It was being naively assumed that America’s fiscal woes would end with the year and the as the New Year dawned it would usher in an era of prosperity, affluence and serenity. But with the New Year almost upon us, it seems that we are going to continue to be saddled with soaring unemployment rates, escalating federal debt and a bickering Congress will take their fights into 2014 – only the year will change and nothing much else will.
Joblessness inspite of showing signs of recovery continues to falter and the Labor Department has predicted that from now till 2022, it will fall by almost 11 percent. That is not heartening news, moreover it poses the predicament, how to get Americans back to work?
The Department of Labor has put forth a $12 billion budget proposal that sets forth a plan to put jobless citizens back to work. The plan, that includes special training and employment opportunities for those who are jobless, displaced workers and those communities that are defenseless and vulnerable. However, the plan needs Congress sanction for it to become mandatory applicable.
The DOL plan advocates that unemployed workers have to be made more competitive through training and employment programs. It advocates a budget of $6 million to be spent on such programs that would be targeted at preparing workers to work in places that were high paying and were growth prospects were high.
Training programs would include company training and providing educational opportunities. This would help them freshen up their existing skills and make them more employable than they were before.
DOL allocates $125 million to the Departments of Education and Labor for the Workforce Innovation Fund to motivate and encourage states to take up novel training programs. It says that the money will be used to experiment with new creative ideas and duplicate established approaches for delivering enhanced employment and education results at lesser expense.
The Labor plan also seeks to allocate a portion of the budget to stay abreast of the workers economic conditions and help provide for their families. Moreover, it was important that the economic conditions prevailing in the country, that negatively affect the worker and his family for no fault of his own, do not lastingly impact his life. The plan envisaged that the budget include resources that would help the workers families tide over difficult times, as they tried to put their working lives back in order.
The plan, on the face of its has all the elements of making it a sure-fire method of putting the jobless back to work, but its major hitch is that it has to be first ratified by the federal government, that instead of working in collaboration for the common good bases its decision on malice, unawareness, and arrogance. If they cannot replace these detrimental vices with virtues of teamwork, collaboration and solidarity, than one can have the highest set of ideals and the best minds in the country can sit together and formulate the best of plans, but nothing worthwhile will emerge.
All eyes are on President Obama that he will make the difference and keep the American worker dreams alive and that he will prevail upon his colleagues and his opponents to formulate and implement the right policies and give the nod to the Department of Labor Plan and help usher in an era of job growth and American wealth and affluence.
If he does not he would have belied the core principles on which he fought the election.