Krugman Remains Shrill

The Forgotten Millions“:

More than three years after we entered the worst economic slump since the 1930s, a strange and disturbing thing has happened to our political discourse: Washington has lost interest in the unemployed.
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Jobs do get mentioned now and then — and a few political figures, notably Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader in the House, are still trying to get some kind of action. But no jobs bills have been introduced in Congress, no job-creation plans have been advanced by the White House and all the policy focus seems to be on spending cuts.
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So one-sixth of America’s workers — all those who can’t find any job or are stuck with part-time work when they want a full-time job — have, in effect, been abandoned.
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It might not be so bad if the jobless could expect to find new employment fairly soon. But unemployment has become a trap, one that’s very difficult to escape. There are almost five times as many unemployed workers as there are job openings; the average unemployed worker has been jobless for 37 weeks, a post-World War II record.
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In short, we’re well on the way to creating a permanent underclass of the jobless. Why doesn’t Washington care?…

I’ll take “Because those guys have jobs, at least for the next 18 months, and they can’t think any further ahead” for $1,000, Alex! Of course, since Krugman herewith specifically mentions “young workers” as liable to suffer longest as the result of the current Economic Unpleasantness, perhaps we should be grateful that new opportunities for the sufficiently fit and desperate are opening up in Libya even as we read…






100 replies
  1. 1
    Greg says:

    I’m one of the forgotten. 400 job apps, one interview.

  2. 2
    Superluminar says:

    perhaps we should be grateful that new opportunities for the sufficiently fit and desperate are opening up in Libya even as we read…

    yes, they’re about not to be massacred thanks to international intervention. But that’s probably not what you meant.

  3. 3
    JGabriel says:

    Paul Krugman via Anne Laurie @ Top:

    More than three years after we entered the worst economic slump since the 1930s, a strange and disturbing thing has happened to our political discourse: Washington has lost interest in the unemployed.

    Looks like Republicans have lost interest in Small Business too:

    In April, House Republicans plan to lay out the broad outlines of their budget to fund the federal government for 2012, but this week the chairman of the House Small Business Committee revealed his spending priorities for the Small Business Administration. And while President Obama proposed to save $28 million in his budget by cutting or eliminating a handful of programs, Sam Graves, the committee’s chairman, declared the gesture did not go far enough. He recommended cutting an additional $100 million.

    We all knew that the Republicans were going to screw the unemployed. That’s what they do; they afflict the afflicted. But tell me again how the GOP is supposedly so good for small business.

    .

  4. 4
    John Emerson says:

    There has always been a conservative streak in the Democratic Party, and not only in the South. Between 1890 and 1968 there were always various sorts of movements keeping it honest (populists, progressives, radicals, militant unions, third parties, and the civil rights movement) but since 1984 The Democrats have been ignoring and rejecting the left, which is also greatly weakened.

    Grover Cleveland was as anti-labor and as much as slave of finance as William McKinley, and we’ve always had Cleveland Democrats, and for 25+ years now they’ve controlled the party.

  5. 5
    cleek says:

    But no jobs bills have been introduced in Congress

    i’m sure Krugman has his own special definition of the word, but a search of thomas.gov for bills with the word “jobs” gives 79 results. yes, many are repeat iterations of “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act”, but many are not.

    for one example:
    H.R.72 — New Jobs for America Act of 2011

    Use of Funds- A recipient of a grant under this Act shall use the grant for the following purposes:

    (1) To seek out unemployed individuals struggling financially whose prior training consisted of skills necessary for a faltering or dying industry.

    (2) To create compensated training programs that offer training in emerging markets and industries (such as green technologies).

    (3) To partner with historically Black colleges and universities and Hispanic serving colleges and universities along with local community college systems to create innovative retraining programs for minorities focused on retooling workers for jobs in the growth sectors of healthcare, biotech, and information technology.

    (4) To partner with cities and non-profit organizations to provide apprenticeships and internships.

    (5) To provide compensation to participants in training programs to temporarily aide in their financial distress.

    (6) To provide access to public healthcare programs for participants.

    (7) To create training programs for ex-offenders in an effort to reduce recidivism.

    (8) To aide newly trained participants in securing employment within the field of their newly acquired expertise.

    etc…

    or maybe he’s only talking about bills that have come to the floor for a vote.

  6. 6
    stuckinred says:

    Mornin Joe and Pat are screaming for REGULATION of nukes!

  7. 7
    JGabriel says:

    @stuckinred:

    Mornin Joe and Pat are screaming for REGULATION of nukes!

    Commies.

    .

  8. 8
    debbie says:

    @ Greg:

    I too am among the forgotten. A few less applications, and a couple more interviews, but still the same results. And yet, this keeps running through my mind whenever I look at my checkbook: “We will focus like a laser on jobs for the American people.”

  9. 9

    And I have found what I believe will be the Republican ‘answer’ to the fiscal problem caused by the shrinking gov’t revenues caused by all the unemployment.

    http://thetimchannel.wordpress.....new-enemy/

    Enjoy.

  10. 10
    John Dillinger says:

    It’s not just that they have jobs for 18 months, it is that they are set for life in the lobbying business once they, willingly or unwillingly, end their time on the Hill.

  11. 11
    lacp says:

    @debbie: Well, that makes sense if one remembers that a laser is often used as a cutting tool.

  12. 12
    superdestroyer says:

    But what would Krugman have the federal government do that would increase employment in the private sector.

