Posts tagged with: Barack Obama

Obama hopes to revive spirits in suffering Indiana community

You think unemployment is high where you live? The odds are good that it’s even worse in Elkhart, Ind.

That’s because the unemployment rate in this Indiana community is nearing 17 percent. That’s a rather frightening figure.

Pres. Barack Obama stopped at Elkhart yesterday to give a speech about the economy and his hopes that things are turning around. He took the bold step of tying his own fate into the fate of this Midwest community, saying that he expects to look back at the end of his first term in office to see that Elkhart has come back from the brink, according to a story reported by ABC News.

It’s a pretty risky move. You can bet Obama’s political opponents will be happy to throw this prediction back in the president’s face in 2012 should the unemployment rate in Elkhart – or the rest of the country — still be sky-high.

Personally, I think it’s a nice gesture by Obama. It’s nice to have a president who actually seems like he gives a damn about folks who aren’t wealthy. Will Obama’s policies work? Will they reduce unemployment and get the U.S. economy back on track? Who knows? But at least Obama’s trying. It didn’t seem like our last president even did that much.

Obama promises more than 600,000 new jobs

The unemployment rate for the nation is now above 9 percent. That’s pretty awful. Pres. Barack Obama isn’t happy about this, either. After all, high unemployment figures are keeping the economy from recovering.

Today, Obama promised that the $787 billion stimulus plan will result in more than 600,000 new jobs this summer.

Federal agencies are expected to spend billions of dollars on public-works projects, schools and summer youth programs. And all these projects will bring jobs, Obama said.

The new jobs will certainly help. But these don’t exactly look like stable, long-term jobs. What the country really needs is for companies to start hiring again.

I wonder, though, if this recession has signifcantly altered the world of business. Will companies that have shed so much of their workforce continue to expect their employees to do more work without any pay increases even after the economy recovers? Have businesses discovered that they can squeeze even more work out of their employers?

I certainly hope not. But as I look at the publishing company where I work, and see the amount of work that our now skeletal staff is turning in, I wonder if my bosses might get used to this.

Rising healthcare costs, unemployment a double whammy

It’s hard enough on people that unemployment rates are at record levels across the country. They also have to deal with rising health-care costs.

The Los Angeles Times today ran a story that pointed out what’s painfully obvious to most of us: Medical bills are pushing more families toward financial ruin.

The Times story cites a Harvard University study that says that medical bills played a significant role in 62 percent of all the bankruptcies filed in the United States in 2007. That’s a big increase from 2001. The same researchers then found that medical bills contributed to 55 percent of all bankruptcies filed.

Pres. Barack Obama has made health-care reform a priority. And the public is certainly in need. The problem is, can we trust the government and the health-insurance industry to work together to come up with comprehensive health-care legislation that actually helps the public?

I don’t know. Government tends to make problems worse, when it isn’t attending to them long after it’s too late.

We’ll find out, though. Obama has asked Congress to provide him comprehensive health-care legislation by October. So some changes are undoubtedly on the way.

Worried about your job? At least Pres. Obama won’t be firing you, right?

Think Rick Wagoner is happy that Barack Obama won the presidential election last year?

If you haven’t heard, Wagoner, the former chief executive offier of struggling automaker GM, announced his resignation early this morning. He said this move came at the request of the Obama administration. Yes, the president, essentially, fired the man.

You can read the grim news about GM and the other big U.S. automakers at this story by CNN.

As I look around at the office where I work on a full-time/part-time basis, I’m keeping my eye out for Obama. If I see him sneaking around the halls, I’ll have a pretty good idea that my own boss might be getting the ax.

I’m sure you’re worried about your own job. Everyone is today. But at least you don’t have to worry about Obama himself calling for your head.

Major cities face big job losses in 2009

I live and work near the city of Chicago. I grew up here, and I love the city. There’s a ton of things to do here, a diverse population and some amazing architecture.

Unfortunately, my hometown is in for some serious hurt in 2009 when it comes to job losses.

And Chicago isn’t alone. Other top cities, such as New York City and Los Angeles, are poised to lose even more jobs in 2009.

This grim news comes from a forecast by the U.S. Conference of Mayors. According to the forecast, only five metropolitan areas in the United States will not see job losses this year. If you live in a metropolitan area you better brace yourself for the very real possibility that you — or at least someone you know — will be out of work at some point this year.

Hardest hit will be New York City, expected to lose 181,000 jobs in 2009. The Los Angeles area will lose about 164,000 jobs, while Miami should lose about 85,000. Chicago comes next with 80,000 expected lost jobs.

Of course, the problem is, there aren’t nearly enough replacement jobs for all these out-of-work employees.

Today, the nation witnessed the swearing-in of new president Barack Obama. He’s received high marks for the work he’s done during the transition period. Let’s hope that he and his administration can help boost our economy and get people back to work.