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Hilda Solis resigns as U.S. Secretary of Labor

By Josh Richman
Wednesday, January 9th, 2013 at 1:56 pm in Labor politics, Obama presidency.

Hilda Solis has resigned from her post as U.S. Secretary of Labor, the Washington Post reports. Before taking the post in 2009, Solis was a Democratic congresswoman from El Monte for eight years, and earlier yet was a state Senator and Assemblywoman.

President Obama issued this statement:

“Over her long career in public service – as an advocate for environmental justice in California, state legislator, member of Congress and Secretary of Labor – Hilda Solis has been a tireless champion for working families. Over the last four years, Secretary Solis has been a critical member of my economic team as we have worked to recover from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression and strengthen the economy for the middle class. Her efforts have helped train workers for the jobs of the future, protect workers’ health and safety and put millions of Americans back to work. I am grateful to Secretary Solis for her steadfast commitment and service not only to the Administration, but on behalf of the American people. I wish her all the best in her future endeavors.”

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  • John W

    Obama is taking heat over the impression that his second-term cabinet is turning into a “boy’s club.” I’m all in favor of striving for diversity in the top government jobs, but this noise seems a bit harsh.

    So far, the only cabinet position held by a woman in the first term that is now going to the “boy’s club” is Secretary of State. Three out of the last four SecState’s have been women, and the fourth was Colin Powell. And Obama supposedly was going to appoint a woman to replace Clinton until the Three Musketeers (McCain, Graham and Ayotte) proclaimed her unqualified. So, I think we’re doing okay in that job, generally considered the first among equals in the cabinet.

    In the first term, the cabinet included women at State, UN, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, EPA, Labor, Small Business Administration and the current acting Secretary of Commerce. Not to mention Obama’s two Supreme Court appointments and his de facto Chief of Staff, Valerie Jarrett.

    I was hoping Eric Holder would leave and be replaced by former Michigan AG and Governor, Jennifer Granholm. But, unfortunately, it looks like Holder is sticking around for now.

  • RR, Senile Columnist

    The nearly invisible Ms Solis needs to return to L.A. Politics before she is altogether forgotten.

  • Elwood

    Valerie Jarrett is not the de facto chief of staff.

    She is the de facto President.

  • John W

    Re: #3

    If that’s the case, then there should be no whining about Obama’s vacation and golf rounds.

    Forgot to mention the former chairperson of the Council of Economic Advisers, Christina Romer.

  • JAFO

    Ah yes, the esteemed Christina Romer. UC Berkeley’s own. Now there’s an especially sour note in BO’s suite of political appointees. She scampered back to academia faster than even Larry Summers and Austan Goolsbee, but not before breathlessly warning that not passing BO’s stimulus package would certainly mean that the US unemployment rate would rise above 8.0%. As we all know, the bill was passed and the unemployment promptly rocketed past 8% and stayed there for years. It finally inched below 8%, nearly four years after Ms. Romer made her dire prediction.

  • John W

    Re: #5

    Ah yes, the infamous “promise” that passing the stimulus bill would keep the unemployment rate from going over 8%.

    Of course, it was a projection (not a promise). It was contained in a report about the expected impact of the proposed American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Obviously, the economy was in much worse shape than believed at the time. It was stupid of Romer to make that kind of prediction. Unemployment significantly higher than that was already in the works. You don’t just take the oath of office and flip a switch to turn around an economy that is dropping like a rock, with jobs being lost at the rate of 700 and 800 thousand per month.

    Here’s the timeline:

    January 9, 2009 – ARRA report released.
    January 20, 2009 – Obama takes office.
    February 2009 – unemployment rate hits 8.3%
    February 17, 2009 – ARRA signed into law (includes tax breaks, aid to state & local governments and money for yet-to-be selected infrastructure projects.
    April 2009 — Some ARRA money starts flowing into the pipeline, but full implementation occurs over remainder of 2009 and 2010.
    October 2009 — unemployment rate hits 10%.
    November 2009 – unemployment begins to slowly fall

    It took months just to choose so-called “shovel ready” infrastructure projects, let alone funding them and breaking ground. Think of all the direct and indirect jobs involved with the Caldecott Tunnel 4th bore and Doyle Drive projects. ARRA money made it possible for those projects to proceed despite the economic downturn, but it took until 2010 to get the projects going.

  • JAFO

    I’m always impressed with your detailed memory. I’m sure you’ll also remember BO sitting with the president of General Electric nervously quipping that, “The shovel-ready projects weren’t as shovel-ready as we thought.” Ha! What a knee slapper that was. And, of course, his loyal apologists can can always be counted on to quickly parrot well-worn democratic talking points like, “The economy was in much worse shape than believed at the time.” How convenient.

  • John W

    Re: #7

    The problem with the “shovel ready” talk was that it created the impression that you can start digging and building the moment a project is approved. Having been on the drawing board for years, Caldecott and Doyle Drive were as “shovel ready” as it gets. But it took until 2010 to get the final planning done, hire workers and contractors and line up the heavy equipment. Obama’s comment to GE’s Jeffrey Immelt was a comment about a lesson learned, not a “knee slapper.”

