Inside Opinion

What's on the minds of Tacoma News Tribune editorial writers

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Tag: unemployment


Intolerable jobless rates for America’s youngest veterans

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.

Barack Obama recently declared victory in Afghanistan – sort of – and announced plans to bring the last combat troops home in 2014. As the war winds down, our commitment to the troops who served shouldn’t wind down with it.

The unemployment rate among the country’s youngest veterans – the ones who volunteered after 9/11 – is intolerably high. The best current numbers, from 2011, were released in March by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Here are the low points:

• Last year, 12.1 percent of all “post-9/11” vets were out of work last year – nearly half again the country’s overall unemployment rate of roughly 8 percent.

• Among black post-9/11 vets, unemployment ran 14.3 percent. Among Hispanics, 17 percent.

• The numbers are far worse for male veterans under the age of 24. Their jobless rate was a staggering three out of every ten – 70 percent higher than their nonveteran peers.

• A total of 234,000 post-9/11 vets want jobs and can’t find them. This army of unemployed patriots is much larger than the forces the United States deployed in either Iraq or Afghanistan.
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Economy starting to show some real signs of life . . . maybe

This editorial will appear in Thursday’s print edition.

Quick, someone. Knock on wood.

While some signs seem to indicate that the nation really might be lumbering out of the Great Recession that economists say technically ended in June 2009, we’re holding our breath, crossing our fingers and, yes, knocking on wood. We won’t believe it until . . . well, we like to think that we’ll know recovery when we see it. And we sure don’t want to jinx it by proclaiming it a done deal.
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A Labor Day without enough labor to go around

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.

Love and work, said Sigmund Freud, are the fundamental human needs. It’s tough to measure the amount of love in Washington, but the state’s unemployment rate has become a rolling disaster.

This Labor Day isn’t much of an occasion for more than 300,000 jobless Washingtonians; when every day’s a holiday, no day’s a holiday. There’s no turnaround in sight: The state jobless rate, which had been edging downward for months, recently ticked upward again, to 9.3 percent.

Nor does that statistic reflect the countless people who can’t find full-time jobs or have flat given up looking for work. And it conceals groups suffering unusual distress, such as out-of-work African Americans and military veterans who enlisted after the 9/11 attacks. Read more »


Economic crisis is a poor time for political pettiness

This editorial will appear in Sunday’s print edition.

Last week, U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner and other Republican leaders devoted themselves to quarreling with the White House about the timing of a presidential address to Congress.

The monumental question: Wednesday? Or Thursday?

Closer to home, the Tacoma Education Association continued its campaign to exaggerate the size of the school district’s rainy day fund and grab as much of it as possible.

Some people apparently have more pressing concerns than the economic hurricane that may be bearing down on the nation, the state and local governments – including the Tacoma School District.

Given the darkening skies, politicians, unions, employers ought to be collaborating anxiously on plans to survive the next couple of years. Not perpetuating old disputes that strike most people as petty and self-serving. Read more »


Obama didn’t get mugged in deal with Republicans

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

There’s a lot more to Obama’s tax-cut deal with Republicans than you’d imagine from the Democratic hand-wringing over it.

Symbolically, it seemed a huge GOP victory, because many liberal Democrats had framed the whole argument in terms of giveaways to the wealthy and Republican callousness toward the unemployed. They wanted to decouple the tax cuts given to high-income Americans in 2001 and 2003 from the cuts given to households of lower income.

Democrats wanted to renew the latter while letting the former to expire on schedule at the end of December. This would make the tax code more progressive – a Democratic dream and a nightmare of many Republicans.

In the current economic distress – huge deficits combined with deep recession – the Democrats had the better side of the argument. Renewal of tax relief for the most affluent would be a missed opportunity for whittling down the immense gap between federal revenue and spending. Letting rates suddenly rise in January for less wealthy Americans – who pump most of their discretionary income into the economy – would have been disastrous.

But on Monday, Republicans held the line, and Obama abandoned his previous demands to squeeze more from the affluent. Many Democrats are gnashing their teeth and accusing their president of spinelessness.

But a closer look at the deal – the actual deal, not the symbolic one – tells a different story.
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