"The hardest work in the world is being out of work." ~ Whitney Young, Jr.
As usual, Paul Krugman wrote another excellent piece today for the New York Times, this one titled War On the Unemployed. (But I also enjoyed some of the reader's comments equally well. Below are a few samples.)
Karen Garcia - New Paltz, NY: "Politicians need to feel shame, and they need to feel it good and hard. They need to feel the wrath of the electorate. They need to be relentlessly exposed in all their heartless venality, with all the means at our disposal. Paul Krugman dishes it out in his popular columns. The Nuns on the Bus, Occupy Sandy, and Occupy Our Homes dish it out through direct action. Walmart and McDonalds strikers dish it out to the CEOs who rake in 1000 times the wage of the average employee.
According to the Census Bureau, almost 2 million of us live on less than $2 a day. The U.N. has us near rock bottom among developed countries in terms of education and social mobility and health care -- despite boasting the world's highest GDP. One in four children lives in poverty, because their parents are unemployed or underemployed. Our per capita murder rate is higher than Libya's.
Desperate times call for desperate measures. During the Depression, the so-called Bonus Army marched on Washington and camped out in full view of the politicians. All they wanted was back pay for serving their country, and what they got was inhumane eviction by the U.S. military. People took to the streets in droves back then, the jobless joining the wage slaves in strikes, the homeless joining the slum dwellers in rent strikes.
Those politicians finally got shamed and scared, and we got the New Deal. Without pressure from us to convince them otherwise, our current crop will just assume we love feasting on the Raw Deal."
Mancuroc - Rochester, NY: "Paul Kruman writes, Under the radar, with too many people unaware of what’s going
on...The fault lies squarely with the Fourth Estate, and it will take more than an occasional column by Dr. Krugman to put things right.
The so-called "liberal" media give the unemployed short shrift in their news coverage, and their star moderators and pundits are so wrapped up in protecting their undeserved incomes that they won't dream of rocking the boat. Their employers are part of a tight oligopoly of media corporations that don't countenance more than token criticism of the economic system that makes them wealthy. The corporate owners of the "liberal media" are quite willing to accept liberal positions on social issues, but the minute anything is raised that they perceive to threaten their pocket books, they get nervous.
The one reliable voice for working people on cable TV is Ed Schultz. He was evidently doing too well in his prime time weekday MSNBC spot for the comfort of his Comcast bosses, so he was banished to a weekend slot that is just about guaranteed to have a low audience.
R. Law, Texas: "The catechism of the radical rightists assigns blame to people for not having jobs, for jobs disappearing, never minding the machinations of Wall Street caused the Crash, and certainly forgetting the billionaire class would have been virtually wiped out if not for the beneficence of the vast, evil, centralized government Treasury in DC.
The radical rightists are direct benefactors of Wall Street's bail-out and the billionaire class who now conceive themselves, individually and as a class, as being Too Big To Fail, just like large banks.
They have even recently taken to calling themselves ' makers ' to try and perpetuate the myth they are Too Big To Fail, and wrap themselves in words of holiness and scripture to try and attain added validity.
They are deluded, and their delusion/illusion requires they demonize the most defenseless - the young, the poor and the jobless - or everyone will remember the only reason we are where we are is because of the de-regulated schemes of the bailed-out billionaire class, their radical rightist political henchmen, and the VSP lackeys on Faux Noise Machina 24/7.
It's nauseatingly anti-American and anti-capitalist from almost every conceivable angle. Their contrived VSP alternate narrative must not take the place of the actual reality we see (and have seen) with our own lyin' eyes.
Rima Regas - Mission Viejo, CA: "I've been angry - steamed - for the past five years, reading stories about people who also lost their jobs to the recession and couldn't get interviewed, much less hired. The conclusion within the 99er community is that ageism and those who lost their jobs in 08-09 are specifically kept out of jobs they are well-qualified to do.
Now, North Carolina, in its anti-human effort to roll ever civil liberty and benefit it can, has managed to turn back its clock at least a hundred years, on many levels - not just the unemployment benefits issue. They've passed some of the most regressive voter laws in the land, including one that punishes parents whose college aged kids vote.
What's different about North Carolina is that there is a growing movement to push back against GOP policies. That movement is Moral Mondays, and it is headed by the North Carolina chapter president of the NAACP, William Barber. He's an impressive orator, organizer, and leader. People from all walks of life, races, professions have joined him in his weekly protests and so far several hundred have been arrested.
We need more William Barbers. We need one in each state to organize a voter revolt. Judging by the fundraising email traffic since last week, the Democrats are ready to put on a fight. That's good, but it isn't enough. The effort needs to be intense and include grassroots civil rights groups. Let's be serious this time!"
John McBride - Seattle, WA: "Angry? Angry? Angry isn't half, or half of half of it, and not just jobs. Let's put it this way here at home."
|Satisfied with how things are going||31%||55%|
|Say their economy is good||33%||67%|
|Say they are doing well personally||67%||82%|
|Are worried about unemployment||58%||37%|
|Convinced that debt is a big problem||61%||40%|
|Thinks inequality is worse since 2007||66%||76%|
|Thinks economy favors the wealthy||61%||58%|
|Gap between the rich and the poor is a problem||47%||45%|
|In the past 12 months they could not afford health or medical care for their family||31%||11%|
|Say they didn't have money to buy clothing for their family in the past year||27%||11%|
|There have been times in the past year when they did not have enough money to buy food for their families||24%||9%|
And in the world? Brazil, Turkey, Egypt, Spain and even China. The rich of the world are as conscious as the royals and nobles of France in 1788. No, not just jobs. The rich own the world, and run it. And we don't.
An "acceptable" level of unemployment means that the government economist to whom it is acceptable still has a job. ~ Author Unknown