Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Metal Trades Disappointed at NGS Restructure Announcement; Hopeful That a New Strategic Alternative at Avondale Can Emerg
Northrop Grumman Corporation’s announcement that it will consolidate its Gulf Shipbuilding operation is disappointing and regrettable. The Metal Trades Department recognizes the inevitability of that news given the Navy’s earlier decision to constrain its shipbuilding budget, but that doesn’t make the potential impact on workers at the Avondale yard any less painful. Nor does it make a total shutdown inevitable. The Metal Trades and a number of our key affiliates—specifically the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers (IBB)—began a serious campaign to sustain Avondale on May 10, 2010, but we were cautioned against going “public” with our concerns at that time by the Company and members of Congress, each of whom told us that publicity might upset “delicate negotiations” seeking a solution. Obviously, those authorities were unable to achieve that solution.
The economy of the Gulf region is on life support. Shipbuilding is the largest single employer in the region. The combined impact of the Metal Trades-represented Northrop Grumman shipyards in New Orleans and Pascagoula is $12.6 billion—six times that of the seafood industry. If Avondale, which represents 40 percent of the region’s shipbuilding industry, disappears—the economic impact will be devastating. We can’t blame shipbuilding woes on the oil spill or on a catastrophic storm; but we can say that the demise of Gulf Coast shipbuilding is the result of neglect—benign or otherwise. Regardless of the cause, it is an unacceptable outcome.
We reiterate, for the benefit of the Obama Administration, Congress, elected officials at every level and the American people, America needs a shipbuilding industry. We are rapidly nearing the tipping point where any further loss of capacity may mean that the industry could go from shallow breathing into a comatose state. Any shutdown of a large shipbuilding facility corrodes our strategic national interest and ripples throughout our economy subtracting good paying jobs not just in direct ship construction in the Gulf region, but in the thousands of large and small enterprises that feed the shipbuilding industry’s needs for components. America has neither the resources nor the national resolve to recreate such resources from scratch.
It is clear that New Orleans and its surrounding areas can ill afford to lose one of the last reservoirs of decent middle class jobs that exist today. The economic circumstances for this area cry out for attention and urgent action. We stand ready to help.
We intend to hold Northrop Grumman to its promise to work to explore alternative uses for the facility even before work on the two remaining Navy vessels now under construction.
We will encourage collaboration among private investors, elected officials at the federal state and local level, and the Obama Administration, to work with us to develop a strategic alternative to the complete dissolution of the Avondale facility. We believe that—through a combination of innovation, vision and courage—a new enterprise can emerge that can utilize the skills of the Avondale workforce to address urgent national needs for shipbuilding and energy applications.
It would only take a small measure of policy adjustment—such as stricter enforcement of the Jones Act, especially as it applies to the offshore oil industry; and DOD’s abandonment of its long-term ship leasing policy—to breathe new life into private shipbuilding. We believe that Avondale could economically produce ships for a domestic market as long as that domestic market can be nurtured by rational and stable policies.
Among the other options that can and should be pursued would be the conversion of portions of the Avondale yard to construction of containment vessels for nuclear facilities. At present, there is no domestic source for those vessels and their construction process is not significantly different from that of shipbuilding. The Metal Trades and our affiliates have been suggesting these remedies in various forms for over two decades.
The Metal Trades Department of the AFL-CIO is an umbrella organization comprised of 17 national and international unions. Chartered in 1908, the Department negotiates collective bargaining agreements and coordinates representation in shipyards, nuclear facilities, manufacturing, mining and petrochemical operations throughout the United States.
Friday, June 18, 2010
June 17, 2010
I happened to catch Congressman Stupack’s hearing into the causes of BP’s “accident” today. Then I watched the CNN coverage with Gulf Coast residents’ responding from a local diner in Metairie, Louisiana. I kept thinking “I sure hope there is a ’silent majority‘ of Americans out there, otherwise we are in deep do-do.”
I know the media sometimes deliberately picks the absolute dumbest “bubba” they can find to interview on the air to make inflammatory remarks, but come on…this guy sounded just like a Sarah Palin Tea Party nut case.
The man chosen by the media to be the public representative of the entire region’s views was a perfect example of the old adage “a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing.” He was lamenting the “fact” that the oil spill was worse than Hurricane Katrina. Duh! Thousands of human beings died in Katrina, dude, many after the storm passed because there was no planning or logistics prepositioned to get immediate assistance and supplies to the survivors! It took five days to get drinking water to the Superdome after the storm passed. There is a big difference in the federal response to this man-made disaster.
