Monday, May 10, 2004

May 10 Postings:

1.A. [Updated, 5:10 pm] Tonight's "Public Affairs," show with State Rep. Julie Hamos (D-Evanston) airs through-out the City of Chicago at 8:30 pm on Ch. 21. A partial transcript is included directly below. For more details about the show and a more extended transcript, see Posting 4, below.

Jeff Berkowitz: What is the business climate in Illinois. It has got to be very bad because we are now saying-- we are different from all other states. We will have a higher minimum wage [than surrounding states]; we will have different overtime requirements; We will have different tort laws. Do you think maybe that says to business, "You shouldn't come to Illinois."

Rep. Julie Hamos (D-Evanston): I don't think so, I think the state is doing pretty well.

Berkowitz: You think the state is doing really well?

Hamos: I think the state is rebounding...

Berkowitz: Is unemployment higher in Illinois than it is in surrounding states?

Hamos: I don't know

Berkowitz: That would be an important consideration. Would that change your mind on some of these things if you found that unemployment was higher [in Illinois]?

Hamos: It might. Yeah. I have not heard that. Yeah.

Jeff Berkowitz can be reached at

1.B. It’s jobs, Stupid. Or, is it? Berkowitz questions DNC Chairman McAuliffe:

Jeff Berkowitz: [DNC] Chairman McAuliffe, today, as you know, the Department of Labor announced that 288,000 jobs were created last month, the prior month it was about 300,000 new jobs—if that keeps up, that would be [new job creation at] a rate of 3.5 million a year [currently] by the Bush administration. If that is the case, can you still win? Can the Democratic Party win—and Barack Obama and John Kerry-- on the issue of jobs?

DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe: First, I would say that George Bush has lost 2.8 million jobs in this country since he became President. George Bush will be the first President since Herbert Hoover who will have lost jobs during his tenure as President. He even admits that he will not be able to create enough jobs to offset what [jobs] have been lost so far during his Presidency. So, he will be in a job loss category. I think it is exciting that 288,000 jobs have been created—to those Americans out there who have been struggling, it is spectacular. But, you know what, his [Bush’s] policies aren’t working. He needs to create millions of jobs. There are millions of Americans who have totally left the workforce, are not even looking for work anymore. Their employment benefits have totally been exhausted. And, George Bush’s economic plan hasn’t worked. So, he- as I say, has to create millions of jobs, and creating several hundred thousand—after losing 2.8 million doesn’t make a dent in what we need to do to get this country back to work again.

Press Conference with DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe, held just prior to the DNC, Something New, Chicago fundraiser with Senator Hillary Clinton, Senator Dick Durbin and U. S. Democratic Senate Candidate Barack Obama on May 7, 2004. [DNC fundraiser discussed in blog entry, immediately below]

Of course, more than 1 million jobs have been created since August, 2003 [See, Chicago Tribune, May 8, 2004] putting the net job loss since Jan. 2001 at about 1.7 million jobs, even if one uses the “payroll survey,” apparently favored by Chairman McAuliffe. So, does the 1 million figure make a dent? We discuss, you decide. However, a more interesting question might be what has happened to the average length of time that someone currently unemployed has been seeking a job? We will leave that discussion for another day.

Jeff Berkowitz can be reached at