DRAFTED INTO THE ARMY OF THE UNEMPLOYED
Sat, 08 Jan 2011 21:41:22
On the front page of a recent USA Today is a ten-year chart displaying the percentage of unemployed Americans who have been jobless 27 or more weeks in the month of December.
The figures stand in stark contrast to the "Recovery Chorus" of pundits and financial gurus who would be blind by now for all the light they see at the end of the tunnel, were if not for the rose colored glasses surgically attached to their complacent faces.
The figures are disturbing. From a low of 11% in 2001, the figure moves inexorably up to 42% by 2010. Take that in. By the end of last year, half the unemployed have been out of a job for at least six months. Doesn't should like a recovery to me, more like a structural disaster.
And this is bad news that feeds on itself. Everyday you're out of work lessens your chances of finding another job. You lose skills, you lose touch with the latest tools, you lose your networks and you lose credibility with companies who would rather hire people who already have a job than someone carrying the stigma of being canned.
2011 is going to see more and more of our capable, hard working brothers and sisters drafted into the Army Of The Unemployed. Unlike the army that's wasting two billion bucks a week in Afghanistan, the Army Of The Unemployed gets little or nothing from the government, and when it does, it takes bribing the super rich and their pimps in Congress to eke out a few extra weeks of relief.
The prospects for a political solution are grim. Not only have we elected a House controlled by heartless prigs and ignorant yahoos, we are creating a class of permanently unemployed, who, like the poor are less likely to vote. The more time you spend scraping out an existence, the less time you have for politics.
So, what's it going to take to turn around this second Great Depression in our country's history? Popular wisdom credits the New Deal with pulling us out of the Big One in the 30's; but it took World War II to do that. Believe it or not, there's more pump priming in the Stimulus Bill that Barack and Joe dreamed up than in all the New Deal programs put together; but it will be two to three years before we really feel the effects. In the meantime, the super rich are going to get super richer, the middle class will continue to fade and the underclass will become an even more permanent sector of our beleaguered economy.
And there's no World War II to pull us out of this one. On the contrary, it's the feckless War On Terror that has sucked away all our treasure that didn't evaporate with the criminally engineered real estate credit bubble.
The only way we're going to get out of this Great Depression is from the grassroots up.