But, CNN chose to spotlight this guy who accused President Obama of caving in to unions because he won’t waive the Jones Act and allow foreign vessels to come in and clean up the spill…Where do these people get this from? He must be watching “fair and balanced” Fox TV. Did he think a onetime cleanup was going to fix the millions of gallons of oils still spewing from the well? Did he think that there are millions of foreign built vessels lined up, just waiting to come in and clean up the oil? This guy was saying that under former President Bush’s leadership the Jones Act was waived for the oil industry. Yes, that is the one thing this guy said that was a fact. George W. Bush did that.
Does anyone out there know anything about the Jones Act? Ignorance is bliss but once in a while the networks should do a little bit of fact checking before they broadcast what they heard someone else say. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, but broadcasters have an obligation to at least refrain from spreading mis-information, especially if the source is a man-on-the-street.
“Ditto heads” simply repeating what shock jocks Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck say on a national TV interview gives an entire region a bad name. The Jones Act is an 80-year-old law designed to insure that America has a shipbuilding industry and a merchant marine to build and crew Navy ships in time of war. It requires that vessels engaged in US, port-to-port trade, be built and assembled entirely in US Shipyards, crewed by US crews and owned by US citizens.
Bush gave his friends in the oil and gas industry a pass from the requirements of the Jones Act. That is why the Deepwater Horizon wasn’t built in a shipyard in Louisiana or Mississippi. The drilling platform was built in South Korean-owned by Transocean, a Swiss company, not an American Company that would observe U.S. law…And that is why British Petroleum could “drill baby, drill” with little or no oversight.
Jones Act waivers, once given, are difficult—if not impossible to retrieve. President Obama had little to do with anything associated with the Deepwater Horizon disaster except to try to hold BP accountable. The Jones Act does permit foreign vessels to operate in coastwise trade if there are insufficient US domestic vessels available for the needs. There is no need to grant additional waivers under the Jones Act. They already exist, but “Fair and Balanced” Fox TV and CNN didn’t tell you that, did they?
Not one Gulf Coast job was generated in the building of the Deep Water Horizon even though the largest private employers in Mississippi and Louisiana are the Ingalls Shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi and the Avondale Shipyard just outside New Orleans, Louisiana. Both shipyards (and many more Gulf Coast shipbuilding facilities) could have easily built this rig, but why give American folks jobs when you can build it cheaper in South Korea as long as you don’t have to follow US Jones Act laws? Cheaper, faster, cut corners to save money. Isn’t that BP’s track record in this disaster. Save money even if it costs lives, ruins the environment and kills American jobs?
The people on the Gulf Coast don’t know what they want President Obama to do about BP’s mess. They criticize him for not showing up on day one after the explosion. They criticize him for not meeting with every man, woman and child in the area when he does come down to the Gulf Coast to survey what the Coast Guard and BP crews are doing about the tar balls and oil washing up on the beaches and in the marshes. They criticize him for not getting money to reimburse residents who have lost their jobs and livelihood in the region fast enough. Then they accuse him of an illegal “shakedown” for making BP put up a 20 Billion dollar “slush fund,” as Congressman Joe Barton put in the congressional hearing as he apologized to BP saying he was “ashamed.” (And, Joe Barton should be ashamed!)
You hear these folks (and the Tea Partiers) say that they are opposed to the President’s policies and they are going to “take our country back” in the next election….That’s an incomplete sentence. Who are these folks going to take the country back from? There are some in the South who are still fighting the Civil War and still sore about desegregation.
What they are really saying is, no matter what President Obama does or doesn’t do, they are not going to support him. Obama didn’t carry the states of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi or Alabama in the 2008 Presidential election and it would be difficult for him to have much support there today no matter what he does about the oil in the Gulf.
Boy, I sure hope that there is a big, silent majority of Americans that are out there thoughtful and making intelligent decisions, and not a majority of “ditto heads” blindly following the talk radio hate jocks and the flame throwing race baiters.
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
The Deepwater Horizon disaster spewing raw crude oil into the crystal clear waters of the Gulf of Mexico points out the problem with allowing private enterprise lead in developing cutting edge technology in energy or any other critical commodity. As we have seen, a massive failure can bring a nation to its knees and arouse public opinion on a grand scale. The BP spill is to the oil industry what Chernobyl was to Russia’s nuclear energy program. Chernobyl, with the catastrophic pile meltdown and fire that killed hundreds and sickened thousands over a generation came about a decade after our own near miss nuclear disaster at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania. The major difference between the U.S. experience and Russia’s is that the reactor containment at Three Mile Island worked.