    Would going single payer health care create more jobs in the private sector? Would adopting cap-and-trade create more private sector jobs? Would increasing employment regulations increase private sector jobs? Would increasing transportation, construction, and energy regulations increase private sector employment? Is giving the public sector unions whatever they want going to increase private sector employment?

    What Krugman refuses to admit is that is little reason for any private sector employer to plan on expanding in the U.S. but there are many reasons for private sector to plan on downsizing and off-shoring.

  13. 13

    @Greg: @debbie:

    Bless you both.

    Been there, done that. May very well wind up there again. Some family members are well on their way towards being permanently unemployed.

    Good luck to you both!
    [And to my daughter. And to . . . . ]

  14. 14
    debbie says:

    @ lacp:

    Yes, my fault for not catching the subtlety of the Republican definition of a laser, especially when I am also reminded of Boehner’s response to potential job losses in the government: “So be it.”

    I have only myself to blame!

  15. 15
    PurpleGirl says:

    @superdestroyer: Raising corporate taxes would give the incentive to create jobs as salaries are deductible. Find a way to charge companies that create jobs overseas but not domestically. Stop lowering taxes... that isn’t doing anything but giving the financial elites money they aren’t even spending.

  16. 16
    liberal says:

    @superdestroyer:

    Would going single payer health care create more jobs in the private sector? Would adopting cap-and-trade create more private sector jobs?

    Yawn. Another right-wing fool who knows nothing about macroeconomics. The issues of health insurance reform (not to mention health care reform) and mitigation of anthropogenic global warming are long-term structural issues. The issue of jobs right now is a short-term acute lack of demand.

    Would increasing transportation, construction, and energy regulations increase private sector employment?

    Certainly it can be said that if we’d increased financial regulation prior to the Bush-year housing land bubble, we’d have had no bubble and no collapse.

    Is giving the public sector unions whatever they want going to increase private sector employment?

    LOL. Where is anyone giving public sector unions everything they want?

  17. 17
    Fuck U6: A More Accurate Measure of the Total Amount of Duck-Fuckery in the Economy says:

    Well, Krugman is a personal hero to me even though I think he’s wrong and he should be ignored.

  18. 18
    Wilson Heath says:

    @superdestroyer:

    The government could pay people to dig holes and fill them back up. It would create private sector jobs because there would be increased demand. Seriously. Better to have them repair and rebuild infrastructure, but make-work jobs will do.

    Our whole frakking problem is a fall in aggregate demand.

  19. 19
    Napoleon says:

    @superdestroyer:

    Hey, look a moron showed up spouting crap.

  20. 20
    Fuck U6: A More Accurate Measure of the Total Amount of Duck-Fuckery in the Economy says:

    And as Chuck Butcher resently pointed out, all the $ sent to the MIC represents $ lost to further economic growth. Solar panels or train lines foster further econ development, a bomb just done kills people.

    Or so I learned in Macro 101.

  21. 21
    gene108 says:

    @JGabriel:

    But tell me again how the GOP is supposedly so good for small business.

    They are willing to look the other way on a lot of rules, small business owners just don’t have the resources to keep up with exactly. They are all about tax cuts.

    Other than that I can’t think of much of a reason.

    A good economy is better for small business owners. The economy seems to do better with Democrats in charge.

  22. 22
    superdestroyer says:

    @PurpleGirl:

    How is raising taxes and lowering the return on investment going to create the conditions for more domestic jobs. Also, do you really think that the U.S. can create regulations that will encourage more domestic job creation. How would such regulations work. Do you really believe that the U.S. can force Toyota to employ more people in the U.S.?

  23. 23
    superdestroyer says:

    @Napoleon:

    I guess insults and snark is what passes for economic discussion to progressives these days. Why would anyone want to invest in a country that passes its economic policy on the class hatred and snark of progressives?

  24. 24
    JPL says:

    @stuckinred: If memory serves me, Joe was actually in Congress. How many bills did he co-sponsor calling for regulations of any kind?

  25. 25
    superdestroyer says:

    @liberal:

    You cannot really separate the long term and the short term. All private sector business expansions needs to be based on the long term. If business look at sector such as manufacturing, health care, or transportation and see to way to achieve a sufficient rate of return on investment, they will not invest.

    Paying people to dig holes or fill pot holes does nothing to improve long term investment. What would anyone want to invest in a country where the public sector unions get everything they want (See Wisconsin) and the private sector faces massive tax increases and 10,000 pages of new compliance regulations.

  26. 26
    DFer says:

    @Wilson Heath:

    The government could pay people to dig holes and fill them back up

    I first realized people didn’t care about jobs when an unemployed friend of mine complained that the stimulus money was going to “tearing up highways that don’t need it” when it could have gone to “tax cuts to spur growth”

    and all my other friends, most of whom were liberal, agreed.

    I don’t know why liberals are so allergic to the idea that the public is the problem. They’re misinformed and they’re not going to let some wild-eye liberal tell them they’re wrong. They’re not just gonna “get it”

    I don’t know what the answer is. I haven’t figured it out yet, but I know what the problem is…misinformation in the masses. That’s not something a politician can solve.

  27. 27
    numbskull says:

    @superdestroyer: “But what would Krugman have the federal government do that would increase employment in the private sector.”

    Possibly Krugman means something more direct? :)

  28. 28
    Nick says:

    @superdestroyer:

    What would anyone want to invest in a country where the public sector unions get everything they want

    How are public sector unions getting everything they want? They agreed to deep cuts in the budget. They just didn’t agree to being eliminated.

