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Obama's Policies Are Like Herbert Hoover's

In September, 2008, when Bush’s Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson proposed the first giveaway of $800 billion to the banks I started writing articles against the giveaway as 99 out of 100 U.S. citizens were against the giveaway. Unfortunately, Obama has supported the first giveaway to the banks of $800 billion and then given away TRILLIONS more to the banks and AIG.

Let’s look at figures showing how the U.S. people are doing in the last six months. For the last few months the U.S. has lost 500,000 jobs/month and lost 650,000 jobs in March. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said that the overall unemployment rate has risen from 6.0% in the third quarter (May-July) 2008 to 8.1% in February 2009. For blacks, the unemployment rate has risen from 10.7% in May-June 2008 to 13.4% in February 2009. For Hispanics, from 7.8 % in May-June 2008 to 10.9%. In Los Angeles, California, where I live, the Los Angeles Times reported that the overall unemployment in February 2009 for California was 10.5% while in Los Angeles County it is 10.9%.These are the worse unemployment numbers for the U.S since 1982-3. Many academic economists think all these unemployment figures are much too low since part-time workers and unemployed workers who aren't actively seeking jobs aren't counted. If those who have given up looking for a job and those who are underemployed are counted, then the unemployment rate would be at least 15%. That, my friends, are Depression unemployment figures.

As for foreclosures, the U.S. Foreclosure Market Report reported in 2008 foreclosures in the United States were a 81% increase over foreclosures in 2007 and 225% increase over foreclosures in 2006. From January 2009 to February 2009 foreclosures increased 6%. The U.S foreclosure rate of February 2009 forclosures increased 30% over February 2008 rates. Obama's small measure to help foreclosures doesn't help the vast majority of people still facing this problem.

Declining real estate prices cause declines in school budgets. In Florida, the huge decline in real estate prices have meant a 20% decline in school budgets, so teachers get laid off. That pattern is appearing nationwide as declining real estate prices mean less funds for school budgets meaning over 400,000% teachers nationwide have gotten layoff notices this spring.

February 17, 2009, Obama’s $787 stimulus package was passed. By the end of March, 2009, 5,700,000 jobs were lost. According to CNN Money February 17, 2009, “The official benchmark estimates from the White House: 3.5 million jobs will be created or saved over the next two years, and over 90% of them will be in the private sector.” So the White House plans the $787 billion stimulus package to generate the federal government hiring a mere 350,000 people over the next 3 years. Since the job-hiring parts of the stimulus pacakge won't start until 2010, these mere 350,000 jobs won't appear until next year.

Economist such as Mark Zandi, chief economy at Moody’s, disagrees, with White House estimates: “Indeed I expect the economy to lose another 3 million jobs with stimulus but over 4 million without it." So the U.S. economy could shed another 3 million jobs in the next 2-3 years plus 5,700,000 million already lost jobs to make 8,700,000 lost jobs. Most of the Obama stimulus spending on jobs in transportation or construction or updating health records won’t take place until 2010. If Zandi is right, the economy twill shed 8,700,000 million jobs from 2009 to 2011 while the government hires 350,000 people. That’s s really bleak unemployment outlook.

It's sad that Obama has not imitated FDR in his economic stimulus program but Herbert Hoover in letting the masses of U.S. citizens lose their jobs , their homes and teachers for their children. FDR, in contrast, ordered in 1933 Harry Hopkins to have the government hire 4 million people; by January, 1934 Hopkins had hired 4 million people on government programs. According to National Review online FDR reduced unemployment from 33% in 1933 to 7% in 1936 to 3% in 1940 to 0.5 % in 1942. Another economist James K. Galbraith says, “The Roosevelt administration reduced unemployment from 25 per cent in 1933 to 9 per cent in 1936.” The federal government from 1934-1940 was the largest employer in the country.

What did all these people working for the federal government do? James Galbraith said that the workers on federal projects “built or renovated 2,500 hospitals, 45,000 schools, 13,000 parks and playgrounds, 7,800 bridges, 700,000 miles of roads, and a thousand airfields. And it employed 50,000 teachers, rebuilt the country's entire rural school system, and hired 3,000 writers, musicians, sculptors and painters, including Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock. Obama is not following FDR but in following Hoover in letting millions go unemployed along with a paltry stimulus with a tiny amount of jobs.

What we need now is a program like FDR’s that will hire 4 million people to do exactly what the WPA and CCC did in the 1930s: build bridges, roads, schools, parks, post offices etc. I’m looking for a demonstration to go to in Los Angeles to voice my opposition to Obama’s paltry stimulus and to ask for a jobs program to hire not 350,000 but 4 million in the next six months. Be like FDR! Hire 4 million people now!

 The unemployment figures in this piece was updated 4/5/09 to include March unemployment numbers.