2009-10-30 / Columnists

The Progressive

Recover y
Commentary By John Paul Culotta

It is always encouraging to hear that the Dow-Jones has had a good day, or that retail sales did better than expected, or that banks have had a profitable quarter. Many experts tell us our economy is well on the road to recovery. We are also told we should expect a high unemployment rate for a considerable amount of time. This is a sad commentary. Why do we consider that any economy is on the road to recovery without relief for the population and less fortunate of our society? Are people less important than the GDP? Are workers just a commodity? Do we work for an economic ideal or does an economic ideal work for the citizens and residents of this nation?

According to an October 14, 2009 New York Times article, many Ameri - cans are still employed, but with drastic cuts in remuneration. Our unemployment statistics do not reflect the true rate of unemployment. Young people looking for their first job after high school or college are not reflected in the statistics. People who have given up on any prospect of securing employment are also not reflected in the statistics. Many people who would have retired in previous economic times because of the high cost of living and the poor stock market returns have decided to remain in the labor market. Young people are finding securing employment difficult. If they secure employment the remuneration and benefits package is considerably less than in previous years. Also on Octo - ber 14, 2009 the New York Times re - ported that the armed services are reaching their recruitment goals for the first time in many years, despite certain deployment in war zones, be - cause of the state of the economy. Most economic stories regarding Ameri can citizens are dismal.

It is imperative for the White House and Congress to address the plight of Americans who need an economy that works for them and not the greedy leaders of our corporations and financial wizards of Wall Street. Unemploy - ment insurance length increases do not address the problem. Americans need work that pay wages that ensure a decent standard of living. Americans need to be trained for the future world of work. Our aging school buildings need repair and restoration, our highways and bridges need repair, transit systems need repair, and our industries need to be green.

America must return to respect of honest labor and workers need a say in their future. Labor unions are an important asset for democratic stability. In recent days the Transit Workers Union (TWU) is being criticized by the press because the workers are expressing outrage at our mayor's refusal to recognize an arbitrator's decision re - garding the workers' compensation. The union agreed to arbitration at the city's urging. Mayor Bloomberg's disregard for the recognized protocol in labor relations is proof of his arrogance and disdain for the average New York - er. Atlantic Yards project is another example. This proposal uses the eminent domain doctrine and tax benefits to make a private company bottom line better. His Honor only is concerned with the financial industry and the hospitality industry. Mr. Bloom berg must learn our city belongs to all New Yorkers not just developers. Eight years is enough!

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