We Americans must be a remarkably patient people. It's been four years since Wall Street ruined the economy, we're nearly nine million jobs behind where we need to be, and for years our politicians have debated how much less -- not how much more -- they'll do about it.
We've patiently endured lectures about "tightening our belts" while most Americans watched their wages decline. We've stood by as corporate forces manipulated politicians and the press into a manufactured sense of deficit hysteria, watched several rounds of spending cuts make our problems worse, and seen our austerity ideologies discredited by events.
And yet there are no uprisings, no mass demonstrations, no demands for jobs now and an end to any further cuts until the economy's working again.
As we were saying: A remarkably patient people. You could even say too patient.
Now we're about to be hit with another round of devastating spending cuts, thanks to the so-called "sequester." Here are 14 reasons to rise up and demand action on our real problems once and for all.
1. We need nine million jobs.
The Wall Street financial crisis left us with a "jobs deficit" of nearly nine million: 3.2 million jobs lost because of the recession and 5.3 million jobs which haven't been added as the workforce continues to grow.
This has been especially brutal for young people, minorities, and the long-term unemployed.
2. We're not creating nearly enough jobs to get us out of the hole.
The revised numbers show that we created an average of 175,000 jobs per month in 2012. That's better than the 150,000 initially reported, but it's not nearly enough. As Heidi Shierholz of the Economic Policy Institute notes, we'd need 330,000 per month to achieve acceptable employment by the end of 2015.
January's jobs report showed 157,000 new jobs.That rate of job creation doesn't get us to acceptable levels of employment until 2021.
3. Middle-class jobs are disappearing.
A new paper from the National Bureau for Economic Research confirms what many people have long suspected: Middle-class jobs are disappearing. It's called "polarization" -- the hollowing out of middle-income jobs, leaving only low-paying jobs as well as a few very highly paid ones.
The "polarizing" losses have been even more severe as the result of the last recession, and they're not coming back.
4. Youth unemployment is still at devastating levels -- while older Americans can't retire.