(05/22/2012)
COMMENT Bob Weaver

As 2012 progresses, West Virginia struggles to recover from the Great Recession, finding it difficult to hold on to gains in employment.

Interestingly, the make-up of the state's employment has changed over the past few years, with losses in construction and manufacturing but gains in health care, education and mining.

Despite overall losses in the number of jobs over the past three months, West Virginia's unemployment rate has fallen to 6.7%.

Thousands of WV's production jobs have left the state, most globalized to other countries who have low wages and little or no benefits.

The globalized job losses, estimated at 20 million in the USA, are never mentioned by the government or mainstream media as part of the nations collapsed economy and joblessness.

THE WAR ON COAL?

As West Virginia political leaders prepare for another round of attacks on the Obama administration's coal policies, state data show the number of mining jobs is at its highest level in nearly 20 years.

Figures from multiple government agencies reflect the job increases between 2009 and last year, offering a starkly different picture than is frequently portrayed by industry officials and coalfield political leaders.

"Any way you look at it, coal mining employment is at a two-decade high," said researcher Ted Boettner, who recently analyzed the figures for a blog published by his group, the West Virginia Center for Budget and Policy.

Last week, Boettner reported that West Virginia Workforce agency numbers showed nearly 22,700 mining jobs statewide in 2011, the most since 1995. If support industry jobs were added, the 2011 employment was 24,500, again the most since 1995.

TAXES AND JOB CREATION

Apple Computer joined dozens of American corporations intentionally avoiding paying the going U.S. corporate tax rate by taking profits to off-shore locations that legally allow them to do so.

They fudged a few billion, all legal.

Apple's accountants have found legal ways to allocate about 70 percent of its profits overseas, where tax rates are lower.

General Electric has been the poster child avoiding paying taxes, while many corporations get billions of dollars in special tax breaks issued by the government.

Fascinatingly, during the worst economic conditions since the Great Depression, most American and multi-national corporations have been making record profits.

During the Great Depression, those corporations collapsed along with the American worker.

Now, most working Americans are expected to be "trickled down," an economic formula that has yet proven to work, and most of America's middle class workers, if they have a job, have been living on a decade of stagnant wages and lost benefits.

Free market and deregulation in concept should work, but not with the tilting by powerful corporations that control Washington.

In my lifetime, I never envisioned a political campaign that is waged on giving the richest Americans the greatest tax breaks.

America is in a long haul for unemployment, a slump that has been created by the nation's money-changers and Washington politicians of both parties.

Meanwhile, folks can enjoy the daily spin from media how our elected leaders will take us to the promised land.


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