In the United States, right now, March 2011, we have about 111 million people gainfully employed. About 6.9 million of those are employed part time, that is, less than 35 hours a week, but looking for full time work. Another 6 million are unemployed and looking for full time work. So the unemployed looking for full time work plus the part-time employed who are looking to move up to full time, comes to about 18 million.
So we have 13 million unemployed (8.9 percent) and a whole bunch who would like more work but can’t find it. It should be pointed out that the part-time employed are not, in many cases, making enough, even as members of a two-earner household, to stay ahead of inflation and periodic layoffs, and mortgage increase scams of the Bush era.
In this recent election, the Republicans, astonishingly, said virtually nothing about how they would improve unemployment but were elected anyway. Normally unemployment is merely that period between jobs. That’s why the periods were shorter. But if you have a job, stop for a second. Imagine what would happen to you if you lost your job for a year…or two years.
Unemployment benefits are based on what you were earning, but there is a minimum of $135 and a maximum of $570 per week, and in 2011, there will be an additional flat $25 on top of that. They are normally only for 26 weeks and an emergency period of 20 more, but in this recent economy, it has been necessary to extend the benefits to 99 weeks. Thus the term “99ers” which refers to those Americans whose unemployment will or has run out after all extensions of unemployment have expired.
If you are making $1,500 a week and unemployment pays you, (this year a little more), $595 a week, you can see that it won’t be long for most people before they are selling off assets to stay afloat.
The ratios are the same at lower income levels but the likelihood there is that disaster will hit you faster. If you are on unemployment for over a year, you have probably sold your house and you are looking to downsize your lifestyle and…at least temporarily…your goals.
The unemployment rate is going down…gradually…from about 9.8 percent last November to about 8.9 percent now, March of 2011. But that really doesn’t tell the story. You saw how many people are still looking for work. But the trouble is that many of those people, 4 million of them, will lose all benefits at various times in 2011 because all their extensions will have run out.
This is how this “recession” is different from previously…relatively…serious recessions. For example, in the early 1980s Reagan and Volcker induced a recession by cutting the money supply. They knew that once interest rates came down and inflation came down, the situation would right itself quickly. Technically, it only lasted from 1981 to 1982, and unemployment did get to 10% or a little more for a short time.
But once interest rates started coming down, people bought cars, homes and things began to pick up again. So, while a lot of people were out of work, at one point over 20% in Rockford, Illinois, most were out of work for only a short period. The whole thing lasted only a couple of years.
Most economists and businessmen knew it was an adjustment that had to be made to bring inflation down. You cannot have 10% per year inflation. Volcker put interest rates all the way over 20%, starting in the last year of Jimmy Carter’s presidency. They were down to the low teens by mid-1983, and kept going down.
So this recession is much worse than that and worse than anything since the 1930s. Over 14 million unemployed now since 2009. No end in sight, which is mainly because of Republican Senators blocking 240 bills in the Senate, including any and all job development programs after the stimulus.
Now we have Republican Governors planning to cut hundreds of thousands of more workers in the ridiculous notion, stated by John Boehner, Speaker of the House, that laying off public workers will mean more jobs for private industry! It is either astonishing stupidity—which it isn’t—or enormous arrogance—which it is—to tell such a lie to the American people, who can see clearly what is really going on.
We need jobs. Here is the phony Republican Plan. They say, let’s cut jobs to spur employment. In other words, the Republicans intend to cut spending on government (and what is government’s biggest cost…labor…the same as every other enterprise.
By cutting jobs in the public sector, they say, we will free up more money into the private sector to create jobs. It is an idiotic policy and consequently only a cover for their real agenda. We know what they have already said was their goal. The Neocons are pandering to their Right Wing patrons, like the Kochs and the Scaifes and vowing behind closed doors to reduce labor costs all across the board.
Most unions that exist are in the public sector right now. Some estimates have less than ten percent of the private industrial force is unionized. The goal of the Neocons is to reduce or eliminate the power that the unions have to negotiate fair wages, health benefits, and balance the gigantic money being spent by the global corporations, more and more of which are combining…GE and Comcast…AT&T and T-Mobile.
You see the efforts, and organized effort of 7 states run by Republican governors to kill unions, already having for the time being at least…eliminated the ability of the state workers to bargain with government for wages or benefits or working conditions. If unions cannot keep bargaining rights, what would make anyone think than an individual could bargain with someone like the fascist Governor Scott Walker.
Must we remind the people of Wisconsin that there are still descendants of those who supported Nazis, the Bund, in Wisconsin. These are the people that the good citizens of Wisconsin are marching against because Walker is applying fascist policies and there had to be people who voted for them and people who still support him. Do the people of Wisconsin or Michigan or Ohio think that there will not be huge layoffs to give even more tax breaks to the wealthy?
