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A Second Stimulus

April 4, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

There’s a new jobs report (pdf) out today, and it’s not good:

>US employers cut payrolls by a bigger-than-expected 80,000 in March, adding more evidence that a housing downturn and credit crisis have pushed the economy into a recession.
>It was the third monthly decline in a row and the biggest in five years, according to the Labor Department.
>Adding to the bleak picture, the department revised the first two months of the year’s job losses to a total of 152,000 from a previous estimate of 85,000.
>The March unemployment rate jumped to 5.1 percent from 4.8 percent, the highest since a matching rate in September 2005.
>Economists polled ahead of the report forecast a decline of 60,000 in non-farm payrolls and a rise in the unemployment rate to 5 percent.

And an even more disturbing job trend is emerging when you look at just the private sector. The new data shows that, in March, 98,000 private sector jobs disappeared, marking the fourth consecutive month of private-sector losses.

For the past few months, the most active part of OpenCongress, by far, has been the comments section of S.2544, the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Extension Act of 2008. The bill would provide for 20 more weeks of unemployment insurance benefits for unemployed people whose benefits expired with the last year.

There are well over 1,000 comments on the page — people telling their personal stories of struggling with unemployment, as well as vigorous efforts to organize and push the bill into the media’s attention and to get the Senate to pass it. The page has become an impromptu petition, with people from across the country sending it to their members of Congress to show them how bad the unemployment problem is.

Today’s jobs report may have tipped the scales a little closer towards the bill being passed. In response to the report, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and other congressional leaders have begun a serious push for a second stimulus bill, which would almost definitely contain the unemployment insurance extension:

>“When congressional leaders meet with the President next week, I will urge him to refocus his attention on America’s economy and to again work in a bipartisan manner on a new stimulus package. We need to work together to restore consumer and market confidence, to assist millions of Americans threatened with the loss of their homes, and to help families meet the rising costs of necessities"
>House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel, D-Illinois, said, “We need an economic program that rebuilds America and offers real help to the middle class. The Democratic Congress will now begin work on a second stimulus package to help American families and get our economy back on track.”
>A Democratic leadership aide says House leaders have been discussing the need for another stimulus, but have not reached any decisions on what they want included in it. Some measures likely to be considered include funding for infrastructure projects, unemployment assistance, and food stamps.

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  • Anonymous 04/06/2008 1:50pm

    Solution to Iraq – U.S. Military acquires one large building to hold a conference. U.S. military enforces a 5 by 5 city-block perimeter around this building to ensure the safety of all conference participants.

    Conference participants are locally “elected” throughout Iraq. Each neighborhood elects one participant via town hall meetings. No ballot voting shall be used in this process. These meetings shall be small-scale and open forum in nature, occurring in each neighborhood of every city throughout Iraq. Current elected officials are welcome to lobby for a nomination through their respective neighborhoods. Participants must live in the neighborhood they are nominated from. Each participant is allowed a 2 working staff escort. Participants may be male or female, and of good health.

    Participants of the conference shall create a living document that immediately declares Iraqi ownership of all Iraqi oil. This document must satisfy all Iraqi ownership of oil.
    All oil within the borders of the sovereign Iraqi nation will immediately belong to Iraqi citizens and any Iraqi citizen will become an immediate shareholder in the Iraqi Oil reserve. The Oil reserve will consist of both refined and unrefined oil deposits. The conference members must achieve a workable consensus and create the document.
    The document must be written by hand. All participants will then sign this document in front of U.N. Security Council witnesses.

    This proposal is then offered to the United States Head of State via live telecast. The United States can then accept or reject the proposal.

    Conference participants are elected in the summer of 2008. Once all participants are registered the conference shall begin no later than October 28, 2008. The conference, once commenced, shall last no longer than 13 days. Upon entry of the conference building all participants will be protected by the U.S. Military and no personnel will be allowed to either leave or enter the grounds of the conference perimeter whatsoever.
    Food and any necessary medical supplies will be provided by the United States military and any interested foundations. All living supplies of this nature are supplied once. The supplies must be more than adequate to feed and sustain the well-being of all participates for 13 days. Each participant and his or her staff member is given a package which includes all the necessities they will need for the duration of the conference. Participants are welcome to bring their own food. Microwaves will be available for cooking. All items however are subject to Military screening before being permitted into the conference perimeter.

    Local and International press will be allowed to attend the meeting’s conclusion, when the document will be formally released and offered in a televised reading. The reader will be elected within the conference by the participants. The reading of the document aloud marks the official adjournment of the conference.

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