The Deepwater Horizon was built in a South Korean shipyard. It was owned and operated by Transocean, a Swiss company. Are bells going off anywhere? Are the warning lights flashing, America? The Jones Act is an 80-year-old law that requires ships engaged in commerce in the US coastal trade to be built in the US, owned by US owners and have US crews. This is the US Merchant Marine. In hearings into the cause of the explosions and fire aboard the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, Congressman Gene Taylor specifically asked the Obama Administration to invoke the Jones Act for all the oil and gas drilling in the Gulf.
The other two corporate entities implicated in the Gulf disaster were Haliburton, now headquartered in Dubai; and BP, incorporated in the UK and headquartered in London.
We have a shortage of naval shipbuilding work to keep our six major U.S. shipyards in business. There is a discussion about Avondale Shipyard of New Orleans— one of only six major US Shipyards, being sold or closed, Avondale and its sister shipyard, Ingalls, located some 120 miles away in Pascagoula, Mississippi, are the two largest private employers in Louisiana and Mississippi. Both yards are capable of building complex combat vessels for the U.S. Navy, and that has been their forte.
Avondale has built commercial ships, including double hulled oil tankers for the US Alaskan oil trade after the Exxon Valdez disaster in Prince William Sound. No one has designed and built deep water equipment for a disaster like the BP Deepwater Horizon. Why not? Why doesn’t the US government develop the design and build the safety equipment necessary to cap runaway oil well in deepwater? No one can argue we don’t need it. We could put thousands of the people who live in the area being slimed by the oil spill tomorrow morning to work building this equipment. The people directly affected would have a stake in the development and construction of the equipment that would protect their very way of life and their quality of life.
With BP’s oil billowing into the waters of the Gulf, whose job is it to staunch the flow? Americans and the press are badgering the federal government to “do something” about it, but the federal government doesn’t have the technology because it hasn’t ever focused on a problem of this dimension. Until now, it was the domain of private industry. Well, that hasn’t worked out so well now, has it?
If we want bold decisive action to plug the hole and stop the oil spewing into the Gulf- this is it! Turn American ingenuity loose and give American shipbuilders the job of designing and building the deep water disaster response for this and similar drilling disasters just waiting to happen in our costal waters. Saying this will never happen again is sticking our head in the sand and ignoring the facts that say otherwise. This challenge is an opportunity for success, let’s get started!
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Memorial Day, 2010
Monday, May 24, 2010
Friday, May 21, 2010
May 20, 2010
Results from the so-called Super Tuesday elections are in. A friend of workers, Senator Arlen Specter, lost his bid to be elected as a Democrat and will retire after 30 years of service. Senator Specter is caught up in the anger of America at a broken two-party political system that doesn’t work. To work there must be a willingness on the part of the minority party to abide by the will of the majority. And both sides must be willing to compromise to achieve bipartisanship. Instead the partisan rancor has been ratcheted up a notch and nothing is coming out of the Senate where Democrats hold a razor thin majority over Republicans.
Friday, May 7, 2010
May 7, 2010
The Bush Administration left us a lot of excess baggage in anti-worker federal policies. One especially onerous policy came out of the National Nuclear Security Administration of the Department of Energy. It was proposed in order to eliminate defined benefit pension plans and post retirement health care programs for all the contract workers who perform the nation’s nuclear weapons work. Organized labor blocked the policy by having Congress pass a bill that said in essence that DOE could not spend any funds to implement that policy. Shortly afterward, then-DOE Secretary Samuel Bodman met with me and several other national labor leaders, including then-AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, to tell us that DOE was withdrawing the DOE directive over defined benefit pensions.
We relaxed and moved on to other battles. Big mistake. DOE was secretly implementing the directive by including it within the procurement bid process, called “solicitation for bids,” that would require any successful contractor to implement the DOE/NNSA policy that Secretary Bodman told us they were withdrawing.
We worked night and day to elect a worker friendly administration in 2008 to stop attacks on workers and the elimination of a middle class in America. We welcomed President Obama and applauded his appointment of Secretary Chu as Energy Secretary.
