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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Daily Political Wire 4-1-2010

George Wenschhof

Today, President Obama will be in Portland, Maine where he will be discussing the benefit's of health care reform for small businesses -
on his return to Washington, he will stop in Boston to attend fund raisers on behalf of the Democratic National Committee. AP has more here.

Maine also happens to be home for two moderate Republican Senators; Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins. Look to see the President find a way to mention them in a favorable manner. He will need their support in upcoming financial reform, climate and immigration legislation.


Yesterday, President Obama spoke at a Forum on Workplace Flexibility -
it was held by the White House Council on Women and Girls. He spoke of the changing dynamics in the home and the workplace and the need for employers to use job sharing, flexibility and telecommuting. Also needed is employer and/or government assistance for child care.

I wrote a column on this issue published in the November 2009 issue of the magazine 270Inc entitled "Women Leading the Charge for Workplace Changes." You can read it here.


Unemployment Claims down 6,000 -
in signs the country is slowly emerging from a severe recession. However, 439,000 remain on unemployment and receiving benefits. has more here.

“We are turning a corner in the labor market,” said Julia Coronado, a senior U.S. economist at BNP Paribas in New York, who had forecast a decline in the weekly jobless claims. “Businesses are gradually starting to have more confidence in the recovery.”

While summer is approaching and seasonal jobs should help reduce unemployment, I still advocate for the need for federally funded "public service employment" programs.
These programs would put the unemployed to work immediately providing needed public services. It would also assist cash strapped states, counties and municipalities as they are faced with significant staff cuts. The funding should come from the already approved 800 billion Stimulus bill.

These "public service employment" have a proven track record and would be phased out as the economy improves.


Obama off shore drilling announcement politically motivated -
not that this should come as a surprise coming from a President. The hopes are the announcement, while angering the left, will cater to Senate Republicans where one or two are needed to pass the Climate bill. Speculation is the announcement will also remove off shore drilling as a campaign issue for Republicans in the Fall mid term elections. The Washington Post has more here.

As to the passage of the Climate bill, the "cap and trade" provision in the House bill is the most volatile issue in the bill. If, the bill is passed by Congress, expect that provision to be removed.

The reality remains that off shore drilling will take decades to produce any usable oil and the expected oil reserves when tapped will only provide a small number of years of energy use for America.


35 Billion Air Force Refueling Tankers Update -
seems the visit by French President Nicolas Sarkozy with President Obama paid off. has more here. The Pentagon announced it will delay the bid submission date for the contract for 60 days if EADs notifies them of their intent to bid. EADs is headquartered in France.

Sarkozy was more successful than Senator Richard Shelby (R-Al.) who failed in his efforts (putting holds on 70 Obama appointees) to keep Northrup Grumman (who has a large company in Alabama) in the running for the contract.

Boeing, who was in the running as a sole source bidder, can not be very happy right now.


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