The Constitution gives Congress primary power over taxes and spending. Congress gives money to the executive branch designated for specific purposes. The president isn’t empowered to take money appropriated for, say, the Pentagon, and spend it instead on a new jobs program of his own design. When past presidents have tried to exert economic powers beyond what’s given to them by Congress and the Constitution, they’ve gotten slapped down.
President Harry Truman tried to take over the steel industry, citing a national emergency, but the Supreme Court ruled the action unconstitutional, Galston noted. Richard Nixon tried to “impound” money that Congress had appropriated rather than spend it as intended, but Congress struck back with a budget act that constrained him and effectively denied him the power.
[Former policy advisor William] Galston suggested that 90 to 95 percent of what Obama will recommend next week “will require someone else’s consent,” namely Congress.
Republicans say there’s plenty Obama could do, beginning with embracing tax cuts, revoking federal regulations that they say handcuff business — and abandoning any push for more federal spending to spark job creation.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, on Friday blamed sluggish private-sector job growth on the “triple threat of higher taxes, more failed ‘stimulus’ spending and excessive federal regulations.
I’ve spent a chunk of summer vacation visiting old friends here [in Yamhill, Oregon], and I can’t help feeling that national politicians and national journalists alike have dropped the ball on jobs. Some 25 million Americans are unemployed or underemployed — that’s more than 16 percent of the work force — but jobs haven’t been nearly high enough on the national agenda.
When Americans are polled about the issue they care most about, the answer by a two-to-one margin is jobs. The Boston Globe found that during President Obama’s Twitter “town hall” last month, the issue that the public most wanted to ask about was, by far, jobs. Yet during the previous two weeks of White House news briefings, reporters were far more likely to ask about political warfare with Republicans.
(I’m an offender, too: I asked President Obama a question at the Twitter town hall, and it was a gotcha query about his negotiations with Republicans. I’m sorry that I missed the chance to push him on the issue that Americans care most about.)
A study by National Journal in May found something similar: newspaper articles about “unemployment” apparently fell over the last two years, while references to the “deficit” soared.
When I’m back on the family farm in Yamhill, our very closest neighbor is one of those 25 million. Terry Maggard worked on a crew detecting underground gas, electrical or cable lines, and after 15 years on the job he was earning $20 an hour. Then at the outset of the recession in late 2008 his employer fired him and the other old-timers, and hired younger workers — who earned only $9 or $10 an hour.
Terry has been knocking on doors everywhere, including at McDonald’s, but nobody wants a 56-year-old man. “The only call I got in two years was one asking if I could be a French chef,” he recalled, laughing. “I said ‘Oui.’ ”
How is “did we drop the ball on unemployment?” even a QUESTION???
and let me just say before anybody beats me to it…
just because I think it’s important to question and be critically aware of the place of *business* within the organizing framework—does NOT mean I’m all for obliterating 501c3s tomorrow and giving side eye to anybody who works at one. I am from Michigan. I know jobs are precious things. I would never wish joblessness on anybody.
I am suggesting instead—critical awareness of 501c3s—and approaching them as another tool to be used, in the bigger over arching goal of gender liberation and transformative radical change. I am also suggesting that it needs to be made much more obvious that joining a 501c3 does NOT mean you are joining a movement. It means you have a job that may or may not *help* those who are in a movement. “movement” needs to be redefined such that those women who are working on the grill line or as vets or who, god forbid, don’t have jobs at all or work in street economies—understand you don’t have to work at a 501c3 to be a part of a movement. that *they* are the leaders and who should be prioritized in any movement.
The idea that we need to pay 20 people to do 900 hours worth of organizing labor needs to be challenged such that we are eventually working towards the goal of 5 million people doing 1 hour worth of organizing labor.
501c3s will not bring structural or institutional change. 5 million people will. And the question is not “should you have a job” or be a segregationist on high refusing to engage in any unclean impure politcs at all—the question is—how can we rethink 501c3s as “movement.” and how can we reach the goal of 5 million people fighting for gender liberation and radical transformative change.
This is… yeah. I’m currently engaged in serious job-search mode and I’m looking primarily at nonprofits—not because I believe wholly in the nonprofit system, but because it’s the least objectionable option for me. I really don’t believe in the way the USA does capitalism anymore, and I don’t have the background to work to implement reforms.
But I’m not looking at only explicitly ~feminist~ nonprofits. I’m looking for positions at organizations that are broadly aligned with feminist goals but specifically work to distribute care to people who need it. My friend B and I have had a couple of really good conversations about this, because we’re at different stages of thinking about what our ~careers~ are going to be, and the upshot of it is that it’s less about doing feminism and more about doing something feminist, bringing feminist perspectives to things that aren’t necessarily explicitly feminist.
That’s a pretty liberal perspective, as opposed to radical—attempting to create change from within the system vs. tearing down the system & starting over. But I think that radical change and liberal change work best in concert together: change the system from within, expose the flaws, so it’s easier to tear it down. And from a practical perspective, I don’t think you can expect radical change from an organization enmeshed in the capitalist system. So I do liberal work for my day job, and I do radical work at night, on the weekends.
That still doesn’t answer the problem the OP at Feministe raises: if I’m too radical, no liberal organization will hire me. I don’t have a way to address that, except to maybe look at jobs where the relation of my radicalism to the mission of the organization isn’t evident at first glance. But I do think, in terms of achieving feminist goals, nonprofit work is valuable—it’s just not enough.
The millions of college educated young people who cannot get jobs or who take work that does not require a college education are in danger of losing their faith in the future. They are indefinitely postponing the life they wanted and prepared for; all that matters is finding rent money. Even if the job market becomes as robust as it was in 2007 — something economists say could take more than a decade — my generation will have lost years of career-building experience.”
So this quotation is clearly coming from a place of significant class privilege. But despite that, and despite my skepticism with respect to ~careers~ and the current system of USian capitalism in general, it’s a good point.