Week in Review

The jobless rate remained stuck at 9.6 percent in September, the Labor Department reported Friday.  Unemployment now has topped 9.5 percent for 14 straight months, the longest stretch since the 1930s. The reality is even worse.  Nearly 27 million Americans, 17 percent of the workforce, are either unemployed or working part time when they need full-time jobs. To put Americans back to work, Sen. Bernie Sanders has pressed for a total overhaul of trade policies to discourage companies from taking jobs to low-wage countries overseas. A growing number of Americans agree. More than half now think so-called free-trade agreements have hurt the United States, according to a survey published on Monday.

Outsourcing Jobs  In a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, 53 percent said free-trade agreements have hurt the U.S. "We've got to tell corporate America that if they want us to buy the products they produce, they've got to start manufacturing those products here in the United States," Sanders told a Capitol Hill press conference last week. During the eight years of the Bush administration we lost over 600,000 private sector jobs and medium family income declined by $2,200. Before leaving Washington for the campaign trail, Senate Republicans blocked a modest proposal to stem the flow of jobs overseas. Bernie wants a total turnaround in U.S. trade policies that unfairly tip the scales against American workers in favor of other countries and multinational corporations.

Corporations Hoarding Cash Sitting on unprecedented levels of cash, U.S. companies are buying back stock to drive up their share prices, not hiring workers or building factories. "These people are not really American corporations. They could care less about the United States of America. You remember a few years ago, Halliburton moved to Dubai. These guys would move to China tomorrow if they could make a nickel more in profits," Sen. Sanders told Ed Schultz on MSNBC. To watch Thursday's interview, click here.

Small Business and Jobs "We are in the midst of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. While Vermont is faring somewhat better than other states, there is no question that many of our people and businesses are hurting badly," Sanders said. "One of the significant impediments to job creation has been the lack of affordable capital available to small- and medium-sized businesses," he said. Thanks to the Small Business Jobs Act, the U.S. Small Business Administration on Thursday awarded $1.5 million in loans to five Vermont firms that had applied for small business loans.  The loans are projected to create 25 jobs. Click Here For a Bernie Buzz Original Article on The Programs' Vermont Impact

Social Security Sanders told a Senate hearing on Thursday that that a White House commission on deficits should reject proposals to raise the Social Security retirement age. "The federal deficit is a significant problem that Congress must address, but Social Security should not be a part of that debate because it has not contributed a dime to the deficits," Sanders said at a hearing held by the Senate pensions committee. To watch the senator's opening statement at the pensions committee hearing, click here.

Help the Hungry According to new Census Bureau estimates, many Vermont families are sliding backward financially. Sanders authored a letter asking Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack to reconsider his department's plan cut to nutrition assistance. USDA on Monday announced a three-month postponement of a pending reduction in food-stamp benefits.  The decision was good news for about 16,000 Vermont families.