattlePI.com — Despite $2 billion gap, state can’t wait on 520 bridge — Construction would start on the Lake Washington bridge in the spring of 2012. But with the shortfall in the state’s financial plan, the bridge’s most controversial segment — the westside portion — may not get built until years after the floating bridge is finished.
► In today’s Seattle Times — UW looks at 20% tuition hike — The University of Washington may raise undergraduate, in-state tuition by about 20% or more next year, the second-largest percentage increase in the school’s history. At that rate, tuition and fees would rise this September to $10,574 from $8,700.
EDITOR’S NOTE — The highly touted Microsoft-Boeing $50 million pledge for MicroBoeing Opportunity Scholarships™ — which drew high-fives (if not students) at a celebratory news conference (pictured here) earlier this week — would offer up to 10,000 students $1,000 apiece if they are pursuing degrees in areas the two corporations says are needed. Congratulations, recipients! You only have to pay a 10% tuition increase next year.
► At Publicola — Liquor limbo — Gov. Chris Gregoire has reportedly succumbed to pressure from business lobbying groups that support Costco’s liquor privatization initiative who want her to veto a bill passed late in the special session that would put the state’s liquor distribution system out to bid. The governor’s office says she is still reviewing the bill.
EDITOR’S NOTE — These business lobbying groups have gotten a big assist from an aggressive editorial campaign among the state’s newspapers supporting this veto and full liquor privatization, which voters twice rejected last fall. Stay tuned to see if corporate veto requests prove more effective that labor veto requests.
► In The Hill — Democrats defend NLRB against GOP pushback in Boeing case — The NLRB has seen its officials’ nominations threatened, its funding targeted and its internal documents requested after it filed a complaint against Boeing for allegedly retaliating against union workers earlier this year. The pushback against the labor board by Republicans and business associations, however, has been countered by Democrats, unions and liberal groups that are speaking up to defend the NLRB. “I think you finally have a board that is interested in protecting workers’ rights and making sure the national labor relations process works,” Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) told The Hill. “If they can’t get rid of the board, they are seeking to intimidate the board, and perhaps even going as so far to tamper with the judicial proceedings as a result of the board’s actions.”
► In today’s Seattle Times — As Boeing soars, opportunities abound for region’s workers (editorial) — Things are looking up, says Jim Albaugh, CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. Boeing’s bullishness is welcome. After the mess of the McDonnell Douglas merger, the exodus of the corporate headquarters to Chicago and the disaster of the 787 outsourcing, it is a relief to hear some common sense. In the matter of the outsourcing, Albaugh vowed to “redraw the lines” on the next airplane. That means some of the production of each part of future airplanes must be in-house, Albaugh said, and that crucial intellectual property not be given away to foreign rivals. Cheers for that.
► At SeattlePI.com — McKenna’s “ObamaCare” lawsuit could hurt him in governor’s race –In a new poll asking, “Does it make you more or less likely to support him?” 40% say “less likely,” 36% say “more likely” and 22% say no difference.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Look for those numbers to get even worse for McKenna if his lawsuit succeeds in repealing the many popular specific aspects of health reform, such as banning insurance companies from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions or imposing annual or lifetime “caps” on coverage. Learn more about his positions on this and other issues by reading yesterday’s posting at The Stand: McKenna is no moderate on workers’ issues.
► In the Pacific NW Inlander — Group protests Rep. McMorris Rodgers’ speech — Wednesday afternoon, the Spokane Republican spoke to a paying audience about health care at the Red Lion Hotel in downtown Spokane. A couple of blocks away, a group protested, primarily taking exception with her vote for Paul Ryan’s conservative Medicare voucher plan.
► In today’s Kitsap Sun — State Supreme Court upholds firing of Bremerton woman for medical pot use — In an 8-1 decision, the justices argued that the law, passed by voters in 1998, does not protect workers whose bosses fire them for marijuana use, even if a physician authorizes them to use it.
► In today’s Washington Post — Republicans stand by vow to block ALL consumer-watchdog nominees — The stalemate between Republicans and the White House over who will lead a nascent consumer watchdog agency showed no signs of abating Thursday, despite the emergence of a new candidate with long ties to the financial industry.
► In The Hill — Reeling from Ryan budget, GOP wary of debt deal vote –Some House Republicans who supported Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) budget are wary of voting to increase the nation’s debt ceiling, fearing a barrage of campaign ads in the 2012 election.
► At AFL-CIO Now — Register now for the “Next Up” young workers summit — The 2nd annual AFL-CIO Young Workers Summit is set for Minneapolis on Sept. 29-Oct. 2 and you can register now. This Next Up gathering of young workers is part of the long-term outreach plan to workers 35 and younger developed at the initial Summit last year.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 9 a.m. Make this electronic “clip service” your first stop each morning! These links are functional on the date of posting, but sometimes expire.