On January 21, 2009, I sent Secretary Chu a letter asking for an opportunity to sit down with him over the issue of DOE policies that were harmful to workers we represent. In June, almost exactly ix months later, I received a cryptic email thanking me for my communication to Secretary Chu, but due to his busy schedule he could not accept my invitation for a meeting. In the meantime we were locked in battles at DOE Sandia National Laboratory with Lockheed (DOE’s prime contractor that runs the lab for them) over the elimination of defined benefit pension for workers that have had this provision in their union contract at Sandia for more than fifty years. The defined benefit pension plan at Sandia is virtually free. It currently operates at no cost to the government and it is currently overfund by 167% (as of May 17, 2010) AND WILL NOT REQUIRE ANY ADDITIONAL CONTRIBUTION IN THE FORSEEABLE FUTURE! Apparently, for DOE, facts should not get in the way of a policy. In this case, the overfunded status was irrelevant for DOE.
The agency insisted that the contractors take away the defined benefit pensions in collective bargaining negotiations even if it meant a strike and required that the employer start a new defined contribution pension program (a 401 (K) program) that actually increased the costs to the government and added to the federal budget deficit.
The Metal Trades took a strike vote at Sandia, but the bargaining unit turned it down in face of the worst recession in modern history.
Same story at DOE Hanford in Richland, Washington; at the Oak Ridge Tennessee facility; and at all other DOE/NNSA nuclear weapons programs, in addition to our Idaho Falls Naval Nuclear Reactor facility that is a joint Navy/DOE facility. For more than two years now Secretary Chu has refused to meet with me over these DOE anti-worker policies even though he has met with many of our Metal Trades Council and Atomic Trades Council local presidents when he makes visits to the many thousands of Metal Trades Department-represented workers at all these DOE locations.
On Good Friday this past month before the Easter Holiday, NNSA/DOE posted on their website a new requirement for contractor bids on a combined operations and maintenance contract our Pantex Nuclear Weapons Plant in Amarillo, Texas; our Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge Tennessee; and, within two years, at the DOE Savannah River Weapons Complex in South Carolina. The plan is to link these operations together under a single contract, with a new provision that the successful contractor will have the “flexibility” (for the first time in history) not to hire the present employees, who have decades of seniority and valuable experience after (in many cases) decades of working at these DOE facilities for every previous DOE contractor. Even worse, the successful contractor is free to set wages and benefits without regard to the rates of pay and benefits contained in our collective bargaining agreements.
How many thousands of highly skilled, high security, nuclear qualified employees could this affect? What classifications will be affected? Will this be a wholesale replacement of the entire present workforces in all three locations with brand new kids fresh out of high school? Hell, don’t ask me. I am only the National President of the largest labor organization representing workers within NNSA- they haven’t seen fit to even brief me or any of our unions. We read about this just like John Q. Public did.
I recently wrote DOE Secretary Chu a letter similar to the January 21, 2009 letter I previously had sent to him, again asking for a meeting to discuss these disturbingly anti-worker developments by his Department of government. We haven’t heard a word from DOE.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
You didn't get mad when the Supreme Court stopped a legal recount an appointed a President.
You didn't get mad when Cheney allowed Energy company officials to dictate energy policy.
You didn't get mad when a covert CIA operative got ousted.
You didn't get mad when the Patriot Act got passed..
You didn't get mad when we illegally invaded a country that posed no threat to us.
You didn't get mad when we spent over 600 billion(and counting) on said illegal war.
You didn't get mad when over 10 billion dollars just disappeared in Iraq.
You didn't get mad when you found out we were torturing people.
You didn't get mad when the government was illegally wiretapping Americans.
You didn't get mad when we didn't catch Bin Laden.
You didn't get mad when you saw the horrible conditions at Walter Reed.
You didn't get mad when we let a major US city drown.
You didn't get mad when we gave a 900 billion tax break to the rich.
You didn't get mad when, using reconciliation; a trillion dollars of our tax dollars were redirected to insurance companies for Medicare Advantage which cost over 20 percent more for basically the same services that Medicare provides.
You didn't get mad when the deficit hit the trillion dollar mark, and our debt hit the thirteen trillion dollar mark.
You finally got mad when the government decided that people in America deserved the right to see a doctor if they are sick.
Yes, illegal wars, lies, corruption, torture, stealing your tax dollars to make the rich richer, are all okay with you,but helping other Americans...oh hell no.
AND NOW YOU'RE MAD!
