Pixel Tracker

Thursday, January 17 , 2019, 1:28 pm | Overcast with Haze 60º

 
 
 
 

Jim Hightower: Jobless ‘Recovery’ Requires Us to Rebuild

Destiny calls, and now's the time to get to work repairing and improving America's public resources

The good news is that America’s economy continues to grow. The bad news is that most people’s personal economies continue to shrivel.

Jim Hightower
Jim Hightower

The June report on jobs glows with the happy news that America’s unemployment rate has fallen to 9.5 percent — the best we’ve had in a year! “We are headed in the right direction,” President Barack Obama trumpeted.

Great ... if true. However, the ballyhooed jobs statistic is a mirage. It looks good only because 650,000 more Americans became so frustrated with their fruitless search for work last month that they quit looking. In StatsWorld, such “discouraged” seekers are — abracadabra! — no longer considered unemployed, even though they are. There are now 1.2 million Americans in this statistical purgatory.

That’s not the only shadow on June’s economic glow. Those lucky enough to have jobs, for example, saw America’s average workweek shrink. It’s now down to only 34 hours — which means less income for “full-time” working families.

There also was another drop in the average hourly wage. Fewer hours, lower wages. That’s not what most people would call an economy “headed in the right direction.” Indeed, the strongest job growth in June came from the low-paying service sector, and nearly half of the 46,000 jobs added there are temporary positions.

Meanwhile, another implosion bomb is set to hit American workers. The public sector, which has been one bright spot for decent wages and benefits, is about to shed tens of thousands of teachers, firefighters, park employees, utility workers and others from state and local governments, sending our country in exactly the wrong direction.

Yet, economists are cheerfully bandying around the most moronic oxymoron I’ve ever heard. They are exulting that we’re presently experiencing a “jobless recovery.”

I don’t see how their minds can put those two words together without having their heads explode! Excuse me, Einsteins, but there’s no such thing. You can spin your data till the cows come home, but an economy that has nearly 20 percent of the work force either unemployed or underemployed, that has no plan for replacing the 8 million jobs we lost in the past two years, that is now proceeding with mass layoffs of such essential workers as teachers and firefighters, and that is willing to accept poverty pay as the new American norm is not by any stretch of the imagination a recovery.

The reality we face is what economist Paul Krugman is frankly calling a “Long Depression.” As happened in a similar decline in the 1870s, those at the top will prosper and take an even larger share of the wealth we all produce, while the majority sees declining income and rising poverty. To hasten this unhappiness, Republican senators have repeatedly blocked an extension of jobless benefits for America’s hardest-hit families, thus intentionally increasing economic pain across our land.

While these Americans are suffering, Republican governors are reaching out — not to help those suffering, but to comfort the comfortable. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, for example, recently dealt with his state’s deficit by slashing spending for public health, higher education, the elderly and the disabled. He then vetoed an income tax on Minnesota’s richest people, declaring that this effort to balance the budget was “nonsensical.” Likewise, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is terminating state workers while vetoing a tax hike on millionaires, calling the wealth tax “irresponsible.”

There is, of course, a way to avert this economic disaster. It’s called leadership. The way out is to enlist our grassroots people in an all-out “Rebuild America” campaign. Stop talking about a green economy, and put Americans to work building it. Also, let’s lead the world in putting high-speed Internet in every home and school. And our crucial national infrastructure, from bridges to parks, is in a sorry state — let’s go to work to repair and improve these public resources.

Destiny calls, but our “leaders” are either self-absorbed, clueless or cowardly. So, we must lead. One place to start this rebuilding is through the Blue-Green Alliance.

Jim Hightower is a national radio commentator, writer, public speaker and author of Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow. Click here for more information, or click here to contact him.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Email
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership
×

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.