Tag Archives: Unemployment

GOP or Democrat? Differences Are Telling

By Peter Toll

When my youngest daughter was 7 and I was working in the Oregon Senate Democratic Office, she asked me one day:  “What’s the difference between Democrats and Republicans?” Before I could answer, her mother said, “Honey, Democrats share.”

Or, put another way, Democrats are more focused on the individuals (as a group) than on business (as a group). Nowhere is that more clear than in the current D.C.  wrangling on how to allocate the billions of dollars about to be distributed with federal “stimulus” largesse.

Despite the occasional headline that says, “Democrats holding up relief” legislation, the fact is, the Democrats are fighting for more money for hospitals, cities, counties and state governments, those in the first-line of serving the people directly. The Republicans want more money for businesses.

One of Clackamas County’s biggest private employers, Precision Castparts, recently announced it is temporarily shutting down its operation and putting hundreds of people on “paid furlough” until the virus situation settles down.  Goodwill of the Willamette is letting virtually all of its hundreds of employees go, too, just to name a couple of the hundreds in the same bind.

Where do these people go for money to pay their rent? To buy groceries?  To buy clothing for themselves and their children? Do they go running to Donald Trump? No, they turn to local government—the state, the county and the cities for succor. When hard times and distress hit, the action is local, not from D.C.

While partisans of both sides claim the righteousness of their position, when push comes to shove in the legislative arena, when it comes down to a vote, up or down, Republicans invariably side with business while Democrats side with workers. 

Does anyone doubt that Donald Trump is all but pimping for Big Business, along with his henchman Mitch McConnell? Trump-McConnell want more money for their business buddies than they do for local and state governments. Therein lies the rub.

When we elect people who are anti-government, who see government as a terrible hurdle to the dominating success of big business and, equally, rich individuals, should we expect anything less? Not really. And that terrible example from D.C. is rolling down hill into the states and influencing Oregon Republican legislators. More and more out of favor, they feel walking away from their responsibilities—win or lose—is okay.

How far will that $1,200 fed check carry people? It is a one-time deal. Only once.

Continue reading

From the Left Bank

By Peter Toll

Stafford Garden Photo by Eliza Adam

Stafford Garden
Photo by Eliza Adam

Jobs? Way of life? Finding the right blend isn’t easy.

While the three-county Portland Metro area is leading Oregon’s micro economic recovery, recent reports indicate Multnomah County is the driver and Clackamas County is lagging considerably. Unemployment in our county is running at about 7 percent — that’s people actually receiving benefits and not counting, by economists’ rule, those who’ve fallen off the unemployment benefits rolls. Not enough jobs to go around.

Where would “new” jobs be located? After looking for a trained labor pool, reasonable taxes, a decent “way of life,” solid infrastructure, and easy access to interstate highways, captains of industry invariably turn to flat lands near freeways. The slight outlier in our region is Hillsboro. It hosts the state’s largest employer, Intel, and has everything but fast freeway access with a 25-minute run to I-5 on a good traffic day.

Wilsonville, on the other hand, has it all. In fact, it has more jobs than residents. This Clackamas County industrial base helps keep personal property taxes down for residents working there. Live close by. No commute. Pretty good deal all around. But other possible “new” county job locations are hard to find. Where to go? Continue reading