Thursday, May 16, 2013

High unemployment makes no sense - from a distance!

Comment on

Economists: Emphasis on deficit impeding recovery

Even Krugman isn't admitting how big the problem really is, with huge numbers of unemployed young adults and mid to late career workers, cutbacks in help for the unemployed and an economy that's barely growing fast enough to keep up with population growth.  But he gets it that it makes no sense to us as a nation to allow this to continue.

Unemployment and jobs are a national emergency, and for five years even Obama for all his talk has failed to treat it as such. His original stimulus, at best, was 10% of what we needed, and now it's gone. (Perhaps it's hard to go after trillions for jobs when you've already given away trillions to the criminal bankers who paid for your campaigns?) 

As for the banks, after we'd paid many times their market value to rescue them, Obama should have seized them and run them as a public utility to stop the plunder. (Whoops! He did take over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and now they're the worst of the worst!) 

Whatever, the answer clearly won't come from the top. It will have to come from millions of angry people getting organized and pushing back, demanding that our government do what it takes to prioritize our needs above those of the super rich and the great corporations. 

We need serious spending on jobs. Major spending. There is plenty to be done in a country whose infrastructure is crumbling. There are plenty of resourses, plenty of people who need the work, even plenty of money (only we don't have it.) It makes no logical sense to say we can't, except from inside the twisted logic of the "dog in the manger". (That however is the logic that is served up to us daily in our media and talk shows, made to look like common sense by highly-paid flacks who make those who disagree with them look like freaks.)

We can borrow the money to put people back to work, in which case the bankers create it by entering some numbers in a computer and charge us interest on it.  (On the bright side, interest rates have never been lower.)  Or the Treasury can print the money and spend it into circulation, interest free.  Or we can cut the hugely wasteful spending on wars and foreign bases and spend it here; or we can tax the speculators, the super-rich and the mega-banks and big corporations, and spend the money to put people to work on the jobs that need doing.  Or some combination of the above

Your choice. 

But please don't choose "none of the above", because we've already tried that, and it's not working! 

Lazy workers living off the state?

MC1 wrote: 

"If you have low work skills, why would you work at all? It's all handed to you. You have to be responsible enough to want to be educated and make yourself marketable in this life. " 

This is the common story about people with low work skills, widely believed by those who've never been there or seen it up close, so I don't blame you for repeating it. But it is not only untrue, but cruelly untrue. 

The wrongness of this belief can be seen in the fact that even as the education level of the population keeps growing the median income and percent of the working age population with jobs failed to grow for several decades and now is falling. 

When Saint Gobain can get away with advertising for experienced machine setter-operators able to read blueprints and precision instruments for $10 an hour, we're in trouble. That's a $20 job at least, requiring a high level of attention, skill and reliability, plenty of sleep and a good diet. (Been there, done that.) So if it goes begging, they'll complain of a shortage of qualified workers. If people take it, they'll have to take a second job, come in when they're sick - and maybe apply for food stamps if they're supporting a family. And then St. Gobain will complain of a low quality of worker. 

So we cut off food stamps and school breakfasts, cut off Section 8 vouchers, cut off aid for dependent children and force more people to take jobs they can't afford, force them to take these desperately underpaid jobs. Then we have more children growing up with no adults at home and no food in the house, unable to pay attention in school because they're hungry ... and not equipped to take even that machine setter job, not even having the work skills to hold any job, really. 

Where does that then leave the American Dream? How does it become their dream? 

Who do we blame for Obama?

My comment in the Telegram to:

Woes Create questions about Obama's visionSECOND-TERM GOALS MIRED IN CONFLICT 

Praetorian wrote:

"The real people to blame here are the people that voted for him..."

Seriously, what choice were we given?  Mr. "I Don't Care about the 47%," that clueless voice of the exclusive country clubs?

I detest Barack for not holding the bankers accountable for ditching the economy and his ongoing giveaways of trillions to the banks; for his outrageous health care swindle; his failure to acknowledge the massive unemployment problem or push an adequate response; and now his blatant tilt toward private and for-profit charter schools, a betrayal of the many teachers who worked for his election.  

I detest his use of Al Qaida terrorists to destroy Libya and now Syria - the context for Benghazi - and his use of drones to wage wars of terror from the skies; for his many assaults on our constitutional rights, including failure to shut down Guantanamo and claiming and exercising the right to detain indefinitely or even kill Americans anywhere without a trial or public hearing; and his unprecedented war on whistle-blowers - which fits with the AP phone-logs incident!

Most of all I detest his using the language of the left, talking like a cross between King and the Second Coming with a necessary touch of Clint, even as he pursues these awful policies, covered up by a mastery of throwing the game and making it look like the other side's foul.

But seriously, why blame each other? What choice did we really have?

In the 2008 elections the two candidates who clearly, overwhelmingly expressed the views of the people on the deepest issues, left and right, were Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul. Now *that* would have been a race! But despite well-organized campaigns and enthusiastic supporters, their voices were silenced.  The media delivered the verdict of the big donors: they're spoilers, they're kooks, they have no chance. Unworthy of air time.

And so we never got that choice. 

Change, when it comes, will have to come from outside the system.