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Fri, 06 May 2011 15:54:16

Nine percent is the "official" unemployment rate, concocted to put a brave and reality-free face on a rapidly developing crises among jobless Americans. Two facts to keep in mind; the number of those unemployed for over a year are at a record high and at the present rate of adding two hundred thousand plus jobs a month, we won't return to post recession levels of employment until sometime around 2020. That's a mighty long time for the unemployed to wait for their ship to come in.

Is the economy stagnant? Absolutely. Most of the newly added jobs are low-paid and low-skilled positions. Professionals are taking major salary cuts and significant demotions in the business food chain to get any work at all. And it's only going to get worse for the long-tern unemployed. A year out of the game, they lose their network of business contacts, lose touch with new or upgraded software and come to job interviews wearing a scarlet "U" on their breasts. More and more companies are looking for new hires among the already employed.

The Republican House is doing everything it can to exacerbate the problem. President Obama had to extend the morally repugnant Bush tax cuts to get a measly extension of unemployment benefits. The Ryan Express is all about coddling the rich and shredding the safety net; so until we oust the compassionless reactionaries from Congress, it's going to be no-business- as- usual for the long term unemployed. And in the long term, quoth Lord K, we are all dead.

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