Are you tired of reading and hearing about the unemployment problem?
Rest assured, the unemployed are tired of it, too.
I know I am. I’m tired of living with it. I’m tired of it slapping me in the face from the time I get up in the morning until the time I go to bed at night — and then returning to invade the one place where I thought I could escape from it, my nocturnal visits to dreamland. It is an unrelenting crisis, a nightmare from which no one — seemingly — can wake up.
But Christina Romer, chairwoman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, predicted recently that joblessness probably will “remain at its severely elevated level” through 2010. It ain’t going away any time soon.
The New York Times made the case, on its editorial page, for more stimulus.
“Washington is not providing a coherent plan for effective stimulus,” writes the Times.
Early this year, the White House naively asserted that unemployment would not go above 8%, but it went racing past that mark only a few months later. Then, during the summer, as the administration went into its full–court press for health care reform, the president and vice president effectively abdicated responsibility by arguing that they “misread” the economy — even though, if you go back and read the texts of Barack Obama’s pre–inaugural speeches, you cannot help but conclude that he knew how dire the situation was even before he took office.
Now the chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers says the rebound in hiring could be slower than the comparatively sunny forecasts from the White House and economists.
And historian Julian E. Zelizer wonders where is the “recovery” with no jobs?
There will be a price to be paid for this dithering in next year’s elections.
“The Senate has been hamstrung for nearly a month over the most basic relief–and–recovery boost: an extension of unemployment benefits,” says the Times.
When one takes into account those who have given up actively searching for work and those who are “under–employed,” to use the popular word for it, nearly one–fifth of American adults are affected.
It’s safe to say that those who manage to survive until November 2010 won’t be hamstrung when they cast their votes.
Since politicians in both parties only seem to really care about people when they need their votes, that should provide enough incentive.