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Jobs

The Takeaway

Jobless Rate Remains at 9.1 Percent

Friday, October 07, 2011

Employers added 103,000 jobs in September, keeping the unemployment rate at 9.1 percent. Employers have added an average of only 72,000 jobs in the last five months. The economy must create twice as many in order to keep up with population growth. The figures rebuff grim warnings from economists in recent weeks that the U.S. is headed for a double-dip recession. Many economist continue to be concerned over the growing European sovereign debt crisis, which President Obama said in a press conference on Thursday "could have a very real effect on our economy at a time when it's already fragile."

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WNYC News

Economy Adds Jobs, But Unemployment Rate Stays 9.1 Percent

Friday, October 07, 2011

As President Barack Obama pushes Congress to approve his jobs bill, the latest jobs report out Friday shows 103,000 jobs were created in September — better than most economists and analysts had forecast.

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The Takeaway

This Week's Agenda: Wall Street Protests, Jobs Bill, Ben Bernanke

Monday, October 03, 2011

The New York police department arrested over 700 Occupy Wall Street protesters Saturday, for allegedly walking across the Brooklyn Bridge's roadway, instead of using the pedestrian path. Now in its third week, the movement has spread to other cities around the nation. Meanwhile, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke is scheduled to testify before Congress tomorrow on the economic outlook for the country, and unemployment figures are set to be released Friday, as President Obama continues to push his jobs bill. And Nevada has moved its caucus date back, ahead of Florida's, which will likely affect the race for the Republican nomination.

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The Takeaway

Unpaid Interns Sue 'Black Swan' Production Company

Friday, September 30, 2011

Two men are suing Fox Searchlight, saying the company violated minimum wage and overtime laws when they employed the two as interns on the Academy Award-winning film "Black Swan." In these uncertain economic times, many film studios and other employers have been hiring more unpaid interns. For the company that hires interns, the benefit is a free worker, and for the intern the benefit is a learning experience, and possibly a paid job offer in the future. The federal labor department has a set list of rules that unpaid internships must follow: the position should benefit the intern, it should not displace other employees, and it should be educational. Did Fox Searchlight violate these rules?

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The Takeaway

Obama Loses Black Voters as Approval Rating Slips

Monday, September 26, 2011

President Obama's approval ratings are at an all-time low. August's Gallup poll numbers showed that 41 percent of American adults approve of the way Obama is currently handling his job. Some of the largest declines in approval come from African-American voters — a group that formerly voted for Obama.

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The Takeaway

This Week's Agenda: Obama Out West, Government Shutdown Looms

Monday, September 26, 2011

It's Monday morning, which means we're looking at the agenda for the week ahead. President Obama will make a west coast trip this week, hitting Seattle, the San Francisco Bay area, San Diego, Los Angeles and Denver, raising funds for his re-election campaign and advocating for his jobs bill. Back in Washington, D.C., Congress is in the midst of another stalemate over government funds. Meanwhile, some key economic indicators will be released this week, including home sales figures and consumer confidence reports.

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Schoolbook

Pearson Expands Downtown, Consolidating Technology Jobs

Monday, September 19, 2011

The education and publishing company Pearson is expanding its presence in New York City by adding 600 jobs to a consolidated new office in western SoHo by the summer of 2014.

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WNYC News

Velázquez: Obama Jobs Plan Would Recoup Lost Construction Jobs

Friday, September 16, 2011

If enacted, President Obama's jobs plan would create more than 27,000 jobs in New York City's hard-hit construction industry, through new infrastructure spending, according to a report prepared by Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez (D-Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan).

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The Takeaway

Boehner's Jobs Speech Looks to the Private Sector

Friday, September 16, 2011

House speaker John Boehner made his own speech about jobs yesterday, to the Economic Club of Washington. In his speech, Boehner said, "The president’s proposals are a poor substitute for the pro-growth policies that are needed to remove barriers to job creation in America ... the policies that are needed to put America back to work," and stressed the importance of the private sector in generating jobs.

