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Friday, June 03, 2011

Why Policymakers Have Forgotten about the Unemployed

Why aren't we doing more to help the unemployed? Robert Reich mentions the elephant in the room:

The Silent Jobless?, By Robert B. Reich: ...The American economy is trapped in a vicious cycle. Those who are unemployed can't afford to buy much more than bare necessities, while people who are working are getting skimpier paychecks. ...
You'd think the American public would be demanding government action: a new WPA for the long-term unemployed, a second stimulus to make up for the shortfall in purchasing power, stronger safety nets. But we're not hearing much clamor for any of this. One reason is that those who remain unemployed have little or no political clout.
Who are they?
Women who lost their jobs are having a harder time getting back to work than men. Men took a bigger hit during the recession..., but manufacturing and transportation have picked up, so men are starting to be rehired. But women who fill the ranks of teachers, public health professionals and social workers are in bad shape. These jobs continue to be slashed by state and local governments. ... Women also tend to be real estate agents, appraisers and home decorators. Because the housing market is still in the dumps..., these jobs are also in short supply and are unlikely to come back anytime soon.
Unmarried mothers are having a particularly difficult time ... and ... blacks continue to be hard hit. ... The ranks of the unemployed also include many young people who have never been in the job market and are unable to land a first job. ... Even recent college graduates are having a much harder time than usual finding a job. ... Another group in trouble are those who have been out of work for six months or longer. Employers seem to assume they aren't as qualified or reliable as those who have been working more recently. ...
What do those who are jobless have in common? They lack the political connections and organizations that would otherwise demand policies to spur job growth. There's no National Assn. of Unemployed People with a platoon of Washington lobbyists...
As a result, too many are likely to remain unemployed for months if not years. That's bad news, not only for them but for America.

The people hurt most by our failure to address the jobs crises are those with the least amount of political power. It's the people with jobs, the "Very Serious People" who are doing fairly well, that are most concerned about the deficit.

    Posted by on Friday, June 3, 2011 at 01:17 PM in Economics, Politics, Unemployment | Permalink  Comments (66)


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