Editorial: The first priority: helping America’s unemployed

Published 2:09 pm Thursday, February 4, 2010

Thursday, Feb. 4, 2010

After attempting to redesign our national health care system, after taking steps to re-imagine our educational standards, the Obama administration has set their sights on what probably should have been the first priority some time ago: America’s unemployed.

Using the State of the Union as his platform, Obama announced a need to refocus on getting hardworking Americans back to work, announcing a $33 billion tax break package in an effort to give businesses an incentive in hiring new employees. A $5,000 tax credit could be gained by businesses through the package for every worker hired in 2010.

Like health care and education the latest undertaking by the administration will not be an easy one. It will also not be a solitary one. To get those who have been suffering through unemployment – some of them since the recession began – a combined effort will be needed at the local level. Many businesses continue to struggle to keep their doors open at all. These businesses who defy the odds to continue to provide services in their respected industry and are striving to keep themselves running with the hope of hiring in the near future, need the support of local banking institutions, local government and business advocacy groups.

Entrepreneurship has also been championed by this administration. Indeed, it would be difficult to imagine how many of our technological gadgets, convenient and commonly used services and even integral parts of our every day functions would ever be possible without the first idea, that entrepreneurial spirit. But entrepreneurs, like the individual as John Donne might say, are no island unto themselves. Rather they need the support of their communities and the support of others to take a chance on them, to have a little belief in their future.

Local financial institutions have a unique opportunity to gain a personal relationship with their borrowers, to understand the struggles they face trying to stay open during tough economic times and have a hand in the overall success of that small business or company.
It is the hope that the entities needed to make our small businesses successful will come together with the goal of success – and not a succumbing to failure – in mind.

These actions combined with tax incentives and a spirit to forge ahead can only help in getting America and its communities, like the one we live in, back to the headstrong work force that it has been known for, that build its bridges, laid its railroads, cultivated its coal mines, flew its airplanes, revved its engines and built a nation.