Cynical Synapse

Wed, 15 Jul 2009

Obama Promises Retraining for Lost Auto Jobs

Filed under: Bailout, Economy, Government, Life, Michigan, People, Politics — cynicalsynapse @ 8:24 pm

Obama speaking at Macomb Community College

Yesterday, President Obama visited Macomb Community College in Warren, his first visit to Michigan since last October. What was suppposed to be a town hall style event became an invitation-only speech. During his remarks, Obama admitted many auto jobs were permanent losses.

[T]he hard truth is that some of the jobs that have been lost in the auto industry and elsewhere won’t be coming back… My expectation is, is that we will probably continue to see unemployment tick up for several months.

Meanwhile, Michigan unemployment spiked to 15.2% in June, the highest rate since 1983. The state’s unemployed, at 740,000, is the highest it’s ever been since 1973! In fact, since Obama was last in the state, Michigan’s situation has gotten much worse:

Since Obama was last in Michigan Oct. 2, its financial picture has only worsened. The state’s jobless rate has jumped 5 percentage points to 14.1 percent as it shed 245,000 jobs, including nearly 50,000 in auto manufacturing. General Motors and Chrysler have gone through Chapter 11, even though many in Michigan thought bankruptcy was a dubious strategy.

No fear. During his speech, Obama promised $12 billion to community colleges for retraining. But wait a minute. The money is to be doled out over the next decade. So that’s only $1.2 billion per year. And who gets the money? There are about 1,570 community colleges in the country. So, if each gets an equal share, that means each gets $764,000 per year. Therefore, Michigan’s 32 community colleges will rake in $24,448,000, a not insignificant amount, eh? Until you spread it among the 740,000 unemployed. Then it is a pitiful $33 per person. How much retraining can $33 buy?

Never mind the small details like what jobs should we retrain for? Wind power? Solar energy? Movies? Ethanol?

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