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Jim Hightower
Jim Hightower
16 Jul 2014
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Real Recovery Is Easy to Spell: J-O-B-S

Comment

The recession is over! The economy is growing! The Dow Jones is above 10,000! Bankers are pocketing profits and fat bonuses! Happy days are here again!

Unless, of course, you're just a regular working stiff struggling with falling income and rising unemployment — and sensing that your family's grip on middle-class life is steadily slipping away. Welcome to America's tinkle-down economy.

The latest job numbers mock the smiley-faced claims of economists and polticos that the Great Recession is over:

— 10.2 percent of America's workforce is officially unemployed — nearly 16 million people.

— Another 15 million people are either so discouraged by their fruitless job search that they've quit looking, or they've had to settle for part-time jobs when they want and need full-time employment. Add the discouraged and underemployed to the number of the officially unemployed, and the percentage of our people who can't find the work they need rises to 17.5 percent — one out of every six workers.

— More than a third of the officially unemployed have been jobless for more than half a year — a new record for long-term joblessness.

— Nearly 15 percent of the unemployed have college degrees, and many more of the college-educated are underemployed.

— October was the 22nd straight month that the U.S. economy lost jobs — the longest streak since 1939. About 7.3 million jobs have been eliminated since December 2007, when the recession began. In this same time span, 2.8 million new workers have come into the job market, meaning our economy is now 10.1 million jobs short of the number needed just to get back to even.

— While average wages have risen slightly in the past year, average weekly pay has stagnated because workers have had their hours cut.

So please excuse our country's workaday majority for not cheering the news that prosperity has returned to those at the tippy top of America's economic pyramid. And — please — do not continue to insult workers with the dismissive declaration that the economy is experiencing a "jobless recovery." Not only is that an oxymoron, it is moronic.

If most American's have not recovered, then neither has our economy.

(Imagine a situation in which working families were prospering, but corporate profits were down for 22 straight months — do you think economists and politicos could get away with labeling it a "profitless recovery"?)

Especially galling is the fact that the talk of recovery is mostly based on the resurrection of Wall Street profits. Conveniently ignored by exultant bankers is the reality that they would have no profits (and no banks) except that Washington has propped them up with some $13 trillion in public bailout money.

The rationale for this unprecedented rescue of failed bankers was that they would reciprocate with a vigorous lending effort to businesses, which then could start hiring and rebuilding the grassroots economy that Wall Street greed crushed. But astonishingly, the giveaway to bankers came with no strings attached! So, instead of pouring capital into the American countryside, they've gone right back to casino-style speculation — while pocketing more than $100 billion in bonuses for themselves.

These people are thieves. They've stolen our public funds, our jobs and our middle-class aspirations. It's time to grab them by the short hairs, forcing them to make the loans that our real economy needs — or have their banks shut down and their capital turned over to community banks, credit unions and others who will invest in America's productive businesses and workers.

After the latest jobless numbers came out, President Obama said, "I will not rest until all Americans who want work can find work." Excuse me, but that's like a lawyer saying to his client, "I'll get you out of jail if it takes me the rest of your life."

America's workers and communities don't need presidential assurances, they need action, bold and immediate. As Obama said in last year's campaign, "We need to pass an economic rescue plan for the middle class, and we need to do it not five years from now, not next year, we need to do it right now."

Where did that guy go?

To find out more about Jim Hightower, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2009 CREATORS.COM

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Comments

4 Comments | Post Comment
Dear Mr. HighTower,
The way to get the needed J-O-B-S is to implement the FairTax Plan. We desperately need a major overhaul of our tax system, not just tinkering with the current IRS system in order to satisfy lobbyists. The FairTax is the ultimate tax reform. It provides for zero tax on corporations, making American companies 22% more competitive on the international market, while individual consumers pay less tax than under the IRS code. I urge you to join with the FairTax organization in promoting the FairTax, H.R, 25 and S.296.
Cordially,
Bob Austin
Comment: #1
Posted by: Bob Austin
Wed Nov 11, 2009 1:52 PM
Dear Mr. HighTower,
The way to get the needed J-O-B-S is to implement the FairTax Plan. We desperately need a major overhaul of our tax system, not just tinkering with the current IRS system in order to satisfy lobbyists. The FairTax is the ultimate tax reform. It provides for zero tax on corporations, making American companies 22% more competitive on the international market, while individual consumers pay less tax than under the IRS code. I urge you to join with the FairTax organization in promoting the FairTax, H.R, 25 and S.296.
Cordially,
Bob Austin
Comment: #2
Posted by: Bob Austin
Wed Nov 11, 2009 1:52 PM
Re: Bob Austin
Cutting taxes is just more of the same failed polcies of the last 30 years. Only fools and supply siders keep doing the same thing and expecting different results. We need to cut our "defense" budget by 1/3 or more, shut down our global military empire which we can't afford, apply our technology to civilian consumer products and make them be built here and protect our industry like Communist China and the rest of the world, by using tariffs as they do. We have proven conclusively that you cannot build a sustainable economy based on financialization, outsourcing and borrowing from foreigners to buy the products they make. Wealth, in an economic sense, is measured by material goods, not by Wall Street thinking up creative ways to shuffle paper around, which, if done correctly, extracts money from others, and if their play is wrong, gets bailed out by the taxpayers of this country.
Our entire corporate structure exists solely to make money, and any considerations of what's best in the larger scheme of things is totally irrelevant. Right now, business is lobbying Congress to prevent legislation that would ban products to be imported to this country if those products are made by prison labor, forced labor or child labor. The sickness of profit being the be all and end all is nearing critical mass; its ultimate ideal is to have a world of the haves and have nots, with Communist China, the land of no unions and little environmental enforcement being the template. The irony that conservative corporatists would use that country as their model for the future is not lost on those of us who grew up during the cold war and its "better dead than red" mantra.
Comment: #3
Posted by: michael nola
Wed Nov 11, 2009 3:47 PM
President Obushama is long on platitudes. The reason for the obscene defense budget is graft and corruption since it is the government inside the government without transparency or/and accountability. The graft and corruption is easily determined by campaign contributions and privatization which obscures full disclosure especially with overseas contracts for lack of audit trails
Comment: #4
Posted by: kien lusk
Thu Nov 12, 2009 4:32 AM
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