Thursday, November 15, 2012

Tim Murray for Governor?

Comment on Telegram Online article
New political order may lift Murray’s prospects
What I'd be looking for from Tim is to stop pretending everything's coming up roses and admit the truth about unemployment: it's still a disaster, even here in Massachusetts. Much worse than the laughable 6% (or 6.5%) figure that he likes to brag about. 

We don't know the "real rate" of unemployment and underemployment in Massachusetts or Worcester - the most common guess by folks on the ground is about 20% - but nationally if you take the Bureau of Labor Statistics U-6 rate (currently over 14%) and add an estimate of long-term discouraged workers (see it comes to about 23% - not counting all the people on SSDI and SSI who would be working in a good economy! 

And we don't really know if it's getting better here. The building trades unions have seen employment pick up over the past year, but some folks lower on the totem pole think it's getting worse. Bragging about that 6% figure may get Tim points with business leaders and administrators but regular folk are hungry for some real honesty. 

Sad to say, Brown and Romney were closer to the truth on this issue, although they didn't have anything but empty promises to offer. 

A good starting place would be for Tim to speak out about the urgent need to stop the expiration of the Federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation act on Dec. 31, and to restore the Extensions to their original length, 99 weeks. 

Next step, he could speak out for passage of the Humphrey Hawkins Full Employment and Training Act that would put millions back to work with a small tax on stock, bond and derivatives trades, and for his partner Patrick to stop sitting on the $16 billion for public projects that the Legislature has approved over the past few years and start spending it. 

Then he could speak for emergency help for the probably several hundred thousand Mass. unemployed who have exhausted their benefits or were never eligible - with relief, and especially with housing. 

That Tim Murray could be unstoppable! 

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