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As President Obama prepares to address the nation on Thursday concerning the struggling jobs market, many are concerned that he is overlooking societal concerns in favor of boosting the economy.
David Wessel, economics editor at the Wall Street Journal, gives an overview of the multi-faceted approach we can expect to hear from the president, specifically lowering the unemployment rate through a series of tax cuts and plans to improve our nation’s infrastructure.
Many are scrutinizing the expected political nature of the speech, suggesting that he will try to convince voters that he can deliver results by working with both parties in order to succeed.
This willingness to cooperate (or give in, some say) is evidenced by his measure to loosen environmental policy that some say hinder job growth. Paul Krugman examines some of the environmental concerns that have been raised that foster job creation.
A local example of bypassing health concerns in favor of job creation is the new plan for natural gas drilling of Marcellus Shale in Albany. Detractors say the governor is “fast-tracking” the drilling process without conclusive information on its effect on drinking water in the state.
While the president is getting flack for neglecting the environment, current Republican front-runner Rick Perry’s tactics for job creation are receiving attention due to their effect on poverty in Texas.
Paul Osterman took a closer look at the job growth that Perry takes credit for in the Rio Grande Valley, where employment has risen more than 40% in the last decade. After conducting extensive research in the area, he found that many of the jobs are extremely low-paying, leading to an overall decline in quality of life in the area.
The president and presidential hopefuls will have the task of balancing healthy living conditions with steady job creation.
Many are celebrating this week’s official repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” the policy that banned gays from serving openly in the military. Yet the military was dealt a blow recently when President Obama announced his intention to cut military spending over the next ten years.
The armed forces serve as the nation’s largest employer, with nearly 1.5 million active duty members. Even with more recruits willing to serve due to the repeal of DADT, the question arises: will individuals seeking federal employment be denied due to lack of funding?
Master Sgt. Anthony Henry, a Marine recruiter, embraced the change in policy and set out to find recruits at a gay community center in Tulsa, OK. Though the pool of applicants might grow, he talks about how stringent the standards will remain for anyone hoping to join the few and the proud. He acknowledges that budget cuts have made the process much more selective – and consequently desirable.
But defense manufacturers aren’t as eager to work with the proposed cuts to military spending. The Aerospace Industries Association has put together a super-committee, dedicated to fighting the proposed $350 billion cuts to defense spending. Warning a sharp increase in unemployment, they claim the decrease will cut jobs necessary to keeping our country safe and employing more than a million individuals.
Yet the Pentagon is searching for more creative ways to cut military spending without sacrificing jobs. Among those are changes to the military pension program, which currently benefits long-serving members. They are developing a retirement plan that works like a 401(k) matching program, which is designed to benefit a larger military population. The president is also proposing more contributions on behalf of military families to pay for medical bills and prescriptions, which would save an estimated $20 billion over the next ten years.
Critics believe the change will deter new recruits who plan to serve for long careers.
Even with the repeal of DADT, do you think impending defense budget cuts will deter individuals from joining the military?