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Transportation Nation

Mica's Love-Hate Relationship with Infrastructure Finance

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

 

It was only minutes after President Barack Obama delivered his jobs speech to a joint session of Congress last Thursday night that House Transportation and Infrastructure Chair John Mica (R-Fla) was dismissing outright one of the President’s main proposals. “I’m strongly opposed to any type of a new federal infrastructure bank,” Mica told Todd Zwillich after the speech. “We’ve already had experience with some of these federal grant programs that requires Washington bureaucrats, Washington red tape, Washington approvals and then bowing and scraping to Washington.”

There are many kinds of potential infrastructure banks, of course, and indeed some lawmakers—including Mica’s Democratic predecessor, James Oberstar—imagined a bank as the grant-making group of technocrats Mica abhors. Others, however, have suggested that a federal infrastructure bank should act... well, something like a bank: It should loan money independently of politics with revenue generation in mind.

In his speech last Thursday, Obama telegraphed a few clues that he was imagining the latter type (my italics for emphasis): “No more earmarks. No more boondoggles. No more bridges to nowhere. We’re cutting the red tape that prevents some of these projects from getting started as quickly as possible. And we’ll set up an independent fund to attract private dollars and issue loans based on two criteria: how badly a construction project is needed and how much good it will do for the economy.”

The President went on to say that, “This idea came from a bill written by a Texas Republican and a Massachusetts Democrat,” a reference to the Building and Upgrading Infrastructure for Long-Term Development, or BUILD Act, sponsored by Senators John Kerry and Kay Bailey Hutchison. Since revealed, the infrastructure bank provision of the American Jobs Act is almost a cut-and-paste from the BUILD Act. Both would create an “American Infrastructure Financing Authority” that would “provide direct loans and loan guarantees to facilitate infrastructure projects that are both economically viable and of regional or national significance” and are backed by “tolls, user fees, or other dedicated revenue sources.”

Again, Chairman Mica opposes this. What does he support? The expansion of a program called TIFIA, which stands for the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act. And what does TIFIA provide? Direct loans, loan guarantees and standby lines of credit "for qualified projects of regional and national significance" "with tolls and other forms of user-backed revenue."

By now you've noticed that the Kerry-Hutchison infrastructure bank (which Mica opposes) bears a striking resemblance to the already-popular TIFIA program (which Mica supports). But there are some differences:

  • The program that Mica supports helps the public and private sectors build transportation infrastructure, while the program Mica strongly opposes would help these same sectors build transportation, water, or energy infrastructure.
  • The mechanism that Mica supports can loan up to 33 percent of an eligible project’s total costs, while the mechanism Mica opposes can loan up to 50 percent.
  • Mica’s reauthorization proposal (pdf) from July set aside $6 billion to the program that Mica supports, while Obama and Kerry and Hutchison want to set aside $10 billion for the program that Mica opposes.
  • The program that Mica opposes because it would be run by “Washington bureaucrats” would in fact be run by a revolving group of seven people appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate, no more than four of whom could be from the same political party; the program that Mica  supports is run entirely by executive branch bureaucrats working under the Secretary of Transportation.

Which of these key differences between the infrastructure bank and TIFIA causes Chairman Mica to hate one and love the other? Mica spokesperson Justin Harclerode acknowledged this was a good question, but could only re-emphasize the contrast in positions without explaining it. “You’re right that Chairman Mica supports TIFIA. We know that TIFIA works, and he plans to capitalize TIFIA more than in the past,” he emailed. “There have been various [infrastructure bank] proposals, but we just don’t believe that creating another government-sponsored enterprise like Fannie or Freddie is the way to go.”

Meanwhile, are there other TIFIA lovers out there who are infrastructure bank haters? Are we missing something? I’m looking for wonky insight. Don't tell me this is just partisan posturing!

Matt Dellinger is the author of the book Interstate 69: The Unfinished History of the Last Great American Highway. You can follow him on Twitter.

