Friday, August 19, 2005

De'Klining Economy

Last week in his newsletter John Kline bragged about how great the economy is under his leadership....This week I found some facts he seemed to 'overlook'. When will John Kline stop following the disinformation provide by the Bush Administration and start speaking the truth?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics' employment report states that since the last economic peak in March 2001, the only group whose employment rates have grown are the least-educated workers - those who failed to complete high school - which are up by 2.7 percentage points. This compares to the overall rate, which is still down by 1.5 points.

High school graduates employed remains down by 1.5 points, those with some college but no degree is down 2.9 points, and those with college degrees is down 1.8 point.

What this means is we are bursting at the seams with unemployed computer engineers and well-educated professionals who are now displaced by outsourcing and H-1B visas. During Bush's entire first term, there was a net loss of American private sector jobs. Today there are 760,000 fewer private sector jobs in the US economy than when Bush was first inaugurated in January 2001

Manufacturing is also losing ground… even though July's losses were slight (employment in the sector was only down 4,000, but production-worker employment was off by 10,000, suggesting larger losses among blue-collar workers). It is widely recognized that manufacturing is in the midst of a long-term structural decline as opposed to a strictly cyclical slump. The increase in the magnitude of job loss in the sector is quite dramatic and, given the importance of the sector to both living standards and innovation, our government should be fighting the war of lost jobs instead of the war in Iraq.

The loss of higher end US jobs to India and China is having a real impact on our security unlike the weapons of mass delusion. The only jobs that Kline and the Bush administration have created has been for domestic services. In other words, do you want ketchup with those fries? working poor jobs!

Until recent years, American companies employed Americans to produce the goods that Americans consumed. Employment supported sales, and sales supported employment. No more. The shortsighted policy of the current administration (that would be Bush with John Kline!) in moving US jobs abroad are destroying the American markets and destroying Americas financial security.

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development reported on August 5 that jobseekers are competing for fewer employment opportunities compared to last year. Job vacancies in the state were down by 9.9 percent in second quarter 2005 from one year ago. This means that there were 5.0 job vacancies for every 10 unemployed people. So not only do you have only lower end jobs with openings, you also have to compete with more over experienced applicants.

Additionally only 14% of Minnesota firms expect to increase their employment levels in the next six months. That’s a marked decline in the numbers projected in prior years. If people are feeling vulnerable to global economic conditions and a sense that they lack clout in commanding a highter wage, it’s because that’s exactly what has happened in todays labor market.

A study released this month by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) focuses on "unprecedented" declines in the workforce in the wake of the 2001 recession that continues even now. Job growth in this economic recovery has been substantially slower than previous recoveries. Including a budget deficit of $308 billion during the first 10 months of fiscal year 2005.

John Kline doesn’t present all the facts on the current economy because it not good news. All the facts speak for themselves, America and it’s job market is deklining under Kline.

1 comment:

PDW58 said...

Let's talk about John Kline.

Looking at some of the facts surrounding a few of Kline's supporters raises a lot of questions that need to be asked. Someone smarter than I needs to ask them because it raises my curiousity level.

First, you need to get to know Mr. John Wren. Mr. Wren is the CEO of a company called Lakeville Motor Express. This is a family owned trucking business that started in Lakeville, MN in 1921 but moved its corporate offices to Roseville in 1979. The big break for this business occurred in the 1980 deregulation of the trucking industry. LME expanded rapidly to other states and the business flourished. Mr. Wren soon became very involved in the ATA, the American Trucking Association. The ATA, as a lobby, was a loose confederation of trucking firms that couldn't come to a consensus on what they needed.

John Wren had a plan... he was put in charge of a task force to fix the situation and make the membership more responsive. The "Wren Committee", as it was called, did just that. They coordinated dues and lobbying efforts of the ATA and the Truckload Carriers, the two largest groups representing trucking firms, into a structure that eventually turned the ATA lobby into a single voice and into one of the 50 biggest spenders among lobby groups. Mr. Wren was becoming wealthy and powerful. He became chairman of the ATA in 1998 and for 2 years, he consolidated his "plan" and began to expand the influence of the trucking lobby. He stepped down as chairman of the ATA in 1999; and turned over the office of President of LME to Peter Martin in 2000.

When he stepped down as ATA chairman, Mr. Wren'sdeparting words were:

"I've not given my sweat and blood for 2 years to just walk away from this. I have some ownership in the plan's implementation. I plan to remain as active as can be without stepping on the toes of the new chairman."

So, what does that have to do with John Kline? Nothing... or everything. It depends on how you interpret the facts. John Kline lives in Lakeville and although John Wren now lives in Stillwater, the Wren family has heavy family ties to the Lakeville area. John Wren became head of the ATA in 1998 and John Kline began his first run for Congress against Bill Luther in 1998. Nothing terribly significant about that for sure, but it starts to get real curious when you follow the money.
Starting in 2002, (Kline's first successful run for Congress) the Wren familiy have been heavy and regular contributors:
John Wren Mary Wren
2002 $2,000 $2,000
2003 $1,000 $1,000
2005 $2,000 $2,000

Their son Joseph (who works for the company) also contributed $1500 during this period.
During 2003-04, the family gave $8,000 to the Bush campaign
During 2001-03, the family gave $6,000 to the Coleman campaign.
During 2001-03, the family gave $12,000 to Mark Kennedy's campaign.

OK, so they are big contributors to the Republican Party, so what?
Well, it gets even more interesting when you look at the 2006 contributions, so far. (This data comes from OpenSecrets.org.) If you look at the recipients of money from the Trucking Industry, both House and Senate, John Kline tops the list at $20,999... the next closest is an Indiana Congressman with $13,850. The top Senate candidate had $11,000. When you break it down furthur, you find, (big surprise!)... that Lakeville Motor Express is the top Kline contributor for the 2005-06 cycle at a whopping $10,000. The ATA PAC is his 6th highest contributor at $4,999... in fact, out of the the entire Congress, only one Missouri Representative received more ($1) from the ATA than John Kline.

So, why does the trucking industry have such a sudden enormous interest in John Kline? Its hard to say with any certainty, but one of the factors has to be CAFTA.

The Trucking industry wanted CAFTA badly. Imports from those countries would certainly increase and the trucking industry would certainly benefit. Minnesota would normally be an unusual place to be looking for votes because we have such a prominent sugar beet industry. And CAFTA is not good for the sugar beet industry. John Kline managed to play both sides of the fence there too, taking in $10,000 from the sugarbeet plants in 2004 and another $2,000 this year. Kline took the money and ran because his vote was never in doubt. He sided with the truckers and voted for CAFTA, despite its dubious effects on Minnesota agriculture.

It makes one wonder, is there some other connection between Kline and Wren? Too much money that involves John Wren, either directly or indirectly, is coming to Kline. If anyone is willing to do some serious digging, there is something under that rock!