    You can argue about whether Romer and others should have understood how badly the economy was melting down before they assumed office. But surely you don’t think they would have made those predictions about 8% unemployment had they known that it would rise above that before Obama’s term even began and significantly above that before the stimulus bill was even passed and started to be implemented. The economy lost more than 3 million jobs in the first four months of 2009 and another 1.5 million by summer. I doubt there were many people who saw that tsunami coming.

  • Publius

    Stimulus/Porkulus:

    We spent One trillion dollars and all we got were those crappy signs on the side of the freeway.

    Labor Sec. Departure:

    The world is a better place now that Hilda is not actively preventing job creation. Her replacement will no doubt be another union hack.

    Government does not create jobs.

  • John W

    Re: 9

    Caldecott and Doyle Drive are more than “crappy signs,” wouldn’t you agree? I don’t know how many other projects like that there are around the state and nation. But these are not “make-work” projects.

    Government does create jobs by investments in infrastructure, schools, and basic research, without which the private economy could not be what it is.

    Not sorry to see Hilda go, even though I presume she was just carrying out the wishes of the Administration. As a Democrat and Obama supporter, I was embarrassed by the interference with the Boeing expansion in South Carolina.

  • JAFO

    Re: 10

    I applaud your candor and balance regarding this Administration’s position on Boeing’s expansion plans. I doubt you’d be surprised to learn that this generally conservative voter has on more than one occasion been embarrassed by positions taken by Republican administrations.

  • Publius

    #10

    “Caldecott and Doyle Drive are more than “crappy signs,” wouldn’t you agree? I don’t know how many other projects like that there are around the state and nation. But these are not “make-work” projects.”

    Your argument is flawed. Of course these are good projects, and yes there are people working on them; that is not the point. Your statement implies that these projects only occurred because the feds paid for it. This may or may not be true, it is really impossible to tell. The argument is the amount of money that Government spends, and what unintended consequences government spending brings.

    The free market needs a strong central government to be the impartial umpire. The market also requires a central government to facilitate infrastructure (or other “public works projects”) that would not profit a person or business to provide.

    Here are some problems that occur when a bloated federal government tries to stimulate the giant American economy.

    The waste and inefficiency that occurs in Government contracts- Compared to the private sector the government will spend approximately 40% more to build a road, bridge, housing, or a school. The allocation of funds determined by political expediency will ultimately produce projects that offer few benefits to the community. The bridge to nowhere and Solyndra are two examples. The bottom line is that the American tax payer is not getting full value for the money it spends on infrastructure or other public works projects. Repealing the Jim Crow Davis-Bacon act would be a good start.

    Over 40% of the money spent was borrowed. Our debt is set to crush future generations. To keep borrowing at this rate is more than wrong it is immoral.

    The third problem that always goes unnoticed by politicians and 90% of the American population is the unintended consequence of Government intervention. While on the surface it looks as if the government is creating jobs, there still has to be an abundance of non-government private employees paying taxes to support those jobs. Higher tax burdens hinder job growth. By bailing out or “stimulating” selected industries and State governments the Federal government is enabling bad business plans and fiscal policies to exist.

    No, I do not think that all government action is evil and always results in disaster. I do think that the balance of government and the private sector is out of whack, and instead of encouraging more government involvement and spending we should be doing everything in our power to reduce the government’s footprint in the private sector to restore the natural balance that has historically made our country great. Both parties in Washington and in the many States have driven up the price of government so much that we as people cannot afford the services they provide. If your argument was true then a massive jobs program launched by the federal government would cure all unemployment. This was tried in the 1930′s and failed. The same logic was behind the stimulus and it has also failed.

  • John W

    Re: #12

    Excellent comments. Well worth reading the entire post. And I agree to varying degrees with much of what you said. Except, of course, for the comment, “Your argument is flawed.” Just kidding.

    I do think that that Caldecott and probably Doyle Drive would still be on the drawing board due to the recession if not for the federal assistance. If government spending is cholesterol, those projects would be the “good cholesterol.” My main point is that we don’t do the next generation any favors by not making truly needed infrastructure investments. If, for example, it will cost $100 million today to replace an aging bridge; but in the name of not borrowing, we don’t build it, we are still passing a $100 million bill to the next generation. Probably much more do to increasing cost over time.

    California is the poster chid for your point about waste and inefficiency in government. For what we spend on prisons, for example, we should should have a world class corrections system and shouldn’t be in the position of having to release criminals who pose a threat to people and property. Instead, the prison conditions are just a couple notches above a Turkish prison, and we still have to release people. The Bay Bridge retrofit should have been completed 12 years ago for $4 or $5 billion less. Then, there is High Speed Rail or the $500 million monorail from BART to Oakland Airport.

    Both you and I would consider ourselves to be deficit hawks. But we probably have very different ideas on what constitutes a balanced approach to fixing the federal budget. That’s a whole separate conversation. The 2001 and 2003 tax cuts that have been made permanent will add $3.7 trillion to the debt over the next 10 years. If people have specific proposals on how to make up for all of that with just spending cuts, now would be a good time to start talking instead of just howling at the moon about how “we have a spending problem, not a revenue problem.”