Monday, May 11, 2009

State’s Stimulus Spending – Leaves out Areas of Highest Unemployment – 60,000 Temporary Census Jobs last average of two weeks.

The Boston Globe’s AP article entitled “Stimulus Watch”, notes that counties across the country with the highest unemployment rates are not benefitting from the Stimulus Plan the Obama administration rammed through Congress in a panic. Had anyone bothered to take the extra time to put the bill together, allow everyone time to read the fine print, and/or analysis the potential for waste and further misery to the hardest hit areas, perhaps some safeguards would have been put into place. Of interest in this particular piece is the fact that shovels read projects, required under the stimulus, are so costly to plan, that many counties, specifically those with the highest unemployment rates, cannot afford the plans in the first place. Additionally, States are not required to use highway funds for economically distressed areas – the only restriction is to spend taxpayers’ dollars as fast as possible.

The result, according to the Globe Article:

“One result among many: Elk County, Pa., isn't receiving any road money despite its 13.8 percent unemployment rate. Yet the military and college community of Riley County, Kan., with its 3.4 percent unemployment, will benefit from about $56 million to build a highway, improve an intersection and restore a historic farmhouse.”

It goes without saying that those that make plans in haste, repent in leisure. Grumblings from newspaper chat rooms and other forums across the country are now focusing on the 60,000 plus temporary census jobs. From the Springfield Republican Forum, a disgruntled individual complains:

“People hired by the US Census have been screwed. They were hired in all our neighborhoods to verify addresses for next year. The job was supposed to take about 8-9 weeks. There was some talk it might go into August.
But because someone at the regional office mistrained the team leaders, the census takers in turn were mistrained and when doing their work they skipped a critical public relation step designed to educate and build up good will with the public... that being a courtesy visit to inquire about the building and to take a GPS reading.
No wonder the work went so fast in most towns.
So instead of 8-9 weeks of work which people were counting on, some census takers like in Holyoke got only a puny 2 weeks of work after a week training. It happened to a friend of mine who needed the hours to pay his mortgage.
But it's not just him. They all got screwed. “

Another Poster Adds:

“And if that isn’t bad enough, even though this stage of the census is way ahead of schedule, regional office still insists all work be finished by early next week.
You can be sure that those at regional who screwed up this stage will turn lemons into lemonade to make themselves look good… at the expense of our local people.
I know of others in this program and they too were promised 8-9 weeks of work. They were required to pass examinations, attend a week long orientation and now they are out of work after two weeks in the field.
It is not fair for ANY employer to deceive employees like this, especially deception from the federal government. This was not work being subcontracted out to a corporation, these census workers were federal employees.
This is what our government has become, a deceiving power, run by thieving politicians”

In fairness, the advertisements for these temporary census jobs do offer a range of dates from 2 weeks forward - that said, this does vary from state to state. The problem arises, when these workers, many of whom are no longer on the unemployment rolls, have to reapply - what appears to be missing in all of this Stimulus Logic, is the fact that it is a very temporary fix, one that was poorly conceived from road projects (temporary jobs - to the census.
Therefore is it any wonder that the White House is not forecasting any job growth until 2010 - so far.

1 comment:

Imee said...

Well if there's even just half of truth to that statistic, then it's very saddening. I hope the areas with the most unemployment cases would get attention soon. I know we're all experiencing a crisis, but sometimes certain people need more help than the rest do.

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