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Maybe it was the choice of words (“giving contractors flexibility”) that aroused our suspicion. Flexibility has become a buzzword for employers who don’t like such “rigid” requirements as fair wages, pensions, decent working conditions, making safety a high priority or allowing workers a voice on the job.
As our Oak Ridge, Tennessee, Atomic Trades and Labor Council President Garry Whitley pointed out: It doesn’t make good economic sense to toss aside a trained and experienced workforce in the first place. If the winning bidder decides to hire off the street, he’ll be trading off immediate efficiency—no learning curve—to save a couple of bucks on wages. And, what does that matter? Not much, unless the workforce is working around nuclear material and highly classified sensitive data—which they are. Can you imagine the consequences of a major nuclear incident caused by someone inexperienced mishandling highly radioactive nuclear material? Or a security breach involving highly classified plans and documents that could compromise our nation’s nuclear weapons program?
The NNSA decision to scrap the practice of successor hiring breaks more than 50 years of past practice and it gives a sour taste to the concept of Labor Management “partnership” that the White House has been touting in its own personnel relations. There was no phone call or warning that this was coming down.
Our present relationship with the Department of Energy is at best, strained. We can’t get a straight answer about their heavy-handed implementation of DOE Directive 351.1 (their regulation that gives contractors every incentive to end defined benefit pension plans in favor of 401 (K) plans). DOE denies that they have interfered with collective bargaining, on pensions, but our experience says otherwise.
Another suspicious development—DOE’s budget proposal contains extensive plans for changing accounting processes for pensions. But, the information is so well camouflaged that it is impossible to tell whether it’s another ruse to cheat the workforce or actually what they claim it is.
That, brothers and sisters is exactly the point: when it comes to communication between unions and management, DOE’s credibility is zilch. This latest move simply confirms our suspicions. They do not want an experienced skilled workforce; they want the disposable, throwaway variety. NNSA/DOE has taken a page from the “Wally World” Human Resources manual—always the low price…and, if that’s the course they have chosen—they’ve got a fight on their hands.
Monday, March 22, 2010
Friday, February 19, 2010
Last November, Rep. David Obey (D-WI) made a suggestion that bears serious consideration. In the face of the then-pending troop surge in Afghanistan, Obey proposed a “war tax” amounting to a 5 percent surcharge on high incomes and lower percentages for low-income taxpayers to underwrite the $40 billion a year cost of that surge. With the exception of our courageous and recently departed friend, the late John Murtha (D-PA), Mr. Obey’s proposal got no traction whatsoever.
Now, as we hear a clamor of concern over America’s growing budget deficit, especially from conservative Republicans in Congress, it’s time to resurrect Mr. Obey’s proposal.
I recall right after George W. Bush declared his vaunted “global war on terror” and reporters asked him how Americans might show their commitment to that war effort and demonstrate their patriotism. Bush’s response was classic: “Go shopping,” he said. Well, going shopping and buying more Chinese made goods hasn’t worked out so well.
What’s happened to America? Most of us heard our parents and grandparents describe the sacrifices they made during World War II. From rationing eggs, meat and milk, scrap collections, victory gardens, war bond drives and rationing gasoline for their cars—America had a near universal outpouring of support for the troops on the frontlines. Sure, there were some cheaters, but the overwhelming attitude was solidarity and sacrifice for the cause. That’s why, when World War II ended, America became the breadbasket for the devastated economies of Europe and Asia. That’s how American influence helped Japan transition from a monarchy to a democracy. That’s how America was able to fund the Marshall Plan to help create European economies that were even more productive than they had been before the war destroyed them.
Not long ago, a popular beer adopted an advertising slogan that went something like: “Who says you can’t have it all?” That slogan is a perfect reflection of the pandering expectations that too many politicians from both political parties practice today. It’s also the essence of Reaganomics. It assures us: “You can have a $1 trillion-plus expenditure on defense and security (23 percent of total government spending), another $3 trillion on health and education, consumer protection and law enforcement. You can fight wars half way across the globe, protect your shores, secure your transportation systems, keep food and drugs safe, while leaving no child behind and, oh, if we run a little short, just put it on the credit card.” Don’t blame that attitude on Obama—it originated even before Reagan, but his administration perfected it.
Today, the tea baggers say, we don’t need any government besides defense and security. We hear these Right Wingers screaming that any new spending program has to be paid for with a cut somewhere else.
Okay, let’s use that same thought on any war we fight.