  29. 29
    WereBear says:

    @gene108: The economy seems to do better with Democrats in charge.

    Scientifically supported.

    Does the party in power matter for economic performance? (PDF)

    It’s an established fact. That’s why it takes the entire Fox Network screaming at the top of their lungs to obscure it.

  30. 30
    WallyWorldWarrior says:

    Add me to the list of underemployed. I swallowed my pride after four years of unemployment, and took the only job offer on the table, a job at Wal-mart as a cashier. Mostly because I also like swallowing food.

    $8.25 per hour, aching feet, desperate customers, (about 2/3 of my customers are on food-stamps) crappy management, and this rah rah- “Wal-mart culture.

    Yesterday, I picked up my first paycheck, what is sad for not quite full-time but impossible to find another job hours(34 to be exact), I found myself staring at the net pay for a moment fighting back tears. Two weeks of work totaled exactly what I made in four days when I ran my own business four years ago.

    People in this small town tell me I made my choices, to do work I loved(working as a behavioral therapy assistant to autistic children), shutting down my business to move home to take care of the elderly and dying relatives in my family, and it is true, and I felt called in my career, and compelled in my family life to make those choices. I could have started out as a teller at a some major bank, and worked my way up through the ranks as all my high school peers in this small town seemed to do. Instead, I got the hell out of Dodge, and now am paying the price upon my return In this small insular community, where it truly is who you know to get a job, and “be happy we hired you, (Northern Minnesota never recovered from the Rust Belt recession of the 1970s) at $8.25 an hour, you will have to be like the rest of us and just find another job.” is what I am told every day by family and members of this community. But hey, as they say up here, at least we have this beautiful wild outdoors to be in. Of course, my reply to that is, too bad 2/3 of the population can’t enjoy it because they have to work three jobs to keep from freezing to death and the food on the table.

    For the last six months, I wake up every morning and say “shit, I woke up again.” I put on my game face, because now, I have to be all smiles and sunshine ringing up people at register. And it’s tough, to pretend like I care, to make small talk to people who say to me, “Wow, you seem so intelligent, what are you doing here, you don’t fit the Wal-Mart cashier model.” No, I don’t, and kills me, because who knows when my manager is standing close by to overhear me, and I smile and I answer back, “the opportunity to grow here is incredible, and I love my job.”

    I am sorry for the ramble. I have to go in to work today with aching feet, and my monthly hormonal shift, and think how I am going to make my paycheck last long enough for two more weeks. Well, 13 more days now.

    Seriously, every day I wake up to go to this job, I feel a piece of my soul ripping off and dying. Plus, my feet still ache from last night’s shift, never a good time.

    Well, I am off to go check out people buying cheap plastic goods from China. I don’t normally comment here, thank you for letting me vent. What’ s the saying-“Long time reader, first time commentator?”

  31. 31
    Nick says:

    @superdestroyer: They won’t invest, but if we need to screw working people in order to get them to do so,then there’s something very wrong with the system and it needs to be changed.

    We can’t turn America into a third world country to “encourage investment.” You’re suggesting we do. If that’s the case, then capitalism isn’t working and needs to be replaced with something else.

  32. 32
    numbskull says:

    @superdestroyer: ” All private sector business expansions needs to be based on the long term.”

    Pull the other one!

    Man, I’m still wiping the tears of laughter away. Long term planning from OUR private sector? Man, that is just comedy gold.

  33. 33
    DFer says:

    @Nick: You have to realize that Republicans and conservatives believe one third of the country is going to be poor no matter what. They’d rather see them poor and working than poor and unemployed.

    They believe that everyone has the opportunity to get out of that underclass (which they don’t), but that it will always exist regardless and trying to get rid of it will only create more problems.

  34. 34
    Comrade Javamanphil says:

    @superdestroyer:

    Why would anyone want to invest in a country that passes its economic policy on the class hatred and snark of progressives?

    Quite. If only there were some objective and market driven method for us to measure how willing people were to invest in this country. Now, please load the next peasant in the skeet shooter.

  35. 35
    The Raven says:

    Next time any of you hominids hear someone explaining that government fiscal austerity will bring back prosperity, ask the speaker how well it worked for Hoover in 1930, or FDR in 1937.

  36. 36
    ornery curmudgeon says:

    Why are people feeding the troll? LOL

  37. 37
    New Yorker says:

    @Wilson Heath:

    The government could pay people to dig holes and fill them back up.

    I think I recall reading somewhere that a time of economic malaise, one of the Inca emperors hired thousands of laborers to tear down a mountain and move it to the other side of a valley for no particular reason except to give people jobs. That’s leadership.

  38. 38
    Matt says:

    I’ll take “Because those guys have jobs, at least for the next 18 months, and they can’t think any further ahead” for $1,000, Alex!

    Bzzzzt, wrong. The correct answer was, “because these guys have decided that the more America falls apart the better they’ll do in 2012, so they’re doing everything possible to SABOTAGE the recovery and send us back into recession.” Mere incompetence can’t even BEGIN to explain the behavior of these Congressional traitors and their state-level co-conspirators.

  39. 39
    nancydarling says:

    @Wilson Heath: I learned to swim in pools that were depression era projects. My local post office has a beautiful wood carving in the entry done by a local depression era artist. I stayed in a little stone cabin at the bottom of Grand Canyon built during the depression. The righties like to think that Roosevelt did not get us out of the depression and that WWII did. What was WWII other than a huge deficit spending stimulus package? I’m not suggesting a war. I am suggesting a lack of political will to do what is needed to create economic demand through public spending. Besides massive military spending doesn’t seem to have much benefit to the economy these days.

