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September 5, 2010

Three Ways to Put America Back to Work Now!

By Chaz Valenza

President Obama says there is very little the government can do to create jobs. We can't do anything to create jobs? Really!?

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Labor Day 2010

In theory The Great Recession is history, but for those of us who live and work on Real Street the carnage and horror continues. On Real Street, outside the gated communities where 1% of the people own 90% of everything, we are now at 99 weeks and counting.

The insurance we purchased over years of dutiful employment has run out. We will be living on the street soon, it's just a matter of time.


Police evict MA couple evicted despite protest. September 2008. by Boston Globe (David L. Ryan/Globe Staff)

If you're a small business on Real Street, a business run by a real person that employs less than 25 real workers, that relies on real people to purchase real goods and real services, the economy looks like a desert of foreclosure and unemployment. We search the horizon from our shop windows and trade vans thirsty for customers. They're out there, but they're penny less and some are bleeding a real sadness that will be diagnosed as depression.

And, what has our government done to get us back to work? Nothing. The Congress has done nothing. The White House has done nothing. The Chamber of Commerce has done nothing. The Democratic, Republican, Green, Liberal, Socialist, Tea parties have done nothing.

The economists and the stock market have been cheering for months that our troubles are behind us. They say there will be no second economic crash. But, out here on Real Street the Gross Domestic Product is nothing more than a mantra economists chant while they contemplate in their dirty navels.

Week after week, Paul Krugman of the New York Times argues economic semantics with the likes of the Wall Street Journal as the main stream media throws gasoline on the fighters to fire up the political polarization. Cut the crap. None of it matters. We're dying from a thousand cuts of being nickle and dimed.

President Obama says there is very little the government can do to create jobs. I wretch and my eyes bulge each time I hear our most promising leader in decades spew such a lie. The government makes the rules. The current rules aren't working or were never enforced. Take the bull by the horns you shameless flak for Wall Street and do something: Put the American people back to work now!

Small businesses are running on cash flow fumes. High unemployment, less and less discretionary income, fewer and fewer middle class families means less customers spending less and less and less. Add them up: a few million 1099 workers without benefits here, tens of millions of part-time and freelance workers there, millions more struggling to pay the rent, before you know it you're talking real unemployment and peonage.

We can't do anything to create jobs? Really!?


Bangalore call center. Outsourcing Jobs to India. by Picture from TIME Inc.

One: End the H1B Visa and All Tax Incentives for Offshore Jobbing

The H1B is nothing more than a license to put American workers on the unemployment line. There are plenty of people right here in America right now that can do anything a person from any other county can do.

The only Americans that benefit from the H1B, other than CorpPersons, are the lawyers toiling day after day to craft absurd job specifications allowing companies to not employ Americans and import cheaper workers. None of that was the intent of the H1B in theory, but on Real Street that is exactly how this nonsensical device is used.

Who doesn't believe Americans can do any job here? Where in the world are there better workers? That we are failures and have fallen behind is a myth. We are the hardest working people in the world, you know it, I know it, the corporations know it and the government knows it. American workers are a real value, until you have to pay them what they're worth and a living wage necessary to live in America.

Requiring Hindi language skills to work in America to better work with a foreigner who has taken your job is circular logic any software spreadsheet would not let you get away with.

President Obama promised to end the tax breaks that are sending jobs offshore. I suggest he do more. Tax offshore labor the way you tax all of us here. Why do they get to work in another country and ship their labor here tax free? I'd like to say I'm phoning it in from Bangalore and, therefore, I'm not subject federal and state payroll, sales and use taxes on my services.

Educated, skilled, professional, eager to work Americans are on the sidelines now, benched without hope of getting back in the game. They are losing their skills to foreigners because Big Greed corporations will not let them train on the job, which is how any new and now necessary skills are learned.

Shame on you Mr. President. Shame on every elected member of Congress for allowing the H1B and its flagrant abuse continue. End it!

And, one last word on this to all the conservative economists and anyone else who spouts the lie that globalization is unstoppable and always good: Don't dare call me a protectionist. Until the playing fields are level from country to country globalization is just a ruse to enrich the pockets of Wall Street and the monied elite.

