San José, CA – On Friday, Jan. 15, the Department of Labor released reports on inflation and real earnings (wages adjusted for inflation) for 2009. The rate of increases in prices for workers who live in cities was moderate, at 3.4%. This figure was higher than the official inflation rate of 2.7%. However wages failed to keep up with the rise in prices, so weekly real earnings, or the purchasing power of workers' weekly wages, fell by 1.6% in 2009. This fall in wages was mainly because the average increase in hourly wages was less than the rise in prices. This reflected the lack of raises and spreading wage cuts last year. Cuts in workers' hours, which also reduced weekly pay, also played a role.
San José, CA – On Friday, Jan. 8, the Labor Department reported that 85,000 more jobs were lost in December of 2009. This was much worse than mainstream economists predicted and shows that another ‘job-loss’ recovery may be underway. Following the last official recession in 2001, the economy began to grow in November of 2001 but workers continued to lose jobs until the summer of 2003.
San José, CA – On Friday, Nov. 6, the Labor Department reported that the official unemployment rate for October rose to 10.2%, from 9.8% in September. This is the first time since 1983 that the unemployment rate has topped 10%. A survey of businesses showed that 190,000 more jobs were lost in October, bringing the total number of jobs lost since the recession began in December 2007 to 7.3 million. These figures were worse than what mainstream economists expected and confirmed the fact that there is no recovery for working people.
On Oct. 3, the Department of Labor reported that 263,000 jobs were lost in September, an increase of 50,000 over the jobs lost in August. So far more than 7 million jobs have been lost since the recession began in December of 2007. The official unemployment rate rose to 9.8% in September, from 9.7% in August, double the 4.9% unemployment rate when the recession began. This is the highest level of unemployment since 1983. These facts show that despite the talk of a ‘recovery’ in the corporate media, there is not recovery for working people.
San José, CA – Layoffs continued to hammer workers and their communities in July and August. Job losses are leading to more and more home foreclosures. State and local governments are losing tax revenues and making more cuts to education and social services. At the same time the stock market has been on a tear, as the profits of big businesses have benefited from layoffs, furloughs, wage cuts and benefit cuts.
For this year’s holiday honoring Dr. King, we are printing 3 commentaries on King’s political thinking that are important for understanding today’s situation – Fight Back! editors
In 1967, the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. described the economic plight of African Americans: “Let us take a look at the size of the problem through the lens of the Negro’s status in 1967. When the Constitution was written, a strange formula to determine taxes and representation declared that the Negro was 60% of a person. Today another curious formula seems to declare that he is 50% of a person. Of the good things in life he has approximately one-half those of whites; of the bad he has twice those of whites. Thus half of all Negroes live in substandard housing, and Negroes have half the income of whites. When we turn to the negative experiences of life, the Negro has a double share. There are twice as many unemployed. The rate of infant mortality (widely accepted as an accurate index of general health) among Negroes is double that of whites.”
San José, CA – Poco antes de las fiestas de fin de año, los republicanos en la Cámara de Representantes y en el Senado acordaron recortar programas sociales de ayuda para personas de bajos recursos y para las clases trabajadoras como son el “Medicaid” (servicios de salud para personas de bajos recursos), los prestamos para que los estudiantes asistan a la universidad, “TANF” (Ayuda Temporal para Familias Necesitadas) y el “Medicare” (servicios de salud para personas mayores). Al mismo tiempo, los republicanos aprobaron en la Cámara de Representantes una propuesta, respaldada por el presidente Bush, para reducir los impuestos para los negocios y para los ricos.
San José, CA – Durante los últimos cuatro años, los pensionados han tenido que enfrentar ataques en dos frentes. Por un lado las compañias los despojan de sus planes de seguro médico y pensiones, y por otro, con la caida de la bolsa, el valor de sus pensiones (conocido como “plan 401 k”) se ha reducido significativamente, obligando a muchos a trabajar.
Comunidades pobres y de clase trabajadora, ya azotadas por los cesos y reducciones dehoras de trabajo que resultan de la recesión económica, están a punto de sufrir aun mas como los gobiernos estatales y municipales empiezan a cortar los servicios de salud, escuelas y gobierno local, cosas necesarias para nuestras familias.
San José, CA -Mientras que se amontonan los cesos y las ciudades reportan cada vez mas hambrientes y desamparados, Wall Street espera que la economía sea muy positiva en 2002. Esto ha producido el resultado de que los precios de las acciones en la bolsa de valores han ido subiendo desde el fin de Septiembre. Wall Street espera que los once recortes de intereses impuestos por el Banco Federal de Reserva produzcan una recuperación de ganancias, con la ayuda de los recortes de impuestos para las corporaciones y los ricos que los Republicanos Congreso pretenden otorgar.