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Dr. John Warren
Published: 13 July 2011
America has a long history of economic woes

Recent unemployment reports have given the critics of President Obama another excuse to blame him for the economic problems of the country. Those most critical of him are the Republicans, the Tea Party and every conservative American and business interest who would like to put the interest of the wealthy above the interest of all Americans.

History shows us that unemployment has been no stranger to America since the Great Depression. During the Depression, President Roosevelt responded with a Public Works Administration program that put Americans to work on roads and other public projects; World War II geared up the War Machine in terms of manufacturing and production that provided jobs for all those not actively serving in the military; the G.I Bill with loans for education and home purchases coincided with the Korean War and using the War Machine for business productivity while G.I. benefits went to those in school and not fighting in that undeclared war; the Vietnam War once again geared up the War Machine in terms of both using manpower in drafting men into service and producing all the items needed for a war.

With the end of the Vietnam War, once again America was faced with high unemployment. This time America responded with the Manpower Development and Training Act, providing job training along with veteran benefits to unemployed former soldiers and training for those individuals with low job skills. These efforts coincided with the Great Society that Lyndon B. Johnson picked up after the death of John F. Kennedy. The Great Society brought a number of programs and services to help the unemployed and the under employment and funded the creation of community nonprofit organizations which also provided jobs. Manpower Development and Training Act was replaced by the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act known as CETA. One of its strongest points was its Public Service Employment provisions under Title II that provided jobs for police, firemen and teachers at a time when cities were having great financial difficulties in the 1970s.

It was also during the mid-1970s that Congress passed the Humphrey/Hawkins Full Employment Act establishing triggers for the implementation of unemployment insurance benefits to areas reaching a 6.5 percent unemployment rate in pockets of single member statistical areas (SMSA) using census data. During periods of high unemployment, benefits were extended to help the chronically unemployed. President Obama engaged in the extension of such benefits last December when the Republicans held the measure hostage until they got tax benefits extended for the wealthy.

The point of all of this is that President Obama is not responsible for this period of high unemployment which will get even worse if the debt ceiling is not extended in the weeks ahead. The Republican leadership in the House of Representatives wants the cutting of entitlement programs which include social security, Medicare and aid to children and the elderly; It must be remembered that the legislative powers of the nation rest with the U.S. Congress under Article I of the U.S. Constitution. The President does not make laws; he signs them.

Finally, let us remember that U.S. businesses are sitting on over $1 trillion in cash with which they could hire layoff or unemployed workers and boost the economy. But big businesses, like the Republicans who represent their interests, have decided that President Obama, with his concern for all Americans, is a threat to the tax credits, subsidies and tax breaks. The oil companies, drug companies and insurance companies fear the fact they must change how they do business because of the Affordable Health Care Act and regulatory changes Obama has implemented.

President Obama, hold your ground on entitlements, health care and the domestic programs you have supported to benefit all Americans. Americans, regardless of your color or ethnic identity, if you are not wealthy, you are already a victim of the attacks on President Obama.

Dr.  John E. Warren is the publisher and CEO of the San Diego Voice & Viewpoint Newspaper

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