  40. 40
    New Yorker says:

    @superdestroyer:

    What would anyone want to invest in a country where the public sector unions get everything they want (See Wisconsin) and the private sector faces massive tax increases and 10,000 pages of new compliance regulations.

    Let us know when you return to planet earth, and we can discuss these things in a sane manner. Or maybe you could explain to me why Somalia, with its lack of pulbic sector unions, taxes, regulations, or any government at all, isn’t a paradise of investment and economic growth…

  41. 41
    DFer says:

    @ornery curmudgeon:

    Why are people feeding the troll? LOL

    Because the troll is saying things millions of people who vote believe.

  42. 42
    DBrown says:

    WallyWorldWarrior,
    very sorry for what you are having to put up with because you made the best decisions you could at the time – life sucks but times will change (maybe for the better.)
    Good luck.

    Trolls, some do good by forcing us think about our ideas to defend them, others are just stupid asswipes – looks like we got one of the asswipes in this thread.

  43. 43
    the idler says:

    @superdestroyer: “By the early sixties, the US had begun placing stiff import tariffs on certain vehicles. The Chicken tax of 1964 placed a 25% tax on imported light trucks. In response to the tariff, Toyota, Nissan Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co. began building plants in the US by the early eighties”

  44. 44
    liberal says:

    @superdestroyer:

    You cannot really separate the long term and the short term.

    Of course you can. Business do it all the time, I’m sure.

    All private sector business expansions needs to be based on the long term.

    So? The problem we’re facing right now is short-term.

    If business look at sector such as manufacturing, health care, or transportation and see to way to achieve a sufficient rate of return on investment, they will not invest.

    I assume you mean “they will invest.”

    Paying people to dig holes or fill pot holes does nothing to improve long term investment.

    Of course it does. For example, infrastructure like sewage lines in the US is rapidly aging. If you think that that stuff can be replaced with no investment, you’re crazy.

    What would anyone want to invest in a country where the public sector unions get everything they want (See Wisconsin) and the private sector faces massive tax increases and 10,000 pages of new compliance regulations.

    LOL. Even if we assume public sector unions are a bunch of greedy rent-seekers—though I doubt you’re educated or intelligent enough to know what “rent seeking” is—it’s a drop in the bucket compared to the rent seeking in medicine, health insurance, finance, and land.

  45. 45
    Napoleon says:

    @nancydarling:

    My hometown host the largest county fair in Ohio and to this day its grandstand is the one the WPA built.

    http://farm4.static.flickr.com.....c3fd22.jpg

  46. 46
    jnfr says:

    @WallyWorldWarrior:

    Thanks for checking in and speaking out. And hang in there today.

  47. 47
    lou says:

    Not only that, but they believe the unemployed probably are lazy, undeserving types:
    Missouri may reject extending unemployment benefits

    Even though Mizzou wouldn’t have to spend a dime, this legislator wants his state to reject the federal dollars. Get off your lazy asses, you unemployed people. Why aren’t you working? /sarcasm

  48. 48
    liberal says:

    @superdestroyer:

    How is raising taxes and lowering the return on investment going to create the conditions for more domestic jobs.

    Boy, you really like to throw softballs, don’t you? You can raise taxes on economic rents to 100% and destroy no jobs and create no disincentives to new investment.

    The bonuses on Wall St are all rents. In fact, taxing them at extremely high levels would actually increase efficiency, because not only are those bonuses rents, they lead to destructive practices in the banking sector. (Which is large a rent-sucking parasitic enterprise anyway.)

  49. 49
    vanya says:

    We used to worry that the unemployed would organize politically and threaten established interests. Today however, as long as the unemployed have access to TV and the internet they’ll stay distracted and calm.

    I’m only half kidding.

  50. 50
    Paul in KY says:

    @Fuck U6: A More Accurate Measure of the Total Amount of Duck-Fuckery in the Economy: Exactly! Military hardware just sits there until it is used. It is not bought & sold several times, like most civilian products (say a car) are.

  51. 51
    The Raven says:

    As to why the Administration seems to have thrown this fight, I wrote four months ago, “[Obama] does not seem capable of recognizing a policy failure, imagining a policy success, or understanding why policy success might lead to political success.”

    Obama, apparently, does not care about or understand policy, nor grasp its effects on the public. Like Reagan, who he looks up to, he appears to be acting the part of chief executive, rather than doing the work.

  52. 52
    Paul in KY says:

    @superdestroyer: How were we able to even function as a nation back in the terrible 60s & 70s when the income tax rates were so terrible?! I mean, by your logic, there could never have been any economic growth or even jobs when our best & brightest & richest were being fleeced by the CommoSocialists in power back then.

    I can’t wrap my head around that conundrum. Please illuminate oh Galtian uberman!

  53. 53
    kdaug says:

    @WallyWorldWarrior: Push through. Things are in flux. It won’t be this way always, but there may be jolts to come.

    It’s interesting times.

  54. 54
    Starfish says:

    @WallyWorldWarrior:
    It is sad that society does not value the work that needs to get done in order to continue to function and remain civil. By this I mean that raising the children and taking care of the elderly is worth very little to our Galtian overlords. Why is that? It seems so very wrong.

  55. 55
    Paul in KY says:

    @WallyWorldWarrior: God bless you. Hope you are able to find a better job.

