Morning Must reads: As The Jobs Crisis Rolls On, Elected Officials Look To Hate To Win Votes

At 8:30 Friday morning, the Bureau of Labor Statistics will release data on September payrolls. Bill McBride provides a rundown of expectations that place the payroll count at 65,000 jobs, which would be an improvement from the total of ZERO jobs created in August. Talk about lowered expectations.

Also note that government payrolls have been shrinking by about 35,000 on average per month this year.

The City of Scranton, in its struggle with declining revenue, is going to choose not to pay some vendors rather than lay off workers.

The city still faces a projected deficit of more than $6 million. Business Administrator Ryan McGowan said officials are planning to pay $8.25 million due on a tax-anticipation note and about $6.2 million in payroll through the end of the year, but about $7 million in bills will not be paid until the city has enough money ... Mr. McGowan said the savings from the pension, the August layoff of 21 police officers and firefighters, as well as other insurance savings, will help the city make payment on the tax anticipation note and payroll.

As the figure below illustrates, local governments all across Pennsylvania in a period of high unemployment have added more than 4,500 people to the unemployment rolls since September 2009.

The recently passed state budget needlessly made cuts to education and health care while sitting on a revenue surplus — a choice that will most certainly lead to yet more layoffs in local government employment in the months ahead. And what are state lawmakers focused on? Jobs English Only.

Given all the real problems our lawmakers should be focusing on, I believe English Only declarations — locally or statewide — are publicity stunts designed to win the votes of residents who resent the influx of Latinos into their communities. It was telling that some of my critics zeroed in on illegal immigrants, even though many Spanish-speakers are here legally. It's a real hot-button issue.

I would encourage you to read of all of Bill White's column. He quotes some of the reader letters he got in response to his story on Pennsylvania's English only bill. I want to quote one of those letters in particular.

I am a single white American citizen who recently relocated back to the Lehigh Valley [from] Los Angeles, where I saw how the illegal immigrant population was totally out of control and the Latinos contributed daily to the lessening of the quality of life there. My house sold at a short sale because no one wanted to pay to live in an area being taken over by Latino gangs and their gunfire and their graffiti! I don't recall being offered any money by the government to compensate me for walking away with nothing after I struggled to pay the mortgage every month.

Very little has been done nationally to help struggling homeowners and we see the very dark consequences of that failure. But the L.A. transplant who blames Latinos for his housing woes is missing the main reason more has not been done to help homeowners. The banks. The Philadelphia Inquirer has a nice editorial urging more to be done to hold the banks accountable for the foreclosure crisis.

More insight into the impact of the mortgage crisis was revealed in a recent analysis by the National Bureau of Economic Research, which looked at high-foreclosure areas in California, Arizona, Florida, and New Jersey and found that increasing numbers of people are suffering from stress-related illnesses. When foreclosures went up, more people went to emergency rooms and were admitted to hospitals for stomach ailments, hypertension, and anxiety-aggravated diabetes. Realistically, lenders probably don't have enough money to fix all that has been broken as a result of their actions, including making people sick. But they should be held accountable. Lenders that foreclosed on families without the proper paperwork and tricked people into taking on mortgages that contained hidden costs should pay a price to help the victims of their avarice recover their lives.

So there you have it! A very disturbing Thursday morning. Elected officials nationally have failed to aid homeowners, appear unlikely to pass legislation to give job growth a boost, and are doing next to nothing to hold the banks accountable. State policymakers after making the economy worse with their state budget while focusing on anything but jobs. And who is to blame for all of this? Hispanics! I much prefer satire in my fiction than in my morning news.


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