Finally, just to make sure that every able bodied man and woman in America that wants to work has a job, Mr. President, you should temporarily rescind all international trade agreements until this crisis is over, the crisis on Real Street that is.

Two: Enforce a Home Foreclosure Moratorium

At the beginning of the Great Recession banks took over homes and put them on the market. Then, they began warehousing foreclosed homes with chip board and spray paint. Now, they're ignoring mortgage delinquencies so as not to draw attention to their insolvency. In doing so, Big Banking recast neighborhoods into blighted slums and made the unemployed and under-employed into the indefinitely non-employable homeless.

These actions are despicable anytime, but particularly in a time of crisis manufactured from the greed and fraud of the same banks that are now tossing American families into the street.

The Obama Administration's, voluntary for the mortgage industry, Making Homes Affordable program is a farce. It is doing little to nothing to end the inhumane practice of making American's homeless. You not allowed to do this to a dog, but the banks can do it to American families.

I am certain a sane, practical and fair moratorium on home foreclosure for those who have lost their ability to temporarily pay the rent, due to no fault of their own, can be crafted.

Foreclosures, at this point in a worldwide financial crisis, are destroying people, families and the property that the banks claim is so valuable. Leave a house empty, watch it fall.

Mr. President, members of Congress, how can you watch this happen on your watch! How? Americans without enough work are spending sleepless nights, convulsing in hopelessness. You should be doing the same until you end this atrocity.

With a foreclosure moratorium in effect, out of work Americans can at least continue to spend what money they have on life's other necessities and have a address from which to search for employment. It will help break the downward economic spiral of both the housing crash and cash crunch. It's an instant unemployment benefit in the form of temporary rent relief. If time is money, and it is, all this costs us is the time it will take. Time allowing unemployed Americans a place to sleep that would otherwise be empty and deteriorating. Cash that will immediately be spent and, therefore, create customers and demand that will spur employment growth in the private sector.


Windmills in Copenhagen. by Common Alternative Energy Sources.

Three: Renewable Energy Investment

Oil is the problem. Renewable energy, made in America, is the answer. Renewable energy is the Erie Canal, the locomotive, the railroad, the little engine and the fuel that could and can drive our economy out of this crisis.

Don't call it stimulus. That will just get the know-nothing economists fighting with each other. It's an investment and it must be made now.

Start with enough money to put a new roof and solar energy system on every home in American. Grant every homeowner up to $40,000 in the form of a no interest loan with a payment equal to the loan amount divided by 360 months. These loans should be attached to the home's deed and pass on to the next owner until the grant is paid in full.


Necessary roofing a huge, quick boost in construction employment. by This Old House - PBS.

Next, I want to see windmills. They are the most beautiful things in the world and I want to see them everywhere. I live at the Jersey Shore and I would love nothing more than to see windmills to the horizon and beyond as I peruse the Atlantic Ocean.

They say we may break-even on the Wall Street (extortion) bailout called the Troubled Asset Repurchase Program (TARP). Big deal. What was the estimated possible downside cost of the banks plunging 90% of us into turmoil? I'll remind you, $700 billion. That ought to be enough.

Let's INVEST $700 billion over ten years on renewable energy. Earmark all of it for American companies and American labor. You off shore anything, you're out. Better set up a separate company to do this and we will be looking at the books, records and up your ass to see if you're hiding a H1B.

Don't tell me we can't spend it all in America. We can. (See Number Two).

Break-even? Ha! America will be ready for anything. America will be so green the sky might fall. The return on investment will be in multiples of hundreds, just like the old Erie Canal which, by the way, was called Governor Clinton's Folly. It proved to be one of the best investments New York State ever made.

Oh, you politicians that don't want to do this. As we say here in New Jersey, I would hate for to see sometem' bad happen to such a nice guy such as yourself. If you know what I mean.



Submitters Bio:

Chaz Valenza is writer and small business owner in New Jersey. He earned his MBA from New York University's Stern School of Business. His current feature film project is "Single Point Failure" an insider's account of how the Reagan Administration caused the greatest tragedy of the space age based on Richard C. Cook's book "Challenger Revealed." He is a former Director of Public Information for Planned Parenthood of NYC. His website is: www.WordsWillNever.com

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