Notes on the Atrocities Like a 100-watt radio station, broadcasting to the dozens...
Friday, June 04, 2004
WITH NEW JOBS, AMERICANS HEAVE SIGH OF RELIEF
By HERM TUPPER
Amalgamated Press International Writer
Omaha, NEB (API)--Sunlight has barely begun to send shadows snaking along the cornfields this clear June morning, but Mitch Johnson has been at work for two hours already. Standing outside the Fine Bite Donut shot, Mr. Johnson exhales a plume of smoke. Like many Americans who lived through the uncertainty of the new century, this former welder is happy to have a job.
"It was touch and go there for awhile. Couldn't make rent, lost my truck. Nice to have a paycheck comin' in, you know?"
Projections for May are likely to show 250,000 new jobs--and Mitch Johnson has two of them. "Yup, after I leave here, I go to the Mickey D's near my new apartment. I work there a couple nights a week, just for insurance."
For American workers across the land, with each new month of good jobs numbers the anxiety is just melting away. Across the street at the Sunoco store, 74-year-old Ernie O'Malley pumps premium unleaded into the massive tank of a Cadillac Escalade. "They don't like to hire the old people like me. But after the stock market crash, my wife and I were broke. It was dog food every meal for two years. With this job and what Mother makes selling quilts at the flea market, we're down to dog food only on Tuesdays and Thursdays." He stopped to look admiringly at his reflection in the vehicle's side while he thought. "Yes sir, it's wonderful to have a job."
From Rome, President Bush took credit for the economy's performance, crediting the billions he shifted from the Social Security surplus to pay for tax cuts to the ultrarich. "Today's jobs report shows that the American economy is strong and it's getting stronger. It shows that the economy is vital and growing. The policies in place are working, the entrepreneurial spirit is strong, the small business sector of our economy is vibrant," Bush said.* "Some said we should leave that money just sit in a bank account, but I could see that giving it to millionaires would spark this robust job growth we're now enjoying. It's working out just like we predicted."**
Mitch Johnson's break is over. Now it's time to go make another batch of chocolate Bismarks. As he stubbed out his cigarette, Mr. Johnson voiced his relief at the employment bounty. "I'm glad things are better, now. I mean, I don't want to look greedy or nothing, but sometimes you need more than one. I'm glad you can get 'em now."
All across America, hundreds of thousands of Americans share Mr. Johnson's gratitude.