the economy generated 916,000 jobs in March, it only generated
266,000 in April, essentially slowing the previous month’s
momentum. Last month, the Biden team was crowing about economic
progress, and Republicans were suggesting that so much progress was
made that we don’t need the stimulus embodied in the American
Families Plan or the American Jobs plan, Biden proposals that will
inject $4 trillion into the economy. Republicans say that unemployed
people won’t go back to work because they get too much money
from unemployment benefits and that there is a “labor
Black unemployment rate is 9.7 percent. If there were a labor
shortage it would not be that high. 9.8 million people are officially
unemployed, and many don't get unemployment benefits, but if
employers think there is a labor shortage, they ought to pay higher
wages. Too many are still paying the minimum $7.25 wage, and some
maneuver to pay even less. They use tactics that require workers to
come to work, do some work, then punch in, work a full day, punch
out, and then go back to their workstation to "clean up".
The big box stores are worst at this, but they aren't the only ones.
have a rocky road to economic recovery. While more than half of all
adults have been vaccinated against the coronavirus, many women
remain homebound because more than half of all schools are not yet
open. Vaccinations will likely be available for children and teens in
the next few months, but until then, some teachers hesitate to return
to the classroom. When teachers aren't teaching, some moms aren't
working. So many women have left the labor market that participation
rates are as low as they were in the 1980s. Affordable child care,
which is included in Biden's American Families Plan, would make it
easier for more women to return to work. Without child care, it's a
rocky road to recovery.
Republicans are treating President Biden nearly as badly as they
treated President Obama. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell
committed to making President Obama a one-term president. He failed,
but he behaved like the Last Obstructionist, blocking legislation,
court appointments and more. Last week, he said that "100
percent of our focus is stopping this new administration." His
focus is not on economic recovery, infrastructure, or health care.
It's on stopping the Biden administration.
and his cronies claim that the Biden infusion of cash in the economy
is inflationary, and prices are, indeed, 2.6 percent higher than they
were a year ago. Many of these price hikes are the result of the
pandemic, with supply chain problems part of the reason for higher
prices. These issues will resolve themselves as we return to “normal”
and supply chains are strengthened. Senate Republicans are using
inflation as a fig leaf; both Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and
Federal Reserve Board Chair Jerome Powell are more concerned with
getting people back to work.
the road to economic recovery is rocky for most, it is even worse for
African Americans who earn just two thirds of what whites earn and
have nearly twice the unemployment as whites (5.3 percent for whites,
9.7 percent for African Americans). While the Biden Administration
has spoken of equity issues, there must be a race-specific plan to
close these gaps.
March job creation data was exciting, but it was also impermanent.
The April data confirms that two steps forward, one step back will be
the path we are on until there is meaningful structural change. That
won’t happen when Republicans are 100 percent focused on
opposing President Biden.
people made money from the pandemic. Some are no worse off than they
were a year ago. But many, especially those at the bottom, continue
to suffer. Republican indifference to this hardship illustrates the
utter callousness that McConnell and his cronies have for most of
their fellow citizens.