From an analysis of thousands of lobbyist disclosure reports, the Sacramento Bee has developed a database that tracks gifts to state lawmakers between January 2008 and June 2009. During those 18 months, lobbyists gave legislators, their staffs, and relatives about $610,000 in gifts, including concert tickets, 424 meals at the upscale Sacramento restaurant Spataro (average cost: $57 a meal), kegs of beer, and free travel to destinations from Hawaii to Hungary. (While legislators may not accept more than $420 in gifts annually from a single organization, there is no restriction on gifts to lawmakers’ friends and families.)
Over the past several decades, international trade and increased foreign competition has led to widespread job losses in American manufacturing. The general perception is that these losses have primarily affected jobs and industries that are traditionally male, such as auto manufacturing. Researchers from Dēmos, however, point out that women workers in the US have been significantly impacted by trade-related job losses. Female-intensive industries, such as textiles and apparel, have faced the highest levels of import competition over the past decade and, as a result, have had high levels of job displacement. The situation is compounded by the finding that many manufacturing jobs pay much better than other jobs available to non-college-educated women workers, so laid-off women are likely to find their earning power lowered, perhaps permanently.
Given these conditions, the authors argue for a governmental policy that emphasizes training, professionalizing the jobs that are likely to stay within the country, and a commitment to supporting families during periods of job transition.