Thursday, December 08, 2005

Arbeit Macht Frei

Today we are going to talk about money. Those of us who don’t have a whole helluva a lot of it tend to talk about it a lot. I know, I know… it’s just not polite cocktail party conversation. But for most of us, worrying about how we are going to pay our mortgage, AND our utilities in the same month; keep our growing kids in sneakers, and squeeze enough gas in the car to get to work makes us increasingly impolite.

And right now? I’m feeling downright crass.

So what are the two main causes of money woes? If you are George W. Bush the answer is tax breaks for your buddies and unholy wars.

But for the rest of us? Well, the two reasons listed above don’t help any; but the biggest issues are unemployment and underemployment.

Now underemployment is something most of us have dealt with in our careers, including the candidate. And it is an issue I would like to address further at another time.

And after a few shots of tequila.

But this week Team Stallings was lucky enough to add a real-honest-to-goodness economist to the brain trust. Now that we have him on board, we can actually call it a brain trust without busting out laughing at ourselves.

Caron Richard Waits, Ph.D. is a Professor Emeritus at Texas Christian University and is one of those rare people who can take something as complicated as economics and make it understandable for the rest of us. So when he sent us this email today, we knew we had to pass it along right away.

I just received the Bureau of Labor Statistics monthly report on employment changes. Here is what it shows:

"Non-farm payroll employment increased by 215,000 in November. . ." This figure resulted from a survey of business establishments and involves double counting of persons who have taken a second job and includes any increase in UNFILLED positions.

However, the Household Survey of employment (the traditional method of estimating the number of employed persons) shows a DECLINE in the number employed of 52,000.

The Household Survey also shows an INCREASE in the number UNEMPLOYED of 149,000 and an INCREASE in the number no longer in the work force of 148,000.

Now, I haven’t been able to find any kind of policy set by Mr. Corte in terms of employment, labor (remember now that his labor support in the last election was a big fat goose egg), job training, or economic development.

Actually, unless it is about raiding the public school coffers or finding ways to make it as miserable as possible to be a female member of the species, Mr. Corte doesn’t seem to do a whole lot of anything.

Maybe it is kinda hard for him to work up some feelings of concern for the unemployed. After all, Mr. Corte has a job. And his district statistics show higher rates of employment, lower rates of unemployment, a signficantly higher margin of college educated people, and a signficantly lower number of high school dropouts than the state average.

This statistical analysis doesn’t show income levels in comparison to the norm. But I imagine they are a lot more comfortable than the state average. The 122 is a fairly comfortable, even wealthy, district. But this a rarity in South Texas. When you look at the state averages next to the district averages, the numbers are immensely disturbing. And while it may not be in our own back yard, it is right next door.

Unemployment is an overwhelming problem. We aren’t going to be cute and throw out any slogan-y, pat solutions. We know it is going to involve multiple courses of action over a number of years to create a strong, successful workforce in this state. Having people like Dr. Waits on board is a great way to get started.

So let's help Mr. Corte feel the nip of unemployment by voting him out of office next Fall. And then start winning this battle against unemployment by fighting to get this bill out of the great sucking vortex of committee neverland and onto the House floor.


Blogger dksbook said...

Shoot, Frank'll make more if we vote him out of office! He is eligible for the nice $54K retirement. He will make more retiring from the Lege than serving in it!

6:05 AM  

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