    Don’t stop looking.

  56. 56
    gene108 says:

    I think this guy never figured out the round peg goes in the round hole and not in the square hole.

    We are in a crisis economically. Under-employment and job market participation rates are at Great Depression levels. The jobs depression we live in is the longest, BY FAR, since the 1930s.

    He gets there’s a round peg, i.e. unemployment is a problem.

    But he goes to put it into the square peg.

    Obama’s deficits rival those of WWII. The Fed’s trillions are already triggering inflation in food and energy that has the Middle East in flames as the price of going from Point A to Point B in these United States has folks passing over Le Seuer peas for the store brand lest they have to leave the ‘99 Chevy on the side of the road as they lug the gruel ingredients the rest of the way home. It may be too late to prevent a crisis already, but unless the elected tea partier servants of We the People BREAK WITH BOEHNER NOW, then the deluge will surely wash us away. Our call today is one step short of a call for a Third Party. In fact, we have never even used the term “tea party”. Rather, we call on the 87 tea partiers to break with Speaker Boehner’s caucus and oppose all RINO, puny, pathetic, and insulting moves meant to lure away a few Democrats to avoid crocodile tears by kids outside Yellowstone. Reid has made clear that even $61B will ensure a shutdown. We said here weeks ago that the GOP should embrace a selective shutdown strategy given this inevitability. Wouldn’t it be better to have a shutdown over Rand Paul’s $500B than the sissy $61B pro-rated lie? I think so.

    Warninig! Red State Diary. This is the conclusion. Basically it is a piece bashing Boehner for not shutting down government and slash spending.

    They just don’t get that a lack of domestic spending IS the problem and they are convinced the round peg must go into the square hole, no matter how many times they fail.

  57. 57
    henqiguai says:

    @superdestroyer (#25):

    Paying people to dig holes or fill pot holes does nothing to improve long term investment. What would anyone want to invest in a country where the public sector unions get everything they want (See Wisconsin) and the private sector faces massive tax increases and 10,000 pages of new compliance regulations.

    Filling potholes, a.k.a. infrastructure maintenance and improvement, is something any prospective investor should want to see. This is what actually constitutes long-term investment in an economy.

    Now, on those public-sector unions. Where, exactly, are you seeing them “get everything they want” ? Yes, see Wisconsin. They got nothing. Those “massive” tax increases; really ? They, too, pay those taxes. Or are you saying that the public should not be expected to pay their employees market-scale, dare one say living, wages ?

    And dude, “10,000 pages of new compliance regulations” ? About what the hell are you talking ?

  58. 58
    PurpleGirl says:

    I wonder whose payroll Superdestroyer is on. Is he/she paid per word or per post? I could sure use a similar gig. (Another long-term unemployed person.)

  59. 59
    Napoleon says:

    @gene108:

    Those people, like Superdestroyer, are complete morons. It is amazing they make it through the day without killing themselves. They are worthy of nothing but mockery.

  60. 60
    BruceK says:

    I was out of work for years and finally had to leave the country when an opportunity was offered to me in Europe. My job hunt was going on back in 2004, and when Ahnold referred to people worrying about the economy as “girlie-men” at the 2004 RNC convention, I think people saw steam coming out of my ears (and I vowed then not to do anything that would garner that roided-up sociopath one penny’s worth of profit as long as the man was alive; once the money’s going to his heirs, that’s okay, because I don’t hold the sins of the father against the children).

  61. 61

    In short, we’re well on the way to creating a permanent underclass of the jobless. Why doesn’t Washington care?

    Because maintaining a permanent underclass is a major policy goal of the Republican Confederate party. That’s also why they want to abolish birthright citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants. They’re a bunch of sociopaths who want political and economic power so they can rule the lives of people lower on the social status ladder. They’ll happily sacrifice social and economic development if doing so gives them more control over the rest of us.

  62. 62
    Dennis SGMM says:

    Why doesn’t Washington care?…

    Because the entities that really count in D.C. are making record profits despite high unemployment. As long as those campaign contributions keep flowing in our pols, all of them, see no reason to do anything substantive to put Americans back to work. Both parties have turned their backs on the unemployed so neither will suffer for it. That is considered a win-win in our beloved two-party system.

  63. 63
    Rick Taylor says:

    @superdestroyer:
    What’s wrong with increasing employment in the public sector? Or at the very least, decreasing the rate of cut backs in public sector employment, for example by sending funds to states so they don’t end up sacking quite so many public sector workers.

  64. 64
    MazeDancer says:

    @WallyWorldWarrior:

    Dear WallyWorldWarrior, You helped children. You helped your parents. So, no, it isn’t right that now you’re in wretched Wal-Mart.

    But if there is any place that needs help, it’s the atmosphere in Wal-Mart. And all the desperate people there. No, you can’t change that corporation. But your cashier station can be an island of sanity. Of good will. Of smiling and treating people with respect. Yes, that will be hard, but since you have to be there in order to eat, consider making make it feel as good as possible for yourself.

    For a long time, hundreds of people bought coffee every morning at the same convenience store because the man who served it was an artist. His smiles, his good will, his elegance, his caring made everyone feel uplifted every day. Maybe aiming for something like that will help.

    Much applause to you for taking care of yourself now.

  65. 65
    henqiguai says:

    @The Raven (#51):

    Obama, apparently, does not care about or understand policy, nor grasp its effects on the public. Like Reagan, who he looks up to, he appears to be acting the part of chief executive, rather than doing the work.

