Amid loaded concrete masonry unit curing racks at the Bladensburg, Md., operation of NCMA member Ernest Maier, President Barack Obama reflected on the October 8 release of prior-month employment figures, underscoring September’s 64,000-job private sector gain offset by higher public-sector payroll losses
Sources: Office of White House Press Secretary; National Concrete Masonry Association, Herndon, Va.; (October 8 Photo: White House Press Office)
By Don Marsh
Amid loaded concrete masonry unit curing racks at the Bladensburg, Md., operation of NCMA member Ernest Maier, President Barack Obama reflected on the October 8 release of prior-month employment figures, underscoring a 64,000-job private-sector gain offset by higher public-sector payroll losses. He offered a few partisan jabs concerning his administration’s employment policy differences with Republicans, but affirmed, Putting the American people back to work, expanding opportunity, [and] rebuilding the economic security of the middle class is the moral and national challenge of our time.
In a nod to his host, President Obama discussed the recently signed Small Business Jobs Act, which in its first 11 days saw more than 2,000 business owners secure $1 billion-plus worth of new loans, with the Small Business Administration now moving to provide larger loans to qualifying companies. The Act expands the tax cut for all equipment investment small businesses make this year, a provision that Ernest Maier CEO Brendan Quinn is planning to take advantage of here, the president observed. We were just talking about his belief that the more we can accelerate depreciation, the more likely weÌre going to see businesses like his make these investments. Beyond helping small business owners upgrade plants and equipment, he added, the Act a) will encourage large corporations to get off the sidelines and start putting their profits back into the economy and accelerate $55 billion in tax cuts for businesses that make job-creating investments over the next year; and, b) creates a new initiative to strengthen state programs that spur private-sector lending to small businesses-Òa step that will support $15 billion in new small business loans across the country.
President Obama kicked off the televised address recognizing Ernest Maier’s provision of health care for employees and their families, ability to sustain business during the recession without layoffs, and commitment to environment through such measures as use of waste cooking oil-derived fuel. Reflecting on a brief plant tour and meeting with staff, he quipped, These are the guys that build serious stuff Ò- concrete blocks, bricks for walls that are thick, difficult to move, and can stop anything in their path — sort of like the way I feel about Congress sometimes÷ Small businesses like this one are the bricks and blocks of our entire economy.
“Our industry and our facility provides the perfect backdrop for the president to address [the jobs] issue,” concurs Brendan Quinn. “Ernest Maier is a great example of a small, locally owned, family business that has a lot to contribute to the economy given the opportunity.”