Let’s pay for it with a temporary tax that runs the duration of the war….Talk about an incentive for an “exit strategy”, that would be the greatest peace incentive in history. The Lefty Liberals say, we can do away with defense and security, but we need to spend even more on the other 75 percent of government. But, you don’t hear many from either side say: If you’ll tell us exactly what these programs will cost, we’ll gladly pay our fair share.
Then there are the corporations and super rich: They say, make sure the nation is “friendly to business” and “secure enough” for commerce, but let the suckers pay. Corporations think they’re doing their part with their political contributions and under the table payoffs to maintain the status quo.
Fast forward to 2010: Lot’s of people proclaim their support for the troops with yellow ribbons on their bumpers. I’m sure the troops appreciate the gesture, but come on, what does it mean? Do those yellow ribbons mean you’re willing to pay for full funding for VA hospitals and VA benefits? To pay to build the ships, planes, weapons and material that the troops need to carry out their mission?
No, Mr. and Mrs. America, we can’t “have it all,” but we can have what we’re willing to pay for. And, if we don’t think it’s worthwhile to pay a tax to pursue a global war on terror, we can let the politicians know that, too.
We don’t need a deficit commission, we need a reality check and we need it now.
Is it fair? Is it even realistic to think we could come out of the greatest economic disaster since the Great Depression this soon? Remember, this catastrophe was caused by the de-regulators in the anti-government Right Wing.
Meanwhile, the defenders of the status quo and big Wall Street bankers have banded together to block President Obama's cabinet appointments (the highest number of Congressional holds in the history of America.)
Their strategy is pretty obvious. They just say "NO" to everything and create total political gridlock, then blame the President for not doing anything. Both sides are aware that the vast number of Americans are angry that they don't have jobs, can't pay the mortgage, can't afford gas to fuel up the car and warm their homes and will blame the party in power come election day. Most of these Republicans are in safe Republican districts and not likely to be touched in the next election, so they feel safe by being obstructionists.
There are enough southern and western Right Wing Conservative Democrats that frequently vote with the Republicans because they share the exact same political philosophy to block the will of the majority by using parliamentary procedures in Congress. So, passing sweeping laws in Congress is something that President Obama isn't going to be able to do. Forget that. It isn't going to happen until enough Americans get fed up with the body of Congress and wholesale replace them…and I don't see that happening in my lifetime. For some reason that defies logic, most voters blame Congress as a whole but not their own Senators and Congressman or woman. They curse the rain for being wet!
So let's look at exactly what the President can and has done within his powers to do independent of this "Just Say No Congress."
His appointments, by and large, look pretty much like mainstream America: women, Hispanics, Asians, Caucasians, Blacks, and members of the opposition party…He has issued Executive Orders that correct decades of waste, fraud and abuse of federal contracting. Despite the sniping from his critics, President Obama has blocked all terrorists attacks, and there are no headlines saying "Thousands of Americans have died from Swine Flu."
But President Obama doesn't get any credit for doing a good job preparing the nation for a deadly pandemic and marshalling the world to produce an effective vaccine against this new deadly strain of flu. Obama didn't allow the swine flu to become his "Katrina." Did the President get any credit for saving untold thousand of American lives? No, but he would have gotten the blame had we not developed an effective vaccine and vaccinated a very large population center that stopped the pandemic in its tracks.
We hear a lot of bad press about the stimulus bill not creating millions of new jobs. Okay, how about the thousands of workers who didn't get laid off? Do their jobs count? The police, fire departments, school teachers, and public safety personnel whose jobs were saved as a result of stimulus money going to the state governments?
No one wants to talk about the jobs NOT lost. You hear that only 25-30 jobs were created in the construction industry by building a bridge across a highway. What about the thousands of jobs in the steel mills that produced the steel used in the bridge; or the concrete manufacturers that made the concrete that went into the bridge; or the factory that produced the paint used to paint the exposed steel portions of the bridge; or the electrical supply house that supplied the wiring and lights for the bridge? One thing most folks don't understand: construction projects need good weather for maximum efficiency. Why do you think you see so much construction taking place in spring and summer? This spring we will see the maximum effect from the stimulus bill on public projects.
Before any major project is undertaken—it takes time to write contracts, secure bids, evaluate and score the bids, then award the successful contractor the work. After all that takes place, then and only then, are the first workers hired. It takes months before the first shovel full of dirt is turned after the stimulus bill was passed. Patience is something missing in the American voting public.