The Crisis Not Addressed

The employment crisis is THE crisis of our times. Bob Herbert on the unemployment crisis:

The evidence is stark. More than 44 percent of unemployed Americans have been out of work for six months or longer, the highest rate since World War II. Perhaps more chilling is a new analysis by the Pew Economic Policy Group that found that nearly a quarter of the nation’s 15 million unemployed workers have been jobless for a year or more.

[. . . T]he biggest threat to the health of the economy — corrosive, intractable, demoralizing unemployment — is still with us. And the deficit zealots, growing in strength, would do nothing to counter this scourge. [. . .] The crippling nature of the joblessness that has moved through the society like a devastating virus has gotten neither the attention nor the response that it warrants. [. . .] Whole segments of the U.S. population are being left behind, even as economists are touting modest improvements in some categories of economic data, like the creation of 162,000 jobs in March. Jobless workers who are 55 or older are having a brutal time of it. Thirty percent have been jobless for a year or more.

This truly is the most serious problem we face and official Washington seems not to care. It is the crisis of the Obama Administration and it is not at all clear they are facing up to it.

Speaking for me only

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    It's clear that they (and the Congress) are (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by tigercourse on Tue Apr 13, 2010 at 08:30:23 AM EST
    NOT facing up to it. A stimulus 15 months ago, a paltry sum a couple months ago and barely a mention in between or after. It seems that everyone just decided that they couldn't do anything about unemployment and that it would be best not to bring up the "unpleasantness".

    Couldn't or Wouldn't? (none / 0) (#3)
    by MO Blue on Tue Apr 13, 2010 at 08:34:16 AM EST
    Likely couldn't for some and wouldn't (none / 0) (#5)
    by tigercourse on Tue Apr 13, 2010 at 08:40:20 AM EST
    for others. It remains inexplicable that they didn't really make any effort to pretend that they cared.

    Doesn't Nancy Pelosi want to keep her job?


    I think that you can probably count (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by inclusiveheart on Tue Apr 13, 2010 at 11:30:47 AM EST
    Pelosi amongst the crowd that doesn't really understand economics all that well - and may not have particularly strong advisers.

    I think that you can attribute some portion of this to corruption etc., but I also think that there are a lot of people who are not innately skilled at understanding economic theory or reality and that have been brainwashed over the course of decades by the Greenspan/Summers/Rubin Free Market crowd.  Dorgan was one of the few people who really understood what was going on in 1999 when they passed that financial reform bill that helped bring this country to its knees just a few short years later.  But what really contributed to the success of that movement was that a lot of the politicos simply had no understanding of the system and therefore no respect for the laws that they were repealing and amending.  I don't think that that has changed much.  The financial institutions made sure that their lobbyists were in full force trying to make sure that the lessons they learned were not the "wrong" ones - "wrong" meaning lessons that might inspire them to really change the system to protect consumers and national interests at least as much as they protect these "venerated" financial institutions.


    You can't (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Tue Apr 13, 2010 at 11:53:51 AM EST
    cut her a pass because she "doesn't understand."  If she doesn't understand, she needs to hire those who do.  If she's incapable of hiring such people, she needs to step aside for someone who does...

    I wish Democrats would stop making excuses for these people.  What they are doing is inexcusable.


    Recognizing a real problem is (none / 0) (#23)
    by inclusiveheart on Tue Apr 13, 2010 at 12:50:05 PM EST
    NOT an excuse for anyone.

    And there is a very REAL problem here in DC which is that people still accept without question that a free market model is "better" than government solutions - while most of America has actually decided that the free market might not be such a great "plan".  It is a disease around here.  They are myopic.


    That's not true though (none / 0) (#29)
    by Socraticsilence on Tue Apr 13, 2010 at 04:41:17 PM EST
    "most people" haven't decided that, I'd say a plurality wrongly think that overtaxation and over-regulation are the problem.

    Purses lips and re-reads what she wrote. (none / 0) (#30)
    by inclusiveheart on Tue Apr 13, 2010 at 05:13:26 PM EST
    Seems like we are saying the same thing but using different terminology.

    The free marketers believe in low to no taxation and oppose regulation.  They would like to operate free of any government supervision and they want to take advantage of all of the benefis of a stable government and society without chipping in for keeping it that way.  How is what I said "wrong" in your view, then?


    Come November, many incumbents (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by MO Blue on Tue Apr 13, 2010 at 08:33:25 AM EST
    in Congress will also be losing their jobs because they failed to address this issue with the urgency it deserved.  

    Hopefully true... (none / 0) (#7)
    by kdog on Tue Apr 13, 2010 at 09:06:01 AM EST
    they will lose their jobs too...though not for long, getting ousted from office means a raise for congress critters, as they cash in their connections gained from their "service"...lol.