    Really ? I knew you were weird, but normally I don’t associate weird with stupid. But that is just stupid. And you’re weird (unless I’m just missing some world-class snark ’cause I’m really distracted; if so, then nevermind).

  66. 66
    cleek says:

    @nancydarling:
    it also helped that, after WWII, most of the industrialized countries of the world spent the late 40s clearing rubble and rebuilding while we took over the job of manufacturing things for the world.

  67. 67
    mclaren says:

    There’s a deeper reason why the people in Washington don’t care about the U6 unemployed, the 17% of America’s workers who either can’t find any work or can only find part-time work but desperately want to work more hours.

    The reason is that the Washington elites have looked at the situation and concluded that the American middle class is doomed.

    The problem is systemic. Obama can’t reverse it. If the Democrats controlled 100% of the seats in the House and Senate and the presidency and controlled 100% of the justices on the Supreme Court, the Democrats still couldn’t do anything about the rapid disappearance of the American middle class.

    Because the blunt fact remains that global wage arbitrage is relentlessly lowering the amount of money anyone is willing to pay for workers.

    When I buy a new taillight for my bicycle I buy it on ebay direct China because it costs $5 including shipping. An American-made bike light cost $24. The difference in price reflects the amount that an American manufacturer has to pay American workers.

    The brutal reality is that if a corporation or mom-and-pop business doesn’t buy from workers in a third-world country, their costs stay high and they go out of business. As a result, the wages of workers are being relentlessly driven down to the level of workers in Mumbai India.

    The American middle class cannot exist if American workers get paid the same wage as workers in Mumbai, India. The Washington elite know this, and they have correctly concluded that the American middle class is going away.

    Both Democrats and Republicans in Washington now see their job as being essentially that of a hospice worker caring for a terminal patient. The middle class in America is dying, and Democrats are doing what they can to make the last days of the American middle class more comfortable. Republicans offer a different option: death with dignity, a quick lethal injection.

  68. 68
    cleek says:

    @henqiguai:

    And dude, “10,000 pages of new compliance regulations” ? About what the hell are you talking ?
    Reply

    counting the pages of the law and tax code is all the rage among wingnuts these days.

  69. 69
    piratedan says:

    @superdestroyer: well gee whiz, I wonder how in the hell Roosevelt got us through the Great Depression? He created government to do good things on behalf of the country/people, the National Park Service, the CCC, and the government agencies to run them. What did Eisenhower do? He invested in the creation of suburbia and the Interstate Highway System. Public Works is the biggest answer. What is this country screaming for? Infrastructure upgrades because after the government put people to work connecting the country, the private sector took advantage of those benefits and started their own industries and businesses that leapt on the changes in the commerce landscape, i.e. new markets and the new middle class.

    So, what could the country use?

    light rail projects to assist the overcrowding on the highways and airports
    wind and solar and geothermal energy plants
    upgraded power grid
    refurbished/replacement bridges and dams and wastewater treatment plants.

    I THINK you might find a few jobs there

    also, maybe hiring a few more government regulators to oversee the financial, oil and coal industries wouldn’t be amiss either. Perhaps a few more federal incentives for doctors and nurses to be trained since we need to address the coming health care crisis in this country.

  70. 70
    James E. Powell says:

    For a number of reasons, all mentioned above, the current level of unemployment is not a problem for the rulers.

    What shocks me is that it is not considered to be a problem by the great mass of middle class and working class Americans. They are not taking to the streets to demand jobs. There is no ‘jobs’ equivalent to the tea party. In fact, to the extent that there is anger in the middle class, it appears to be directed solely against other members of the middle class. They are giving the rulers a pass.

  71. 71
    Stefan says:

    How are public sector unions getting everything they want? They agreed to deep cuts in the budget. They just didn’t agree to being eliminated.

    Hey, why should public sector unions get a gilt-edged benefit like not being eliminated when private sector workers don’t have that anymore….?

  72. 72
    lllphd says:

    I’ll take “Because those guys have jobs, at least for the next 18 months, and they can’t think any further ahead” for $1,000, Alex!

    um, not thinking ahead? this whole ignorejobs policy is precisely about thinking ahead.

    these guys know full well if they set up jobs for the public, the economy will shift, and more importantly, the voters’ perceptions will shift, and obama and dems will be ushered in come nov. ’12.

    oh don’t kid yourself, dear; there is definitely an agenda at work here. evil, yes, but they are not ignoring the future.

  73. 73
    Stefan says:

    What shocks me is that it is not considered to be a problem by the great mass of middle class and working class Americans. They are not taking to the streets to demand jobs. There is no ‘jobs’ equivalent to the tea party. In fact, to the extent that there is anger in the middle class, it appears to be directed solely against other members of the middle class. They are giving the rulers a pass.

    This also shocks me. The ghosts of Joe Hill and Tom Joad hang their heads in shame….

  74. 74
    Wally Ballou says:

    @WallyWorldWarrior: Serves you right for bein’ all uppity and tryin’ to get above your raisin’ ‘stead of accepting your God-given humble station in life.

    Now don’t forget to grovel, as Joe Strummer once sang.

