Beltway Insider: Obama Seek Super Storm Sandy Aid; November Job Numbers Released; Fiscal Cliff Looms

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President Obama received an early Christmas gift this week as the November Job numbers were released showing better than expected job growth and dropping the unemployment rate to a four year low.

According to Gallup, President Obama’s job approval, over the past week, stayed steady with 50% of those polled approve of his effectiveness as President and those who disapprove of his effectiveness also remained steady at 43%.

Jobs Numbers Show Growth

The November Employment numbers, compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, were met with much fanfare as they contained unexpected glad tidings. Approximately 146, 000, non-farm, payroll employment jobs were added boosting the flat lined economy with small signs of recovery.  The news was welcomed from Wall Street to the White House as President Obama used the information to reaffirm the strength of his policies.

The annual seasonal workforce needed by retailers to ready for the annual Black Friday start to the Holiday shopping season, as it came earlier this year, may have added to the boon as Washington Insiders had been expecting more devastating news due to the effects of Super Storm Sandy.  The increase marked the fourth straight month the unemployment rate fell below the stubborn 8% were it had been cemented for 43 straight months.

Although the full effects of Super Storm Sandy have yet to be realized, economist warn, should Sandy follow in the pattern of other equally catastrophic natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina, employment loss could reach 90,000 jobs, over ten months, in the hardest  hit areas and higher in more populated areas. Although according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Super Storm Sandy “did not substantively impact the national employment and unemployment estimates for November.”

Obama Seeks Sandy Relief Funds

Super Storm Sandy, the Hurricane turned cyclone that cut a swath across twenty-one states on the eastern seaboard and reached as far inland as Tennessee and Virginia, has left a hefty price tag in its wake.

President Obama has asked congress to approve $60.4 Billion in relief funding.  While the human toll and tragedy is never easy to handle, the infrastructure devastation is unfathomable and New York, New Jersey and Connecticut together has sought over $80 Billion.

Damage estimates, even before the October 30th storm made landfall, were close to $20 Billion in total. Now, five weeks later that tally is quadruple yhe original predictions and will come in upwards of $80 Billion with the goverment preparing to provide a significant portion of those needed funds.

Some of the hardest hit areas are still without power, adequate housing, in addition to the personal property damage and loss. Adequate housing, even with the immediate FEMA funds, is difficult to secure especially with the high cost of living in the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut area. Housing gouging, common even before Super Storm Sandy, has created for those displaced an even more traumatic readjustment. The psychological toll, which hasn't been considered, will only deepen.

Countdown to Fiscal Cliff Doomsday

On December 31, 2012 Americans will face a financial catastrophe. The “Fiscal Cliff” may simply be a government term and yet the economic injury to the American people that will accompany the expiration is deeply devastating.

According to Wikipedia these laws enacted over the last three years are set to expire, which also means that each and every individual affected by them will lose the protection. Expiration of the Bush tax cuts extended by President Obama in the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010; Across-the-board spending cuts to most discretionary programs as directed by the Budget Control Act of 2011.

Expiration of the 2% Social Security payroll tax cut, Expiration of federal unemployment benefits. Expiration of federal renewable energy production tax credit for wind power of 2.2₡ per kWh established by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and New taxes imposed by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.

62% of all Americans would prefer the President and Congress work together to find a solution the fact remains the clock is ticking with twenty-three days left.

 

Sources: Gallup/Wikipedia

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