The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

By Kevin G. Hall, McClatchy Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration on Wednesday will announce the expansion of its efforts to aid the long-term unemployed with grants to help get the jobless back into the workplace.

President Barack Obama in January launched an effort to remove obstacles for the long-term unemployed, getting major corporations to adopt “best practices” in human-resources departments designed to ensure the long-time jobless aren’t screened out of the possibility of face-to-face employment interviews.

On Wednesday, the Labor Department will announce 23 grants given to 20 states and Puerto Rico to attack the problem of long-term unemployed, which numbered 3 million through September, the latest reading. The grants will be used by local organizations and governments to match jobless workers with sectors that need workers.

Vice President Joe Biden and other administration officials will also meet with chief human resources officers of large companies that have worked to bring in the long-term unemployed. Deloitte Consulting and the Rockefeller Foundation will also release a handbook that employers can use to better catch applicants who are among the long-term jobless.

To be considered long-term unemployed, a worker must be jobless and seeking employment for 27 weeks or longer. The current rate of 1.9 percent is more than twice the historical average as a percentage of all workers in the labor force, but has come down from the December 2013 rate of 2.5 percent.

Some economists fear that the stubbornly high rate of long-term joblessness, which characterizes the Great Recession and its aftermath, will leave millions of Americans with insufficient skills to reenter the workforce.

“I categorically reject the notion that the long-term unemployed are unemployable,” Labor Secretary Tom Perez told reporters on a conference call ahead of the announcement.

Critics of the Obama administration allege that the number of long-term jobless has fallen because many have simply exited the workforce.

“The long-term number has fallen because the economy has picked up,” insisted Jeff Zients, director of the president’s National Economic Council.

The unemployment rate fell to 5.9 percent in September, the lowest it has been since June 2008.

Wednesday’s announcements are likely to rekindle debate about the failure of Congress to extend benefits to the long-term jobless. Such extensions had been common throughout the post-recession period but came to an end at the start of the year.

“The president by no means is giving up,” said Perez, adding that he has recently held discussions in the Senate to explore the chances of bringing up the issue again.

AFP Photo/Joshua Lott

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Mark Levin

Politico reported Friday that John Eastman, the disgraced ex-law professor who formulated many of former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election results, was also apparently in communication with Fox News host Mark Levin. The story gets even more interesting from there, revealing the shell game that right-wing media personalities engage in while doubling as political operatives.

A legal filing by Eastman’s attorneys reveals that, among the messages Eastman is still attempting to conceal from the House January 6 committee are 12 pieces of correspondence with an individual matching Levin’s description as “a radio talk show host, is also an attorney, former long-time President (and current board chairman) of a public interest law firm, and also a former fellow at The Claremont Institute.” Other details, including a sloppy attempt to redact an email address, also connect to Levin, who did not respond to Politico’s requests for comment.

Keep reading... Show less

Sen. Wendy Rogers

Youtube Screenshot

There have been powerful indicators of the full-bore radicalization of the Republican Party in the past year: the 100-plus extremist candidates it fielded this year, the apparent takeover of the party apparatus in Oregon, the appearance of Republican officials at white nationalist gatherings. All of those are mostly rough gauges or anecdotal evidence, however; it’s been difficult to get a clear picture of just how deeply the extremism has penetrated the party.

Using social media as a kind of proxy for their real-world outreach—a reasonable approach, since there are few politicians now who don’t use social media—the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights decided to get a clearer picture of the reach of extremist influences in official halls of power by examining how many elected officials participate in extremist Facebook groups. What it found was deeply troubling: 875 legislators in all 50 states, constituting nearly 22% of all elected GOP lawmakers, identified as participating members of extremist Facebook groups.

Keep reading... Show less
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}