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Jobless Americans -- A Neglected Priority

El Observador, Commentary, Hilbert Morales Posted: Jan 29, 2010

Lets go back to the presidential election of 2008 when Barack Obama, candidate, eloquently told the people that he would, as a first priority, address the peoples business. Their concerns, then as now were the lack of jobs and the failure of the American economy to continue to provide opportunity and access to the American dream. What made America the most powerful nation in the world was its economy and its open access to success if ones work was meritorious.

If one considers the American Consumer Economy as it used to be, there was a time when each of us, regardless of ethnicity, social station, or political persuasion, could aspire to being upwardly mobile. We could consider becoming educated well beyond high school, owning a vehicle that provided mobility, and owning a home. It was possible for any of us to achieve those goals through our own honest labor. Too many of us who recently had middle-class incomes have recently joined the ranks of the poor because our jobs have been outsourced to locations where labor costs are lower. Too many of us were injured seriously by the greed and avarice of the major finanical giants who were not monitored or regulated. None of their financial executives who devised and sold those overpriced derivatives, which were the basis of the global financial failure, have been charged with fraud.

Major financial firms extended themselves beyond their resources. These were the firms who caused the climate of distrust resulting from the excessive valuation of finanical instruments called derivatives. Yet to save the global financial system, American leaders authorized a massive bailout which seems to be successful for those who have wealth, influence and privilege. But not for the rest of us who cannot find employment or aspire to being re-educated and retrained. And for those of us living on fixed retirement incomes, our annuities have decreased in value, resulting in the loss of our retirement income. This process has impacted millions of us.

After being elected, President Obama was obliged to deal with a global financial crisis as well as continuing operations of two wars initiated by the prior Republican administration that declared war on terrorism without being responsible enough to figure out how to pay for those aggressive international actions. This continues to add to the national financial deficit. Today we have the largest federal deficit ever. So, instead of dealing with the concerns of the people, the Obama administration spent much time trying to address the need for a comprehensive health care program at all levels of this complex issue. The frustration of ordinary people was expressed recently in the election of a Republican (Scott Brown) to replace Senator Ted Kennedy, D-Mass. The loss of that single vote meant that Democrats no longer have the 60 Senate votes that are needed to ramrod legislation that the Republican elected officials will never support. A filibuster by the Republican minority is now very possible in the Senate.

There is also a dire need to formulate a comprehensive immigration reform policy which has been negleced for too long. So how do Democratis retain the ability to provide The Change You Can Believe In? that was the rhetoric Obama used to get elected and to sweep in elected Democratic majorities in both the Senate and the House?

President Obama still has three years to prepare for the presidential election of 2012. In fact there is no time to lose with the upcoming 2010 mid-term elections. What will raise his administrations approval rating is a change to those neglected priorities that impact too many Americans today. Can the Senate, House and White House push measures that change things for the people who are now experiencing personal financial crisis? Yes, of course. What is recommended is that the rules of purchase contracts be changed throughout the financial system. For example, if one purchases a vehicle or a home or runs up a student loan, all these contractual obligatons need to have a default clause which permits the individual to retain beneficial use of the vehicle or home just by payment of interest due on the principal sum balance. This would eliminate repossession of vehicles and foreclosure of homes per the current purchase contract system which assumes that employment of the purchaser is ensured and constant. In addition, those with student loans could work off those loans by accepting positions in underserved areas and/or paying just the interest due when they are underemployed or unemployed.

In addition, the Small Business Administration needs to back up many more unsecured loans to small businesses, especially those located in areas experiencing very high unemployment rates. It is the small business entrepreneurs who create jobs, train and employ local residents. The Micro-Loan Concept of economic development used by the World Bank must be applied to the current domestic unemployment crisis. It is the small businesses that will resurrect the American consumer economy.

Their money trickles up. Well-financed corporations are applying their capital towards robotics and automation with the outcome that production is rising while unemployment continues to rise. No nationally syndicated economist has commented on this trend which indicates that bailout funding of major corporations will do very little to diminish the unemployment statistics. And legislation must be passed to ensure that some manufacturing capacity of all essential goods is retained within this nation.

So the Democratic Party, Congress and the White House can still retain their current majority levels of elected officials if the business of the people is addressed. This is the major neglected priority that must be addressed immediately if Obama is to become a two-term president.

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