    The party in power is not (5.00 / 3) (#9)
    by Cream City on Tue Apr 13, 2010 at 10:00:31 AM EST
    figuring out what a figure such as that awful number of longterm unemployed means.

    Multiply it for all the families affected with them.

    Then figure out what that could mean in the next elections.

    Some of those unemployed for a year or more now are in my family, and I am not forgiving the party in power for not using its powers to do more.

    And where I live, in one of the hardest-hit cities, and in the work that I fortunately have -- albeit with a pay cut (furlough), hardly a day goes by that I do not talk with someone else also in a family suffering from this as well.

    Just yesterday, I talked with a student going deeper and deeper in debt, along with her family, as her father has been out of work for 16 months now.  He is a highly skilled electrician who had worked all his life, but the decline of construction work has been a death knell here -- for our family, too.  But the money worries for the student are not her main worry, as her father is so depressed and her mother so stressed from taking on another parttime job (so no benefits).

    The day before, it was a guy in his 30s, out of his work in manufacturing for almost a year now, a job he had for decades where most of his family worked, so most are out of work.  So they cannot help him, a single father, keep his kid's home.

    Every day, another story, another life affecting many lives -- and many voters.  We will not forget . . . and we are reminded of an uncaring White House and Congress every time that the extension bills are not done on time because they are just too busy.  And that screws up so much every time for weeks afterward, too -- more weeks of worry and stress for our families and millions of others who may just be too busy to vote for the fools when their jobs are on the line next.

    But I will fill out my ballot, you bet -- with write-ins, if need be.  Listening, Mr. Feingold?

    Where I live now is an industrial part of (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by jeffinalabama on Tue Apr 13, 2010 at 12:34:55 PM EST
    Alabama. A lot of plants here make Honda parts. Since production is down, many plants are only operating one shift.

    Also, the biggest fire hydrant maker in the USA is here, but only operating on one shift. Think about that when you think about infrastructure development.

    Even the chicken packing plants aren't expanding.

    I'd love to see some changes in Alabama's representation, but so many folks here blame the unemployed for being unemployed.


    How can we say the White House does not care about (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Buckeye on Tue Apr 13, 2010 at 10:00:59 AM EST
    the unemployed or stimulating the economy for jobs?  

    The financial services sector is 40% of our economy.  Have we not stimulated that?  People work on Wall Street don't they?  Have we not saved those jobs?  And their salaries?  And their bonuses?

    Get with the program people.  If everyone would just go work for the Big 3 in Detroit, the health care sector (especially insurance and pharma companies), Wall street, or the Federal government, we would be at full employment.

    And the thing is that we could fix (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by inclusiveheart on Tue Apr 13, 2010 at 11:20:36 AM EST
    the deficit problem if we went back to 90% tax rates on the rich.  That would at least fix one part of the problem.  The rest of us would still be struggling to get or keep jobs that don't pay enough, but we might have our pot holes filled.

    Get over it (none / 0) (#20)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Apr 13, 2010 at 11:44:41 AM EST
    It is fine if they bled us all dry getting there and we will stay dry keeping them there.

    So, you're saying no pot holes filled (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by inclusiveheart on Tue Apr 13, 2010 at 05:15:12 PM EST
    even?  lol

    But then... (none / 0) (#12)
    by kdog on Tue Apr 13, 2010 at 10:05:42 AM EST
    who is left actually earning an honest living to subsidize those well-connected sectors...:)

    You apparently (none / 0) (#13)
    by jbindc on Tue Apr 13, 2010 at 10:08:17 AM EST
    Need to spend some time in Detroit if you think the loans to the auto companies (which have been paid back, BTW-unlike the handouts to the financial sector) have made for full employment there.

    And all of the related industries (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Cream City on Tue Apr 13, 2010 at 10:32:27 AM EST
    reliant on the auto industry.  The auto industry hit and the construction industry hit are what has killed manufacturing of parts for those industries in my hard-hit city, too.

    And unless and until the White House and Congress get that, the country will not get what it needs.

    (I keep telling my kids to go to Chicago, as the president has taken care of his state and toddlin' town.  It is very interesting to see just where the heartbreak is happening in the heartland.)


    GM is $45.3 Billion (none / 0) (#26)
    by me only on Tue Apr 13, 2010 at 02:04:28 PM EST
    short on paying us back.

    Correction (none / 0) (#28)
    by jbindc on Tue Apr 13, 2010 at 04:17:22 PM EST
    GM will pay us back by June.


    (Sorry-can't properly link)

    So my point remains valid


    Your point does not stand (none / 0) (#32)
    by me only on Tue Apr 13, 2010 at 08:44:50 PM EST
    apparently you do not understand that GM is not worth $45.3 Billion.  Even if it were, the government only owns 60%.  So the only way GM can pay us back is if the stock offering comes in at $75.5 Billion.  GM market cap has never been that high, ever.