  75. 75
    urbanmeemaw says:

    @WallyWorldWarrior: Dear Wally World Warrier: Thank you for your post. I know a lady who is a trained journalist who had a career in journalism until she was laid off/took package in lieu of layoff. She is now working at Walmart and struggling to keep her house. It may be small comfort to you to know that you are not alone, but I just wanted to tell you that anyway. I do not like to offer advice because my advice isn’t necessarily very helpful, but I would “suggest” that you focus on appreciating yourself for your integrity and being true to yourself and your dreams. You pursued what you wanted to do. You followed your instinct to leave that option to take care of people you obviously care about deeply. You are very
    courageous and a great person. Please, focus on that and send yourself massive doses of self love. That is the one thing you have total control over. I’m not saying it will magically fix everything right now, but it may bring you some much needed comfort. Sending you good mojo….

  76. 76
    mclaren says:

    @piratedan:

    So, what could the country use?

    light rail projects to assist the overcrowding on the highways and airports

    wind and solar and geothermal energy plants
    upgraded power grid

    refurbished/replacement bridges and dams and wastewater treatment plants.

    I THINK you might find a few jobs there.

    Not for Americans.

    The corporations that specialize in building solar electric power plants are German. When you look at the giant new solar electric power plant being built in the Mojave desert to supply electricity to California, what do you see?

    A German corporation employing German workers. America doesn’t have the expertise to build that kind of plant because our economy is now based entirely on building weapons.

    When you look at the corporations that have made bids the construct the California high-speed rail line, what do you see? French and German and Japanese companies. American corporations can’t build high-speed rail or efficient light rail: American companies don’t have the expertise. If you want a B2 stealth bomber built, America’s the place to go. But if you want a solar electric plant built or an efficient reliable railway built, forget about American companies — they can’t handle it. You’ll have to get a French or German or Japanese corporation to do it.

  77. 77
    Benjamin Cisco says:

    @DFer:

    I don’t know why liberals are so allergic to the idea that the public is the problem. They’re misinformed and they’re not going to let some wild-eye liberal tell them they’re wrong. They’re not just gonna “get it”

    It appears, sadly, that Ron White may have been correct.

  78. 78
    ruemara says:

    I know this all too well. My domestic partner is now rocking his full 3rd year of UE and only with a smattering of freelance that I’ve managed to corral for him to extend things. Me? I’ve been underemployed since 2000. Still. At first things were at least ok because he had a job, a great job. And it still took me 2 years of effort. I don’t know what the future holds, all I do know is that I don’t recognize this country anymore. It looks like something from a fantasy story, usually the evil/corrupt empire the hero is getting away from. Now I wonder if it’s too late to get away from here and start over, or if that’s safe to do. We may be on the brink of something good or something bad, but the complacency and ignorance of the rank and file citizenzzz is heartbreaking. The bad days are ones where I get up and my first thought is that my career peaked and died when I hit 30 ten years ago and I didn’t know it.

  79. 79
    Sloegin says:

    @67 systemic and political. Previous Republican and Dem administrations are mostly remembered for tax and war policy, not investment policy; foreign investment limitations and extra tax burdens due to having money out of country were pretty much eliminated. (late 70s early 80s?) Previously, US Code made it much more difficult to move money out of country.

    It’s only partly the fact that a widget can be made for $5 in China and $25 here. It’s also the fact that it can be made for $.50 in Bangladesh. Converse moved tennis-shoe production out of Mexico to Burma because of Mexican labor costs. Wrap that one around your head. Capital is always looking for the cheapest labor to exploit.

    Capital moves because it is allowed to do so and labor cannot. We can’t go anywhere we please to work, but the money can. It isn’t just because of cheap bodies elsewhere, it’s laws and policy giving the blessing for capital to do so.

  80. 80
    mk3872 says:

    Why is that every ACTION taken by Obama is always dismissed by both the right and the left simply because he doesn’t seem to TALK about it enough?

    “The Forgotten Millions” ???

    As I seem to recall, Obama fought very hard for a full extension of unemployment benefits, a stimulus bill (Krugman’s idea), QEII and a payroll tax break.

    Short of actually putting 5M people directly on the gov’t payroll, which I guess is what Krugman is now insisting on, it seems ridiculous to say that the WH has done NOTHING to help the unemployed.

  81. 81
    mclaren says:

    @ruemara:

    Have you considered teaching English in another country? Shithole America is degenerating and collapsing, but Europe and Singapore and South Korea and parts of coastal China are thriving.

    Alternative, you could always start a company to generate fake online-personas and spew out pro-military comments on forums like this one.

    Soonergrunt and General Crackpot Fake Name and Mnemosyne and eemom are all obviously 19-year-old army privates sitting in front of computer terminals in a barracks in Arlington VA hunt-and-pecking out fervent defenses of sendep torture and JSOC assassination and mass murder by pilotless drones, and they’re only the obvious ones on this blog. There are probably dozens of other military sock puppet identities on this blog, and some corporation is getting money for generating those fake personas and managing their accounts for the military.

    Bid lower and promise to write more inventive defenses of torture than your competitors. Lots of money there.

  82. 82
    piratedan says:

    @mclaren: bullshit

    http://www.ecobusinesslinks.co.....panels.htm

    http://www.lightrail.com/vendors.htm

    there are local vendors available, the key is awarding them the contracts, just like the folks in Michigan lobbied Congress to use a US firm for the wind farm assemblies instead of the 20m some asshat awarded to a Chinese firm. When it’s OUR taxpayer dollars at work, it should be simple to reward US firms.

  83. 83

    Why doesn’t Washington care?

    Hmm….let’s look at this.

    Democrats take Congress, and immediately pass and $800 billion jobs bill.

    Republicans take Congress, and they defund NPR, try to ban abortion, and take a lot of time off.

