11.01.2011 0

Federal Reserve employees lose jobs, Labor Secretary Solis invokes National Emergency Grant power

By Rick Manning — The U.S. Department of Labor announced on Halloween that they are providing more than $500,000 “to provide re-employment services to about 115 workers affected by layoffs at the Pittsburgh branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.”

According to the Labor Department’s website, “National Emergency Grant (NEG) program temporarily expands the service capacity of Workforce Investment Act Dislocated Worker training and employment programs at the state and local levels by providing funding assistance in response to large, unexpected economic events which cause significant job losses. NEGs generally provide resources to states and local workforce investment boards to quickly reemploy laid-off workers by offering training to increase occupational skills.”

The NEG is administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry and will be operated by the Three Rivers Workforce Investment Board.

So, to get the $504,000 NEG, two different government bureaucracies are touching the money taking their piece of the action on the way to the unemployed workers.

Of course, other unemployed workers in the Pittsburgh area will not get this special treatment reserved for the laid off bankers of the Federal Reserve.  These unemployed blue collar workers will have to struggle by with the standard, albeit, generous training benefits while the laid off Fed workers have been singled out by Labor Secretary Hilda Solis to receive extra special attention at the cost of half a million U.S. dollars.

As the news release from the Labor Department says, “the NEGs are part of the secretary of labor’s discretionary fund and are awarded based on a state’s ability to meet specific guidelines.”

The obvious question is why did the Labor Secretary choose, in this time of extreme economic hardship, that disproportionately impacts blue collar workers, declare the Federal Reserve employees who were laid off for special treatment?

Unfortunately, the press release is short on details about why the Secretary chose to use her discretion for this particular group?

On a broader scale, the focus upon propping up middle and upper middle class white collar Americans is seen in Obama’s recent initiatives to partially relieve those with recent college educations of some of their loan obligations, as well as put the taxpayer on the hook for costs associated with lowering home mortgage interest rates for those whose homes are now worth less than the amount owed to the bank.

Ironically, for a president whose rhetoric is intended to create strife between classes, his actions are more intended to create a middle class dependency on big government that serves his electoral purposes.

In terms of the Federal Reserve NEG, obviously, everyone is concerned every single employee who loses their job through layoffs.

It is somehow appropriate that on Halloween, Solis singled out those who lost their jobs at the Federal Reserve as a National Emergency.  Apparently, federal bankers need love too.

Rick Manning is the Director of Communications for Americans for Limited Government.

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