    We are not going to get all of our money back.


    Unemployed are on their own (5.00 / 0) (#14)
    by Yes2Truth on Tue Apr 13, 2010 at 10:31:20 AM EST

    Rich people (actual persons and corp. "persons") love
    high unemployment rates, but they'll allow a few
    bones to be thrown at THAT challenge, as long as the pipleline of illegals continues to flow at the maximum rate, thus keeping wages low.

    O has been in office for almost 17 months.  What makes anyone think he's going to suddenly change from being President Blackbush to something different?

    It has come to the point where (5.00 / 0) (#17)
    by MO Blue on Tue Apr 13, 2010 at 10:46:22 AM EST
    American citizens, because of necessity, have become part of day labor market.

    Read a little about (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Tue Apr 13, 2010 at 10:46:19 AM EST
    the "Chicago school" of economic thought and you'll see that this ignorance of the crisis is probably intentional.  Wages are too high, you know.

    At some point, people will see that some of the "mistakes" that Obama is making are by design.  He doesn't care so much about re-election as he does about making sure that post-presidential coffers are well-secured.  Helping out his corporate buddies is the means to this end....and boy does ignoring unemployment help them!

    The situationis clearly having an (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by Anne on Tue Apr 13, 2010 at 01:51:47 PM EST
    effect on wages, as people are just so relieved to have a job that they are willing to forego pay raises in order to keep them.

    My firm did not give raises for the July 1, 2009 - June 30, 2010 period, although we did all get a (small) bonus at the end of the year - we weren't sure that was going to happen, but we were pleased that it did.  

    Since we've had a report on the firms finances, I don't think a second year of no raises is going to fly, especially as we've seen the hiring of six or seven attorneys, a couple at the partner level.  

    It's not getting better.  Cities and states are laying off, continuing unpaid furlough days, ending some services, closing rec centers, raising fees and imposing new taxes that hurt the poor more than anyone else.  

    I think if I hear one more administration official proclaim that the economy is improving, I might have to throw something - these people need to walk a mile in the shoes of some of their constituents and then come talk to us about the improving economy.


    Those savvy businessmen are getting (none / 0) (#25)
    by MO Blue on Tue Apr 13, 2010 at 01:54:38 PM EST
    big bonuses and all is well with the economy. :-)

    Exactly. I recall ranting here (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by Cream City on Tue Apr 13, 2010 at 03:06:40 PM EST
    during the 2008 campaign about what I had learned from economist friends about the U of Chicago school of economics -- a school of thought that I knew I did not want and that this country ought not want.  But for most of the campaign, most of the emphasis was not on the economy, remember?  It was about the war, about Obama being antiwar (which he was not), and about how he was gonna close Guantanamo and etcetera.

    It was so frustrating to see so little discussion then about the economy!  I since have been able to figure out, based on the economic data that always comes far after the fact, why I was out of synch with so many folks elsewhere: I live in an area among the earliest to start taking the hit in this economic mess.


    I think it isn't being addressed (none / 0) (#4)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Apr 13, 2010 at 08:35:19 AM EST
    because part of the secret equation of juicing  certain entities in order to ease our way out of this also calls for unemployment to remain high during certain times of "healing".  The Fed chairman has already come out speaking against entitlements because in the equation that everyone in charge is using, scarcity is how they plan to leverage our way out of this while still maintaining the masters of the universe paradigm.  No thought to the human suffering factor though.  And economies are meant to serve the people, when someone attempts to turn the fact of the universe on its head they always hurt A LOT of people and suffer the consequences.  If the masters of the universe are going to remain masters of the universe though, they will be using our lives to leverage their way out of the hell they created...and still this will not work but hey, they don't give a damn what I think.

    They are looking for the field (none / 0) (#6)
    by Inspector Gadget on Tue Apr 13, 2010 at 08:52:21 AM EST
    where they will gather the millions of unemployed so they can prove to them they have the five loaves of bread and fish to feed them all. :)

    I think it's easier to lead desperate people, isn't it?


    The necessity to multiple the five (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by oculus on Tue Apr 13, 2010 at 10:04:01 AM EST
    loaves and fishes stemmed from a huge crowd mesmerized by a popular and charismatic leader, i.e., Jesus Christ.

    I fear... (none / 0) (#8)
    by kdog on Tue Apr 13, 2010 at 09:07:38 AM EST
    the only way for the unemployed and underemployed to get their joblessness addressed is to start stealing from the right people....then we'd see some job creation right quick.

    I suspected they didn't get it (none / 0) (#33)
    by masslib on Wed Apr 14, 2010 at 08:19:30 AM EST
    when they called the spending bill at "stimulus".  LOL, call it a jobs bill, you idiots.  And, then, Obama's big commitment to the stimulus bill was that 40% be in tax cuts.  Ah well...