One in six Americans is unemployed or underemployed, but– except for a few politicians like Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca)– Congress doesn’t care. In fact, the Republican-controlled US House of Representatives wants to increase unemployment and underemployment by laying off more federal employees and forcing others into furlough days. In fact, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) flippantly said if the budget cuts result in job losses “so be it!”
Back here in Arizona– the Republican-controlled Arizona Legislature is following in their federal cronies’ footsteps and proposing draconian budget cuts– particularly in education and healthcare– which will result on more layoffs.
In a recent New York Times editorial, Paul Krugman writes that the US is “well on the way to creating a permanent underclass of the jobless. According to Krugman, Americans want jobs… period… but the Republican-controlled state and federal governments are obsessed with cutting budgets and jobs– not creating them.
In addition, US businesses– who had record profits in 2010– are sitting on their cash and trying to squeeze every ounce of productivity out of scared employees who don’t want to be laid off. According to Ed Schultz, 50,000 factories closed or moved abroad since George Bush took office; 75 percent of these factories employed more than 500 people– a loss of more than 18 million jobs. Adding insult to injury, many US corporations added jobs in their overseas factories than in the US, and they are starting new factories abroad.
From The Forgotten Millions…
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.
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.
In short, we’re well on the way to creating a permanent underclass of the jobless. Why doesn’t Washington care?
Part of the answer may be that while those who are unemployed tend to stay unemployed, those who still have jobs are feeling more secure than they did a couple of years ago. Layoffs and discharges spiked during the crisis of 2008-2009 but have fallen sharply since then, perhaps reducing the sense of urgency. Put it this way: At this point, the U.S. economy is suffering from low hiring, not high firing, so things don’t look so bad — as long as you’re willing to write off the unemployed.
Yet polls indicate that voters still care much more about jobs than they do about the budget deficit. So it’s quite remarkable that inside the Beltway, it’s just the opposite.
What makes this even more remarkable is the fact that the economic arguments used to justify the D.C. deficit obsession have been repeatedly refuted by experience. [For the rest of this article, click here.]
When will this assault on American workers end?