Friday, November 6, 2009

OK, So We Are Screwed. Now What?

Boys and girls, there are some really great headlines hitting the news this morning: Unbelievable Unemployment: Embarrassingly at 10.2 (Blasting Hopes for Relief: Unemployment Shoves above 10 Percent for the First Time in 28 Years). Absolutely amazing news, depressing for me, and coupled with the Muslim Major killing 13 in Texas, Wall Street is going be a little nutty, and President Obama has got to be wondering why he wants the job at all.

Take a look at unemployment: that figure is more than likely off by 3 to 5 percent, depending on who is counting, and really who is counting? That report does not indicate how many thousands are under-employed or working three or more jobs to keep afloat. Nor does it take into account the thousands who have given up looking, dropped off the rolls, went on the road, moved in with Mom and Dad, or left the country. Pretty much sucks that the real number that pops into my walnut-sized brain is more like 13 percent or maybe 15 percent counting those who are working way below a living wage. But I keep running into conservative folks who say that there are plenty of jobs out there, that people just don’t want to work, that we are a lazy country. That may be. But I am glad I am not trying to find a job right now, no one is building, schools are not hiring, and car lots are not knocking on my door looking for a salesman. Hey, we do have some chicken plants and tons of MacDonald’s. Look at some numbers from the current Bureau of Labor and Statistics Report: currently 15.7 million folks are unemployed; construction lost 62 thousand more jobs; manufacturing “shed” 61 thousand; retail trade lost 41 thousand. And for non-supervisory work the average work week is only 33 hours. So, you get it: even the ones with a job are not making as much money.

Usually, in time of economic downturn, if my memory serves me, states could stimulate some activity by bonding up some school additions or hustling up some road improvements to put blue collar folks to work and keep things moving along. Hey, but the states are broke, too. Taxes are down, pension funds are down, and wages are frozen. We probably ought to have mass layoffs or huge weekly work reductions in federal and state employees, but heck, they are all relatives of our elected officials or of each other so that won’t happen. But some are taking mandatory unpaid furloughs and pays are frozen. However, no help is on the way for Joe the Plumber or Tom the Teacher from the states promoting construction or encouraging an upgrade in education systems, places where people actually do work for a living. And without home building, as I have said probably too many times, we do not produce anything in this country. Wall Street, plus all the pundits there, is wringing its hands because the “consumer” is hurt; fuck the producer, Wall Street needs China and people consuming.

So what’s the deal my conservative friends? What’s your proposal? Start another war some place? Hell, we didn’t and haven’t paid for the two we are in. You want the government out of your business, right? Cut off unemployment benefits that have been extended to 15 million folks. Cut off the prescription benefit to seniors. Cut off Social Security. Cut off all disability payments. So far, I have heard only from the idiots (visualize John Bonehead, my least favorite Republican), let the banks fail (they deserve it), let the car companies fail (they deserve it), let the insurance companies fail (they deserve it). OK, I am finally in, call in the loans, dump the banks, dump the last of American car companies (hey, one local legislator told me it wouldn’t matter because no cars are made in America anyway; thus, he drives an Audi), oh yes, wipe out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac while you are at it (they deserve it). BUT while you are doing all this, just what in the HELL are you going to do to put people back to work in this country? You are doing a real fine job of kicking the current administration all over the lot about not getting people to work and spending your grandchildren’s future. Maybe you are right. So, I have swung over and am with you all the way on your conservative, Escalade-pulled bandwagon. But, come on fess up; what’s your plan for turning the country around and for putting people back to work? What are you going to deregulate to make all the jobs come back? It is about time that the conservative, tea-bagging, helicopter-shooting, name-calling conservatives clearly reveal their plan for getting us back to work. I wait for your reply.

And in the next post, I will tell you how, with one smooth political move, the conservatives caused all this mess in the first place.