It was a finely honed machine, this United States Census team, and it had a good run. But in the coming days and weeks, many of its members will experience the pain of unemployment — once again.
Christine Egan, a 31-year-old massage therapist, says her census job offered shelter from the economic storm last year. “The economy was terrible; there was nothing,” she says. “I’ve already gone through ‘horrific,’ so I’m immunized.” She smiles, optimism almost extending to her eyes. “It must be better now, right?”
For some, it is:
While much of the country remains fixated on the bleak employment picture, hiring is beginning to pick up in the place that led the economy into recession — Wall Street.
The shift underscores the remarkable recovery of the biggest banks and brokerage firms since Washington rescued them in the fall of 2008, and follows the huge rebound in profits for members of the New York Stock Exchange, which totaled $61.4 billion in 2009, the most ever, The New York Times’s Nelson D. Schwartz writes. Since employment bottomed out in February, New York securities firms have added nearly 2,000 jobs, a trend that is also playing out nationwide at financial companies, commodity contract traders and investment firms.
It is almost like these things are related:
While the $700 billion bailout of banks has been credited with containing the financial meltdown of 2008, many lawmakers who voted for it — Republicans as well as Democrats — have found it to be a political albatross in this year’s elections, the New York Times reports.
The Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) was proposed by former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, with the backing of then President Bush and the Democratic congressional leadership. But in this election year with its strong anti-Washington overtones, members of Congress who voted for it are finding themselves under attack for promoting big government and fiscal irresponsibility, the Times says.
While Democrats have been coming under fire from Republican challengers for support of the bailout, one of the twists in the current midterm contests is that Republican incumbents who voted for the program are being pummeled by both Republican and Democratic candidates, as well as drawing the wrath of Tea Party activists.
Everyone is broke, the rich get richer, the banks, which we bailed out, post enormous profits while the Senate dithers on unemployment benefits for the people hurt by reckless bank behavior suffer, the blue dogs join with Republicans to block jobs bills, the WH seems to sort of just throw up their hands and sigh, and then, to top it all off, the only people getting hired are more Wall Street leeches. Even more depressing, they can’t even muster the votes for financial regulation in this climate.
What shocks me the most are the conservative Democrats, who are going to be the ones wiped out this fall. Liberals in safe seats will be fine. But the blue dogs, running around with their masturbatory deficit language while concern trolling unemployment benefits extensions, will be thrown out of power and replaced by Republicans, who will then just do the bidding of their corporate masters. The inability to defend the stimulus, which worked, is even more flabbergasting- all around me there are roads that had not been paved in a decade which are now new and safe and provided much needed jobs, and the people driving on them, local teachers, police, firefighters, etc., all have been helped by the stimulus. Yet the WH and Democrats can’t make the case.
The future does not look good for the little guy.