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Public layoffs, COHE success, Goldman Sucks…



► At Politico — State, local governments apt to lose more jobs— Layoffs by state and local governments are poised to take off again. Jobs slashed on the local level have slowed for the past few months, but with new budgets beginning to get fashioned and economic conditions continuing to sap treasuries, economists expect that’s about to change. New rounds of public employee layoffs would cut into the gains from increased private-sector hiring.

► In today’s Kitsap Sun — Kitsap County lost 1,300 jobs in January — Holiday retail jobs that disappeared made up the biggest chunk of the 1,300 lost jobs. Five hundred retail jobs were shed. Another 300 jobs were lost in the government sector, at the federal and local levels.

► In today’s Columbian — Clark County adds 1,300 jobs over 12 months — In the private sector, employers added 1,800 jobs between January 2011 and 2012. Public sector employers, however, cut 500 jobs — a continuing drag on the local economy.

► More of today’s county unemployment coverage — Benton-Franklin (10%▲),  Cowlitz (11.7%▲), King (7.4%▼),  Pierce (9.6%▲), Spokane (9.8▲),  Thurston (8.5%▲), Whatcom (8.3%▲), Yakima (12.1%▼)

EDITOR’S NOTE — As lawmakers in Olympia continue to debate the supplemental operating budget — both parties’ versions of which will result in more public-sector job losses at the state and local levels — they should remember that they have an opportunity to do something positive and proactive to create tens of thousands of jobs across the state: Approve the Infrastructure Jobs legislation!




► In today’s Spokesman-Review — New model helps injured workers, costs (editorial) — A year after a go-ahead from the Washington Legislature, a program pioneered in Spokane has expanded to 16 counties east of the Cascade Mountains, sustaining jobs here, and improving care to thousands of Eastern Washington workers injured on the job. Not incidentally, the Centers for Occupational Health Education, or COHEs, are also saving the Department of Labor and Industries millions of dollars, which helped hold 2012 premium increases for the workers’ compensation program to zero.

► At Publicola — After two days of budget talks, tax exemptions back in spotlight — Gov. Chris Gregoire has identified a $250 million problem: The Republicans don’t like the Democrats’ idea of delaying a $330 million payment to schools and the Democrats don’t like the Republicans’ idea of skipping a $130 pension payment to state workers. Gregoire has recommended that both sides scrap both, split the difference, about $250 million, and make it up  in “resources” they can agree on. Gregoire has suggested that they look at closing tax loopholes.

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Gregoire suggests small step first — With the four legislative leaders unable to reach agreement on a key sticking point, the governor urges them to set that aside and come up with a way to shore up at least $200 million of the $1.5 billion budget gap.

► In today’s Seattle Times — State dumps unused cell phones, saves money

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Lawmakers choosing between gimmicks, people (by Shawn Vestal) — At this point, the choice is not between gimmicks and sustainability, or gimmicks and fiscal purity, or gimmicks and reform. It’s between gimmicks and people. When you cut services to the mentally ill, the issues surrounding mental illness do not vanish. Ask a cop where untreated mentally ill people end up.




► From AP — AFL-CIO boosts ground support for Obama, Democrats — The AFL-CIO formally endorsed President Barack Obama’s re-election bid Tuesday, saying it would mount a vast door-to-door effort for Democratic candidates in response to the flood of outside political money that conservative groups are pouring into the campaign.

ALSO at The Stand — AFL-CIO endorses Obama for second term

► At Slog — Judge tosses Rob McKenna’s anti-gay ballot title — In McKenna’s draft, R-74 was littered with the phrase “redefine marriage,” which same-sex marriage opponents have long ballyhooed as their most effective talking point. A Superior Court judge struck down that charged statement in favor of language saying the measure would “allow same-sex couples to marry.”

► In The Hill — A huge night for Santorum in Alabama, Mississippi — Former senator Rick Santorum pulled out wins in the Alabama and Mississippi presidential primaries Tuesday, bolstering his claim to being the conservative alternative to Republican front-runner Mitt Romney, who placed third.




► At AFL-CIO Now — Transit workers urge mass transit funding, endorse ‘Occupy Transit’ day — ATU announced that it is endorsing and fully supporting the nationwide April 4 Occupy National Day of Action for Public Transportation, and Occupy activists spoke out in support of the right to affordable public transit.

► From AP — U.S. trade deficit widens to largest quarterly gap in 3 years — A higher trade deficit acts as a drag on growth. It means more goods and services are being purchased from overseas, while U.S. companies are making fewer sales overseas.

► At AFL-CIO Now — NFLPA’s Smith, IUOE’s Callahan join AFL-CIO Executive Council — James Callahan, general president of the Operating Engineers, and DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFL Players Association, were elected to the AFL-CIO Executive Council at the council’s annual winter meeting.

► In The Hill — Poll: Majority say Limbaugh should be fired for ‘slut’ remarks




► In today’s NY Times — Why I am leaving Goldman Sachs (by Executive Director Greg Smith) — I truly believe that this decline in the firm’s moral fiber represents the single most serious threat to its long-run survival. Today, if you make enough money for the firm (and are not currently an ax murderer) you will be promoted into a position of influence. It makes me ill how callously people talk about ripping their clients off. Over the last 12 months I have seen five different managing directors refer to their own clients as “muppets.” These days, the most common question I get from junior analysts about derivatives is, “How much money did we make off the client?” It bothers me every time I hear it, because it is a clear reflection of what they are observing from their leaders about the way they should behave. Now project 10 years into the future: You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that the junior analyst sitting quietly in the corner of the room hearing about “muppets,” “ripping eyeballs out” and “getting paid” doesn’t exactly turn into a model citizen.

► From Rolling Stone — Guy who rented all 94 rooms of Aspen hotel for party scores awesome new Goldman job (by Matt Taibbi) — Jeffrey Verschleiser, a former Bear Stearns executive who was instrumental in helping blow up that venerable firm, will become Goldman’s global head of mortgage trading. It’s not merely that Verschleiser appears to be a titanically entitled asshole of the Let-Them-Eat-Cake variety; it’s also that this is a guy who was personally named in a number of major lawsuits involving exactly the sorts of tawdry behaviors that caused the crash — like knowingly dumping “sack of shit” mortgages on the market, or betting against your own clients after sticking them with millions’ worth of defective products.


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