 

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The Takeaway

Obama Takes Jobs Act to Ohio and North Carolina

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

President Obama continues his jobs tour today, in an attempt to gain public support for the Jobs Act. Tuesday, he visited Ohio, and today he will appear in Raleigh, North Carolina to continue spreading the message and meet with small business owners. Despite President Obama's claims not to be campaigning early for the 2012 election, the White House hopes to persuade voters he has the right strategy on the economy, and put pressure on Republicans to pass the package of spending initiatives and tax cuts.

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The Takeaway

Details of Obama's Jobs Bill

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Congress received President Obama's jobs bill yesterday, giving them an up-close look at the details of it. Some Republicans are skeptical of the plan, but Obama is urging for a speedy passage of the bill, in order to get unemployed Americans back to work as soon as possible.

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The Takeaway

This Week's Agenda: Obama's Jobs Tour, First Tea Party Debate

Monday, September 12, 2011

President Barack Obama continues his jobs tour this week, with stops in Columbus, Ohio and Raleigh-Durham, N.C., rallying support for his jobs plan. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is expected to speak at a conference on regulation of systemic risk on Thursday, five days before the Federal Open Market Committee begins its meetings next week. Tonight, is the first Tea Party debate, which GOP presidential hopefuls Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney and Rick Perry are expected to attend. And Anthony Weiner's old Congressional seat in New York's ninth district is up for grabs in a special election tomorrow.

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WNYC News

Markets Tank Day After Obama's Speech

Friday, September 09, 2011

WNYC

U.S. markets plunged sharply Friday amid fears about Europe and skepticism that Congress can pass President Barack Obama's $447 billion jobs package.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Obama's Job Speech

Friday, September 09, 2011

Anna Sale, political reporter for It's A Free Country, talks about the response to President Obama's job speech last night and what it will mean for the 2012 elections, and WNYC business and economics editor Charlie Herman discusses the economics of the proposal and how the business world might respond.

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The Takeaway

Did the President's Address Do Enough to Impress Voters?

Friday, September 09, 2011

President Obama's address last night was seen by many as a crucial political moment — a chance for him to reinvigorate support for his strategy on the economy and job creation. Obama's approval rating has been at an all-time low, so the stakes were high. He needed to reach the electorate and instill confidence in voters. How well did he do? This is the question we’re discussing with constituents from around the country.

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The Takeaway

Obama Calls Congress to Take Action on Jobs Plan

Friday, September 09, 2011

President Barack Obama addressed a joint session of Congress and television viewers across the country last night, presenting a $447 billion package of tax cuts and new government spending meant to increase jobs in America. Obama urged Congress to "pass this jobs plan right away." After the speech, House speaker John Boehner said "The proposals the president outlined tonight merit consideration." Will Obama's plan pass through Congress and, more importantly, will it work?

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The Takeaway

Quick Poll: Your Reactions to President Obama's Jobs Speech

Friday, September 09, 2011

Last night just after President Obama finished his address to a joint session of Congress, we wanted to conduct a quick poll, and asked 200 of our listeners from all over the country to give us their immediate reaction. We got a substantial response, and we're still taking submissions. If you want to participate, comment here, or sign up to be part of our texting team and our daily conversations on the news by texting "start" to 69866. Check out the graph of responses below. 

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The Takeaway

Answering Listener Questions About Obama's Jobs Speech

Friday, September 09, 2011

President Barack Obama addressed a joint session of Congress and television viewers across the country last night, presenting a $447 billion package of tax cuts and new government spending meant to increase jobs in America. Obama urged Congress to "pass this jobs plan right away." We asked our listeners to submit questions they have about the jobs plan, and the likelihood that it will pass.

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It's A Free Country ®

Remarks of President Barack Obama in an Address to a Joint Session of Congress

Thursday, September 08, 2011

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
Remarks of President Barack Obama in an Address to a Joint Session of Congress

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