Archive for Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Obama on burden of fixing economy: ‘Give it to me’

July 15, 2009

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— Conceding unemployment will get worse before it shrinks, President Barack Obama on Tuesday unveiled a $12 billion plan to help community colleges prepare millions of people for a new generation of jobs. Challenging critics, he said he welcomed the task of turning around the economy.

“I love the folks who helped get us in this mess and then suddenly say, ‘Well, this is Obama’s economy,’” the president told an outdoor crowd at Macomb Community College, veering off his scripted words. “That’s fine. Give it to me. My job is to solve problems, not to stand on the sidelines and harp and gripe.”

Obama did not identify his target for those comments, but he has been under increasing fire from Republicans over the pace of the economic recovery and the soaring deficit. He brought his message to a state reeling from the loss of auto jobs. Michigan’s unemployment rate is 14.1 percent, the nation’s worst.

“The hard truth is that some of the jobs that have been lost in the auto industry and elsewhere won’t be coming back,” Obama said. “They are the casualties of a changing economy.”

To that end, he proposed an “American Graduation Initiative” to bolster the two-year community college field that serves millions of students as a launching point for careers or a step toward expanded higher education. The idea is to train people for jobs, such as those expected in the clean energy industry, when the economy turns around and begins to create jobs again instead of shedding them.

Under the plan, competitive grants would be offered to schools to try new programs or expand training and counseling.

High dropout rates would be addressed by designing programs to track students and help them earn an associate’s degree or finish their education at a four-year institution. Money would also be spent to renovate and rebuild facilities, and online courses would be developed to help colleges offer more classes.

The White House says the cost would be $12 billion over 10 years; Obama says it would be paid for by ending wasteful subsidies to banks and private lenders of student loans.

Comments

pace 6 years, 1 month ago

This is great. We need to arm the working families with tools for good jobs. I would like to see more WPA type work programs coupled with education benifits.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 1 month ago

Did somebody mention unemployment figures?

"In California and a handful of other states, one out of every five people who would like to be working full time is not now doing so. It is a startling sign of the pain that the Great Recession is inflicting, and it is largely missed by the official, oft-repeated statistics on unemployment. The national unemployment rate has risen to 9.5 percent, the highest level in more than a quarter-century. Yet it still excludes all those who have given up looking for a job and those part-time workers who want to be working full time. Include them — as the Labor Department does when calculating its broadest measure of the job market — and the rate reached 23.5 percent in Oregon this spring, according to a New York Times analysis of state-by-state data. It was 21.5 percent in both Michigan and Rhode Island and 20.3 percent in California. In Tennessee, Nevada and several other states that have relied heavily on manufacturing or housing, the rate was just under 20 percent this spring and may have since surpassed it."

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/15/business/economy/15leonhardt.html?_r=1&hp

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