- Obama admin to blame for HealthCare.gov woes, $840M cost: GAO
- Al Gore’s climate-changers at EPA hearings foiled by cool temperatures
- Army’s 3-D printed bombs will create ‘a whole new universe’ of deadly capabilities
- Hamas calls on Hezbollah to join in fight against Israel
- Senators to FIFA, others: Don’t reward Putin with the World Cup in 2018
- U.S. condemns Israeli shelling of shelter in Gaza
- Obamacare shoots premiums up by 88 percent in California
- Chicken pox outbreak puts illegal immigrant facility on lockdown
- Obama to Republicans: ‘Stop just hatin’ all the time’
- U.S. chemical sites vulnerable despite millions spent on security: Congress
SIMMONS: Job training meaningless without jobs
Question of the Day
In May 2007, the D.C. unemployment rate stood at 5.4 percent. Today it stands at 9.8 percent.
With ornery unemployment rates hovering around double digits and the demand for social services growing by leaps and bounds, the District is going to cave in on itself in short order if demand continues to overwhelm supply.
Mayor Vincent C. Gray says he has a plan to avert such a catastrophe, and I pray he does because as the summer heat bears down on the nation’s capital, jobless residents are getting hotter and hotter under the collar as they pound the pavement and prowl the Web for employment.
“Where’s Wal-Mart?” a baby boomer asked while in line at a job fair held at Florida Avenue Baptist Church.
“I just want a job,” said a young man as he set his briefcase between his legs to loosen his necktie. “My son starts college in August. Am I supposed to say, ‘Lord, thanks, maybe next year?’ “
Theirs are but two voices on the front lines of the job hunt that are questioning the commitment of the mayor and lawmakers, and theirs are voices that grow more and more restless each day as the anti-Wal-Mart crowd presses City Hall for community-benefits agreements with the nation’s largest retailer, which wants to open four new stores - and, hopefully, a fifth - in the District.
But who has the ear of City Hall?
On Thursday, it will be clergy moving in lock step with unions heckling the mayor and lawmakers about a Wal-Mart community-benefits agreement (CBA). Like CBAs that played major roles in gentrifying the Shaw neighborhood and building the Washington Nationals’ ballpark, such agreements extort elaborate job-training programs and the almighty dollar fromfunds that supposedly benefit the community at large.
In reality, however, these agreements are nothing more than candy-coated shakedowns pushed by liberals and other progressives who use such catchphrases as “livable wages” and “affordable housing.” (See for yourself at communitybenefits.blogspot.com/.)
There’s plenty of affordable housing in the District; it’s just that thousands of residents can’t afford it because they have no jobs.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, I asked several lawmakers and high-level officials what’s more important: job training, which is on the front burner, or job creation, which only congressional Republicans are urging.
Each D.C. official replied by saying, “Off the record, job creation,” “Job creation, off the record,” or, as one put it, “Creating jobs.”
Then, at the mayor’s weekly press briefing, I queried Mr. Gray, too.
Citing a memo from Chief Financial Officer Natwar M. Gandhi that D.C. “resident employment has declined and the unemployment rate has increased,” I asked the mayor what he is going to do about job creation. He said he will be making a “major announcement on Monday” and that it’s “very hard for governments to create jobs.”
Sounds like that means major developers, contractors and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce won’t be by his side on Monday.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Award-winning opinion writer Deborah Simmons is a senior correspondent who reports on City Hall and writes about education, culture, sports and family-related topics. Mrs. Simmons has worked at several newspapers, and since joining The Washington Times in 1985, has served as editorial-page editor and features editor and on the metro desk. She has taught copy editing at the University of ...
- SIMMONS: Re-education of humanity and the PC crowd
- SIMMONS: What happened in Vegas can't stay in Vegas
- SIMMONS: Tell Joe Biden and the NAACP that politics aren't black and white
- SIMMONS: Youthful sounds of music stirring in Prince George's County
- 'No cellphone' sidewalk pops up in D.C.
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
- Geraldo Rivera: Matt Drudge 'doing his best to stir up a civil war'
- Catholic League slams Obama: 'Do Christian lives mean so little to you?'
- Lois Lerner hated conservatives, new emails show
- HURT: Impeaching Obama is a losing strategy for the GOP
- MSNBC's Ronan Farrow questions lack of racial diversity in emoji characters
- Obama thanks Muslims for 'building the very fabric of our nation'
- Fla. mom arrested for allowing 7-year-old son to walk to park alone
- CARSON: Rudderless U.S. foreign policy
- Federal judge grants 90-day stay in D.C. gun case
- Patent workers paid to exercise, shop, do chores: report
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world