    Why doesn’t “Washington” care about jobs anymore? What could it possibly be?

    I’m stumped.

  84. 84
    Mnemosyne says:

    @mclaren:

    A German corporation employing German workers.

    Really? They’ve managed to get enough work permits that the entire factory is going to be able to be staffed by Germans? And every other foreign corporation is going to do the same thing — import their own workers from their home countries and not employ anyone locally? What’s their rationale for that, if I may ask? I would think that relocating hundreds or even thousands of workers from Europe to the US would be enormously expensive.

  85. 85
    PWL says:

    Well, OF COURSE there’s a reason Obama is so “bipartisan.” He’s most concerned with the first priority of all politicians, regardless of his yak about being OK with being a “one-term President”: Getting himself reelected.

    So much for “hope and change.” So much for the unemployed. So much for principles. So much for showing any guts.

    I hope this guy doesn’t really think he can B.S. the progressives into backing him in 2012, given they way he’s let them down.

  86. 86
    petorado says:

    Can we stop using the term “spending cuts”? These are cuts in public services. If Dems would say the R’s are proposing even deeper public service cuts, folks might think about them differently.

  87. 87
    Suck It Up! says:

    @Raven: I hope you are not one of those types that go around calling people Obots or lemmings because I can see from your comment that you are incapable of original or thoughtful critique. Everything in your post is nothing but talking points written in a number of lefty blogs/comments section.

  88. 88
    Suck It Up! says:

    @PWL:

    Obama says: FUCK ALL YA’LL!!! He has an approval rating of 87% amongst Liberal Democrats. So these “Progressives” that never backed him anyway can go sit down somewhere.

  89. 89
    Shoemaker-Levy 9 says:

    I’ll take “Because those guys have jobs, at least for the next 18 months

    That can only be part of it, because there have been big deals made out of unemployment spikes in the past, and those politicians had jobs too. The dynamic this time is a little more complicated, and the fact that the Dems are acquiescing to the silence on jobs is worrisome.

  90. 90
    Barry says:

    @mclaren: “Republicans offer a different option: death with dignity, a quick lethal injection.”

    More like part them out for organs. Or give zero care, but collect the money for caring for them.

    Combined with torturing the patient, because they can.

  91. 91
    Merkin says:

    @PWL:

    I hope this guy doesn’t really think he can B.S. the progressives into backing him in 2012, given they way he’s let them down.

    since they already do, I’m not sure why this is relevant.

  92. 92
    Et_tu says:

    @WallyWorldWarrior

    I’ve been there and I’m not sure if there’s anything I can say to help, but try and find some joy somewhere. Don’t doubt yourself, it sounds like you made the right choices.
    I used to remind myself of a Dick Gaughan song, it gave/still gives me great strength:

    What You Do With What You’ve Got – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8mmflP04lBI

    You’ll be in thoughts. I hope things improve.

  93. 93
    Stefan says:

    Can we stop using the term “spending cuts”? These are cuts in public services. If Dems would say the R’s are proposing even deeper public service cuts, folks might think about them differently.

    Seconded. Thirded, even.

  94. 94
    DFer says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    I hope this guy doesn’t really think he can B.S. the progressives into backing him in 2012, given they way he’s let them down.

    But it wasn’t $10 Gazallion stimulus, therefore they don’t care about jobs.

  95. 95
    mclaren says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    What’s their rationale for that, if I may ask? I would think that relocating hundreds or even thousands of workers from Europe to the US would be enormously expensive.

    Their rationale is that American workers are too poorly educated to do the job.

    …A special analysis put out last week by the National Center for Education Statistics…compares 15-year-old U.S. students with students from other countries in the Organization for Economic Development.

    It found the U.S. students placed below average in math and science. In math, U.S. high schoolers were in the bottom quarter of the countries that participated, trailing countries including Finland, China and Estonia.

    Source: “U.S. students behind in math, science, analysis says,” CNN.

  96. 96
    mclaren says:

    The future of the U.S. economy in a single picture.

  97. 97
    The Raven says:

    @henqiguai: “But that is just stupid.”

    Faced with an election that was the crystallized result of essence of policy failure, Obama decided that he … sent the wrong message. Nothing to do with rampaging unemployment or people getting thrown out their homes, no sirree. What the country needs is cuts in social security. Ri-i-i-ight. If the man has an understanding of the connection between economic policy and electoral results he hides it very well.

    Henqiguai, how do you explain Obama’s politics and rhetoric in these critically important areas?

  98. 98
    The Raven says:

    @PWL: “I hope this guy doesn’t really think he can B.S. the progressives into backing him in 2012, given they way he’s let them down.”

    If the alternative is Caribou Barbie or Scott Walker? I think Obama is the wrong man for the times: a conciliator in a time when we desperately need strong leadership. But against his opponents, who seem to be in love with pain, destruction, and death? No contest.

    Unless you’re a corvid, anyway. Food!

  99. 99
    henqiguai says:

    @The Raven (#97):

    Henqiguai, how do you explain Obama’s politics and rhetoric in these critically important areas?

    No idea about what you’re babbling. I guess if I just mindlessly bought into whatever meme you’re pushing, there could be an argument. Aaaand suddenly spending a few more minutes on taxes looks much more entertaining…

  100. 100
    The Raven says:

    Shorter henqiguai: I have no explanation, I don’t even want to think about it. I will insult anyone who asks questions about it.

    Which is why the Democrats were trounced in the last election.

    Croak!

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