The Nazi Bund descendants who are supporting the fascist policies of this Wisconsin tinpot dictator Scott Walker need to be defeated. We don’t need Nazis in this country. We thought we had totally defeated them 50 or 60 years ago. Fortunately, it seems that the people of Wisconsin will send all these lobbyist-Koch Family-pandering fascists back to the private industry jobs that they all say that they like but never seem to engage in.
The Republican plan, their stated and published plan, is to “send highly skilled public workers into the private market.” That means only one thing. More people competing for fewer jobs, bring wages in the private sector down even more. First of all, it won’t work. People are already lined up 50-deep for every job opening. Second, it isn’t meant to work. It is simply meant to make people even more miserable.
Look, these Republicans are politicians. A politician at any level deals with the people. A member of the House of Representatives knows ten times more clearly what is happening to people than you do. In other words, they know that what they are doing is causing suffering, but they are going ahead and doing it anyway! Yes, it is deliberate. Because they understand completely the outcomes. In other words, they are cruel and callous.
When a report starts, as the Republican report did, with the political statement…”Washington Democrat’s spending binge….” you know there is a problem. You know that because you also know that in 8 years the Republicans spent $8 trillion dollars more than government took in. You know that because they left Obama with a deficit of over $1 billion ($300 billion in lost revenue from taxes from the now unemployed, $300 billion in unemployment and welfare payments, and an already in-deficit budget from Bush of $500 billion = $1.1 trillion a year! Before Obama ever spent a dime!) And they left a national debt of $13 trillion!
The Republicans want to cut $59 billion from the budget. But out of a thousand billion…that won’t make a dent. They say that cutting these budgets will free up money for the jobs they are talking about. It won’t work. Ask yourself: how does this actually create jobs? Not maybe; not eventually; not “economically speaking” but real, specific jobs for real living people right now or in the next six months.
It is basically the same thing the Neocons have been saying about tax cuts forever. Tax cuts, although their twisted logic wants you to think so, do not result in long-term government revenue increases. The evidence is overwhelming ($14 trillion in debt, all under tax-cutting regimes, all under Neocon Republican regimes.) Even the CBO’s own study, under a Republican President proves it without a doubt. It isn’t even close.
This isn’t about jobs. It isn’t about loosening up money for the private sector. There is now over $3 trillion…$3 trillion…sitting in cash or securities waiting to be invested. And the Republicans have told their Wall Street friends, the 6 banks that control over half of all U.S. financial assets, to sit on the money until after the 2012 election.
There are no real problems. The only problem is the Republicans. Raise the Social Security tax from a top income of $106,000 to $250,000 and Social Security solved. Move the health care reform’s bargaining insurance pools up to 2012, Medicare and health insurance solved. Tax the rich 45% on income up to $1,000,000 and 55% on income they earn over $5,000,000 per year while cutting military spending by 30% and bringing troops home right now from Iraq…budget will be in balance. That’s all that need be done. But you need to get rid of all Repbulicans to do it.
Here’s what the Neocons are saying to the Wall Street people holding on to the money. You let us, the Neocon Republicans win in 2012, and you can already see what we’ll do. We’ll cut wages and that will make you more profits and those profits under our system, of lower taxes for the rich, will go into your pockets.
You, the Koch Family and the Scaife Family and Phil Anschutz and Trump and the others help the Neocons win the election in 2012 and we’ll keep a big supply of U.S. labor at dirt cheap prices, with no unions any more to bargain for them. We’ll keep 15 to 20 million people out of the workforce at all times. They’ll be begging, literally, for jobs. We’ll still have 110 million people employed and we’ll set one against the other.
We’ll cut regulations and taxes and restrictions on where you can do business. You can literally live here on the fat of the land and have all your business done in China or India.
We’ll use Hannity and Limbaugh and Beck to rile up one group against the other, the employed (hard working Americans) versus the unemployed (lazy bums, loafers and freeloaders.) Then we’ll send Sarah Palin out to tease the NASCAR hick beer bellies a little and build up our support on the Right in case people start to catch on.
We’ll get the banned-in-Britain Michael Savage and the spoiled jarhead Ollie North and the dirty little felon G. Gordon Liddy to rail against the President, call him filthy names to appeal to the racists and the gun toters. Maybe get Limbaugh to do a reprise of his “Barack the Magic Negro.”
These are the people who support the Neocons who in turn make these people rich. And that’s the Republican jobs program, folks. It is as phony as a three-dollar bill and about as economically useful.
You’ve got a lot of work to do to save your country. And it isn’t sure that you will. But if you don’t get out and start working, it is definitely, positively certain you will lose it. Because these guys have lots of money and lots of power and they are more than halfway there.