UPDATED Bugs and Itches – An Interactive Invitation

By Miryam Ehrlich Williamson

Stink bugs hatching / Wikimedia Commons

Sometimes things bug me (I’m sure this doesn’t surprise you.) Sometimes something comes along that I’m itching to tell you about, but I’ve got other things to write. Mostly they get away from me, because I forget to write them down.

No more. “Bugs and Itches” will be the title for occasional posts of miscellaneous items I want to share with you.

But I live on a two-way street. I’m inviting you to post your bugs and itches in the comments that follow this post – and future Bugs and Itches posts as well. If you want to take me up on this invitation, here’s what you should know:

I get to read all comments and accept those I find acceptable. So far, that’s been almost all of them. (Total spam gets deflected before I see it.) I throw away posts promoting sites that have no purpose other than to sell something. Anything else, as long as it’s not abusive, gets approved, even if I don’t like it.)

If you want to comment anonymously, tell me about something you’d like me to blog about, or ask a question, put PRIVATE in the subject line and you can be sure it won’t get posted. If you want me to write back, put your email address in the message. I don’t know why, but the email addresses that show up in the comments when they come to me by email usually don’t work. write to me at TB40/at/mwilliamson.com (you know what to do with that address, I’m sure.)

It turns out that once you have been approved to post comments, your comments go straight to the site, before I see them.  Writing to me directly guarantees your privacy. And I wish you’d do that. I want to hear what you’re thinking, and learn some of what you know.

I hope you’ll take me up on this. Send in your Bugs and Itches.

Here are mine for today:

Bug: The Jobless Recovery

Big companies have plenty of money. For them, the recession is over and the economy is flourishing. Nonfinancial companies were sitting on about $8.4 trillion in cash as of the end of March, or about 7% of all company assets, the highest level since 1963. This comes from no less a source than the Wall Street Journal.

Jobs with Justice (disclosure: I’m on their Western Mass. Workers Rights Board) says

Corporate America is sitting on so much cash reserves that only 20% of that money could provide a $70,000/year job to 5 million Americans … for 5 years.

On September 15, Jobs with Justice coalitions and allies across the country will be asking Congress to declare what the rest of us have known for a long time: we are in a Jobs Emergency.

Meanwhile, Newsweek writes

The economy has been growing for a year, and corporate profits have surged—Standard & Poor’s estimates that income of the S&P 500 rose nearly 52 percent in the second quarter of 2010 over the same period in 2009. Much of that impressive growth has been driven by the remarkable gains in efficiency and productivity that corporate America has notched since the recession took hold. Last year, productivity—the ability to produce more with less—soared 3.5 percent, up from 1 percent growth in 2008 and 1.6 percent in 2007.

You know what the makes productivity grow? Management squeezing more and more work out of fewer and fewer employees.

That’s right: Corporations are hanging onto their money, refusing to hire more people because the workers who have jobs are scared to death to say, “Enough!”

You can’t blame the workers; they have bills to pay and families to feed. But you can stand with Jobs with Justice on September 15 and contact the people elected to serve you.

Itch: Bush Tax Cuts Due to Expire

Certain members of a certain political party are conveniently forgetting that the Bush tax cuts they passed in 2001 and 2003 are required by law to expire at the end of this years because they added to the deficit and were enacted using the <gasp!> budget reconciliation rule that required only a majority vote. Said party was then in the majority, so they crammed the tax cuts – which benefited the vastly rich far more than the other 90% of us – down the throats of the minority party.

Now the question comes to Congress: Do the tax cuts get allowed to expire across the board, should those for people in the lower income brackets be continued and the rich people’s tax cuts expire, or should they all be continued? If Congress does nothing, they all expire at the end of the year.

The Washington Post has an interactive site that tells you what the implications are of each decision. Go look, then come back and tell the rest of us what you want to see happen.

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