What Do Those Gates Protect?

1 May

What Do Those Gates Protect?. via Historian  Leslye Joy Allen



American Jobs Act: Impact for Tennessee

15 Sep

On September 8, 2011, President Barack Obama proposed The American Job Acts Bill before both houses of Congress. The United States is faced with a pending double dip recession and near record unemployment. Unemployment among some groups of Americans exceed 30%.  The President laid out a plan for course correction.

I like to get my information straight from the source, so I went to the official White House website



The site is quite comprehensive and I was able to see exactly which parts of the Bill affect Tennessee and my community in Atlanta where I live. This Bill focuses on tax cuts, putting Americans back to work while rebuilding and modernizing American, and creating pathways for Americans to return to work.

The tax cuts include to cut in half the amount to payroll tax on their first $5million in payroll. This would affect 98% of firms that meet this threshold. In Tennessee, 100,000 firms would be eligible.

The President is proposing a payroll tax holiday for firms that add workers and on the increased wages of existing workers. In order to keep this as an incentive for small businesses, this incentive is capped at $50million in payroll increases. By extending 100% business expenses, potentially giving $85million back to those business owners.

Another tax incentive that will generate jobs is $4,000 tax break to those who employ long-term unemployed American.

The American Jobs Act offers tax credits as an incentive for businesses to hire unemployed veterans. Companies could receive between $5,600 up to $9600 for veteran’s with service-related injuries.  The President is on the record of saying that soldiers should not return home without a job opportunity in America.

I am originally from a small rural community so I particularly like the part of this bill that directs funding for new science labs and internet-ready classrooms. This money will be mandated to be distributed among smaller rural communities that STILL do not have WIFI. The goal is to have 98% of Americans exposed to wireless internet access.  Tennessee could receive $61,800,000 for community colleges in rural and urban areas.

Another part of the Bill focuses on infrastructural improvements to the railway, bridge, and road systems across America.  With the record river flow this past spring, I cringe every time I cross the Mississippi River. The I-55 Bridge should be replaced as well as the Helena Bridge. The President’s plan includes $50billion for immediate investment $619,000,000 in Tennessee that could support approximately 8,000 jobs. Many of the workers who will complete this type of work are Tennessee residents

There is current discrimination against job seekers with poor credit and who are unemployed. Part of this Bill  prohibites discriminating against unemployed workers. I know many people, self included, who have been discriminated due to these factors. Sadly in many cases the candidate rarely knows these were barriers to employment.

CA Rep. Maxine Waters, among others have criticized President Obama for not addressing the higher rates of unemployment in the African-American community. The American Jobs Act expands sector based training for low income adults, as well as summer jobs for teens. This directly encompasses the concerns of Ms. Waters, members of the Congressional Black Caucus and  Bob Cohen from Memphis. President Obama’s Pathways Back to Work could place 2,700 adult and 15,600 youths in jobs in Tennessee. African American youth have unemployment numbers greater than 30%. Shelby county needs every one of these opportunities preferably not in logistics. West Tennessee is too dependent on one sector of low wage physical labor.

I currently live in Atlanta which has diverse industries. Most jobs are professional and require specialized training and/or education. Atlanta has a large middle-class African American community. Many in this group are small business owners. Helping African-Americans access capital and grow are initiatives included in the Bill. As a result of the findings of  the President’s Jobs Council,  smaller firms will become more competitive for infrastructural projects that have required too much red tape in the past.

I am sure there will be strong opposition from the Republicans in Tennessee. Tax cuts, poor people, African Americans….I didn’t see anything about protecting the rich. Maybe the Republicans and Tea Party don’t care about all hundreds of mostly brown faces snaking around buildings in long lines in 90 degree heat. Maxine Waters spoke about this after the President’s address. She said many of her Republican peers her they didn’t realize how dreadful the unemployment rate is in some communities.





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14 Sep

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