Archive for the ‘middle class’ Category

Obama Creates Task Force for Working Families

December 21, 2008

U.S. President-elect Barack Obama unveiled a new task force on Sunday charged with helping struggling working families, as an aide said Obama’s economic recovery plan would be expanded to try to save 3 million jobs.

The White House Task Force on Working Families, to be headed by Vice President-elect Joe Biden, would aim to boost education and training and protect incomes and retirement security of middle-class and working families whose plight Obama had made a central issue of his campaign.

By Paul Eckert
Reuters

Biden’s panel of top-level officials and labor, business, and activist representatives would help keep working families “front and center every day in our work,” Obama said in a statement released by his transition office.

Biden said the economy was in worse shape than he and Obama had thought it was.

“President-elect Obama and I know the economic health of working families has eroded, and we intend to turn that around,” Biden told ABC’s “This Week.”

Related:
Obama’s New Vision for Vice President Joe Biden

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/us_usa
_obama_economy

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Biden to oversee efforts aimed at middle class

December 21, 2008

In a lot of White House assignments in past administrations, the Vice President got the jobs the top man didn’t want and didn’t think too terribly important…

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Vice President-elect Joe Biden will oversee a task force that will make recommendations on how to build the ranks of the middle class, that ambiguously defined segment of society in which most Americans identify themselves.

Biden said the task force will include other Cabinet members and it will present President-elect Barack Obama with a package of proposals designed to ensure the middle class is “no longer being left behind.”

“We’ll look at everything from college affordability to after-school programs, the things that affect people’s daily lives,” Biden said during an interview to be broadcast Sunday on ABC’s “This Week”.

By KEVIN FREKING, Associated Press Writer

US Vice President Joe Biden gestures while US President Barack ... 
US Vice President Joe Biden gestures while US President Barack Obama signs an Executive Order in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building January 21 in Washington, DC.(AFP/Getty Images/Brendan Smialowski)
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Vice President-elect Joe Biden listens as President-elect Barack Obama makes remarks.(AP Photo)

Overseeing a task force has become tradition for vice presidents. Dick Cheney led a task force on energy. Al Gore had the task of reinventing government. George H.W. Bush, while serving as Ronald Reagan’s vice president, oversaw a task force charged with reducing government regulation. While all of those efforts resulted in some accomplishments, it’s also clear that the issues they confronted were so large and systemic that many could and did question the progress they made.

Biden said the measure of economic success in an Obama administration would be whether the middle class was growing. He said Obama planned to announce the formation of the task force later Sunday.

Even as he discussed the new job, Biden took care to define his role as vice president as going beyond a particular task. He said that when he discussed the job with Obama during the campaign, he told Obama he didn’t “want to be the guy that goes out and has a specific assignment.” Rather, he wanted to have a voice in every matter of importance.

“I said I want a commitment from you that in every important decision you’ll make, every critical decision, economic and political as well as foreign policy, I’ll get to be in the room,” Biden said.

He said that Obama agreed and has adhered to that commitment.

Related:
Joe Biden To Lead White House Task Force on Working Families

 Obama’s New Vision for Vice President Joe Biden

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081221
/ap_on_go_pr_wh/biden_middle_class

With Strikes, China’s New Middle Class Vents Anger

December 18, 2008

When 9,000 of Shin Guoqing’s fellow taxi drivers went on strike early last month, he felt he had to join them.

Soaring inflation had undermined what his $300-a-month income could buy for his family, and Shin said he was frustrated that the government had done nothing to help. “After running around the whole day, you have only a few renminbi for it,” he said, referring to China’s currency. “You don’t feel good about your life.”

By Ariana Eunjung Cha
Washington Post Foreign Service
Wednesday, December 17, 2008; Page A01

China's former president Jiang Zemin (R) gestures to president ... 
China’s former president Jiang Zemin (R) gestures to president Hu Jintao after a celebration to mark the 30th anniversary of China’s reform and opening-up at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing December 18, 2008.  China is using the celebration, in part, to mask deep social issues and protests.(Jason Lee/Reuters)

For two days, the drivers held this Sichuan province metropolis of 31 million people under siege, blocking roads and smashing cars. The Communist Party quickly stopped the violence by promising to address the drivers’ demands for easier access to fuel and better working conditions.

From the far western industrial county of Yongdeng to the southern resort city of Sanya and the commercial center of Guangzhou, members of China’s upwardly mobile working class — taxi drivers, teachers, factory workers and even auxiliary police officers — have mounted protests since the Chongqing strike, refusing to work until their demands were met.

Local taxi drivers scuffle with police during a protest in Guangzhou, ... 
Local taxi drivers scuffle with police during a protest in Guangzhou, Guangdong province November 24, 2008.
Photo: Reuters, China

China’s government has long feared the rise of labor movements, banning unauthorized unions and arresting those who speak out for workers’ rights. The strikes, driven in part by China’s economic downturn, have caught officials off guard.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content
/article/2008/12/16/AR2008121602851.html