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Rahm's Fake Jobs

"When Google Inc. announced Monday it would slice Motorola Mobility's payroll by 20 percent, the cutback represented a reversal of fortune for Emanuel, who less than three weeks earlier trumpeted the smartphone-maker's decision to move its headquarters, with its 3,000 high-paying jobs, to Chicago," the Tribune reports.

"Motorola's backpedaling is the most recent and dramatic example of how Emanuel's jobs announcements - aimed at creating buzz that he's kicking the city into high gear, pulling businesses from the suburbs and elsewhere in the country - don't all live up to their billing."

And how.

"Emanuel keeps a running tally: Eight companies committing to moving their corporate or regional headquarters to Chicago and 28 companies expanding here, adding about 20,000 jobs in a little more than a year in office. But a Tribune review found that while about 60 percent of those job pledges are for new positions, the remainder likely will be transfers - good for the city but not providing direct opportunities for the 1 in 10 Chicagoans who are out of work and looking for jobs in a soggy economy.

"Moreover, of the new jobs, more than 1,700 of the positions the mayor counts are construction jobs, which aren't permanent. Of all the announced jobs, 2,200 are with companies that failed to provide a definitive date on when they would finish the hiring, and about 3,600 are on phased timetables that could stretch beyond 2015, raising the question of how firm those pledges could be."

So Rahm is counting jobs that may never exist. And until now, the media has simply repeated those claims.

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"In a statement," the Tribune reports, "Emanuel said: 'Every business person knows confidence is one of the most important economic stimulants. Part of why we announce successful recruitments and expansions is it builds confidence in the economy and the decisions we are making . . . Other companies around the world have taken notice."

In other words, Rahm refused to face reporters' questions. Why not just say so? Rahm has thus far depended on the gullibility of reporters to get his fake claims across. Now he doesn't want to be held accountable. Let's not pretend.

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"For instance, Lawson Products' decision in November to relocate its headquarters from Des Plaines to Chicago was touted by Emanuel as 'a significant commitment to the city.'

"The move amounted to shifting the company from one side of the Tri-State Tollway to the other, bringing the distributor of maintenance and repair supplies a bit closer to O'Hare International Airport. The new location is less than four miles from the original spot.

"Lawson delivered on its promise and transferred 400 employees to the new headquarters in late spring. But by the end of June, the company announced it was laying off 100 employees, or 11 percent of its workforce, with more than half taking place at its headquarters."

Suggestion to Trib: A "whiteboard" on your home page keeping its own tally of Rahm's job claims next to verified jobs created next to verified jobs lost.

Suggestion to local TV: If you're gonna show every press conference in which Rahm makes a jobs announcement, report every job loss too and put his photo on the screen next to the numbers.

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Is a mayor responsible for jobs created and jobs lost? I'm sure there are times when a mayor is salesman-in-chief and helps lure jobs to the city. But policies that help create jobs are much more important than those that simply move them around. Even then, the most important factor in local job creation is actually the federal government. Rahm might like to say we can't depend on Washington, but Washington - and far moreso, Wall Street - put us in the predicament we are in. That's not to say we shouldn't try, but to say that we shouldn't give Rahm too much credit - or too much blame - for local unemployment. We should, however, evaluate his priorities. How much time does he spend talking to neighborhood groups versus bankers? (Here's the answer.) Local economic development is more about communities than corporations and downtown.

*

"Asked whether the city will be checking on how jobs pledges pan out, [Rahm spokesman Tom] Alexander said: 'We follow up with companies on a regular basis. What we've found is that companies are meeting their commitments.'

"He said he did not know if the city's follow-up on results would be shared with the public."

Depends on the results!

*

Suggestion: If Rahm isn't willing to answer questions at his next jobs announcement, cover that story with skepticism. These announcements are purely a media strategy that depends upon the compliance of reporters - who don't work for the mayor.

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See also:
* Rahm's Unbearable Whiteness Of Being

* Rahm's Pants Still Aflame

* The Moneyball Mayor's Credibility Gap

* Emanuel's Charter Stats Don't Add Up

* Emanuel Errs On Charter Performance

* Rahm Caught Lying About Speed Cameras

* The Mayor, The Lobbyist And The 6-Year-Old Girl

* Liar's Poker: Rahm's Minor Concessions Leave Gaping Holes In Our Civil Liberties

* Rahm's Fake Transparency.

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Comments welcome.



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Posted on August 20, 2012


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