Filed Under:  OpEd, Opinion

Let’s cut to the chase: Jobs now!

26th September 2011   ·   0 Comments

By Dr. E. Faye Williams, Esq.
Trice Columnist

Everybody’s mind seems to be on jobs. Yet, among my friends, I can’t think of a single person who is not working. When I hear all of the sad stories about how long others have been without jobs, I can’t help but think about how blessed my friends and I are. Being blessed doesn’t relieve me of the responsibility of caring about those who need a job, but who don’t seem to be able to find one.

So, it’s difficult for me to understand how more than half the men and women who have jobs, top benefits, and numerous privileges at taxpayers’ expense could sit stoned face, some smirking, others giggling inappropriately in the Chamber a few days ago as President Barack Obama outlined his plan to put people back to work. These same people who have the ability and the responsibility to do what is necessary to produce jobs for other Americans seemed so callous and uncaring.

What the President outlined made so much sense. His goals would not only provide jobs for those without them, but the accomplishment of those goals proposed would make life so much better for all of us. The proposed highways and bridges would benefit all of us. Schools for young people would better educate those who come after us to take on the responsibility of improving our senior years along with theirs.

Just a few days ago there was a breaking news story about the increasing number of women and children in poverty. It indicated that there is a record number of women in extreme poverty. The figures released by the Census Bureau and summarized by Joan Entmacher, Vice President, Family Economic Security for the National Women’s Law Center underscored the fierce urgency of now to do something about jobs.

Entmacher said there is a rise in women living in poverty. Over 17 million women lived in poverty in 2010, including more than 7.5 million in extreme poverty, with an income below half of the federal poverty line — both all-time highs. The poverty rate among women rose to 14.5 percent in 2010 from 13.9 percent in 2009, the highest rate in 17 years. The poverty rate among single mothers climbed to 40.7 percent in 2010; more than half of all poor children lived with single mothers….The wage gap for women remained as wide as in 2009. Women working full-time year-round were paid only 77 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts.

The data also indicated the record number of women without health insurance, rising to 19.7 percent in 2010 from 19.2 percent in 2009. A total of 19 million women were uninsured in 2010 — an increase of more than 0.5 million women from the previous year.

Last week, we received information that more than 46 million Americans live in poverty, with 22 million being children. How can young people have dreams when so many of our leaders who’re charged with the responsibility of making their lives better, seem not to care?

As leader of a women’s organization, I join the Women’s Law Center in calling upon everyone to tell Congress to take action on the President’s proposals to create jobs and alleviate the suffering of women and families. Tell them not to play politics this time by undercutting job-creation measures simply because President Obama proposed them. Too many safety net programs have already been cut, making it harder for struggling families to make ends meet.

The President has laid out his plan for action, and submitted it to Congress. We must call upon Congress to act now!

This article was originally published in the September 26, 2011 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper

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