It is the first Friday of the month, the day when the bureau of Labor
Statistics releases its monthly job report. I hurried along heading for
the coffee shop and as I stepped out into the crosswalk an armored truck
was heading right for me, would he stop in time? I closed my eyes
fearing the worst and thought"Hit Me! Hit Me! Hit Me! The truck managed
to stop and I continued on my way unmolested, but that pretty well sums
up this months job report. About the only way for a regular folks to get
ahead in this economy is to be hit by an armored truck, a lottery
ticket or a drunken doctor in a Ferrari.
The media headlines will proclaim, 163,000 new jobs and unemployment unchanged at 8.3 %
I weary of this tale, they, your government aren't reporting on the
reality of the situation here, they are creating their own reality of
the situation. If they officially declare unemployment at 8.3 percent,
then officially unemployment stands at 8.3 percent. Officially, there
are close to thirteen million Americans unemployed. Officially, that
excludes those working part time and those workers considered
discouraged workers. Unofficially, there is another category, those of
the disappeared. Millions of Americans disappeared from the economy no
longer receiving benefits, no longer considered to be in the workforce.
The media headlines will not tell you the following and officially, the
word "recovery" has been pulled from the media lexicon, replaced by the
Civilian non institutional population up 199,000 while the civilian
labor force is down by a 150,000 or the population is growing, while the
working population is shrinking. The participation rate in the economy
stood at 64 percent last July and twelve months later, it stands at 63.7
percent, recovery anyone? Remember that headline, the one I was telling
you about, the one with the 163,000 new jobs? The actual number of
Americans employed this month fell by 195,000 and the employment --
population ratio, fell as well. The number of those officially
unemployed, rose by 45,000 and the number of workers considered "no
longer in the labor force, rose by 348,000.
Imagine, a city the size of Saint Louis, Tampa or Anaheim just
disappearing from the map with a new city disappearing nearly every
month. The number of workers unemployed over 27 weeks dropped by an
astounding 185,000. They are being pushed over the cliff into the valley
of the shadow of expended benefits while new entrants to the workforce
fell by 20,000. Part time for economic reasons, up by 37,000, could only
find part time work, up by 62,000. If 62,000 out of thirteen million
unemployed could only find part time work, how many out of those
thirteen million, could find none?
The other day as I walked to the coffee shop where I ensconce myself, a
young man approached me walking and talking into a cell phone, coming
from the other direction as he past by I heard, "Well no, I don't have
to get paid everyday, but just the first couple." It was a "Grapes of
Wrath" moment, of workers needing to get paid each day just to get
along, just to make one more day.
When I hear politicians speaking about the economy they tend to speak
about it euphemistically, pretending a recovery is well under way and we
only need to hold on, seeking shelter as if its just a thunder shower
passing over us on a summer day, but its not, its real and its hard. The
signs are all around us, men needing to get paid everyday. People who
can't pay their rent because there is no work for them, Mitt Romney uses
the economy only to bash Obama, Romney's solution is to repeat all the
same mistakes made in the past. It isn't even credible platform really,
it's a mishmash of tax cuts and candy store give aways. Obama points his
finger and cries "Out Sourcer" at Romney but the truth is, Obama's
never met a trade deal he didn't like.
Obama's program if you can call it a program, isn't much different than
Mitt Romney's plan, give corporations tax cuts to hire workers. So if
you give a $30,000 tax cut for a $25,000 job where does the other $5,000
go? The trade deals put the sweetheart deals beyond the reach of
elected officials The Colombian free trade agreement gives Caterpillar
$100,000 tax advantage over its Asian competitors. It means Caterpillar
has a $100,000 pricing advantage in minerally rich Colombia. It also
means Cat doesn't have to set up a locally owned distributorship in the
country. Cat can keep those profits in house and the locals, who are
hired, work for Americans not Colombians. Free trade anyone?
There is what has come to be known as the Wal-Mart phenomenon, as food
stamp recipients begin to gather shopping before midnight, waiting for
their benefits to post when the clock rolls over at midnight. They fill
their carts with milk, bread and baby food. They aren't there for fun or
avoiding the traffic, they are there because they're hungry.
"How can we live without our lives? How will we know it's us without our past?"
- John Steinbeck,
Millions upon millions of Americans who find themselves lost in this
milieu, these are the days of their lives. This invisible army knows the
truth, as officially, wages rose only two cents per hour this month. At
the current rate of employment good times will return to us sometime
late in the month of never! I feel for the young people growing up in
this, never knowing any different, with lowered dreams and lowered
expectations. There was a time when going to college meant something and
not going meant something as well. It meant that you learned a trade
and there was still a possibility for a prosperous lifestyle.
Yet today, all college means is debt, those without college hardly have a
chance to climb any sort of ladder to a better life. Only 30 percent of
our children will ever have a job in high school because those jobs are
filled with people my age. I told this story once, I was sitting in a
burger joint and the manager was interviewing a woman in her forties. He
asked, "It says here you can't work Sundays."
"Yes, she answered, "I go to church on Sundays."
"Well, we really need someone on Sundays. Could you work maybe a couple of Sundays a month, or say after twelve?"
If she wanted this job, she would have to cast her religion aside and in
this economy Jesus would never forgive her for not doing it. These are
the 62,000 who seek part time work because full time isn't available.
These are the people who used to teach your kids, down to the public
school. These are the contractors, car salesmen, Real Estate agents and
secretaries forced into these jobs which suck ass, but they're glad to
get them still because it is an, or else situation. They're the lucky
ones still employable on some level, those who didn't lose homes or
with ruined their credit who will never be hired again at any level.
The junior colleges under an Obama program partner with corporations
such as the Gap, Banana Republic and McDonalds to train managers in
exchange for student debt.
U-6 Total unemployed, plus all persons marginally attached to the labor
force, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent
of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the
labor force, July 2011, 16.3%.
U-6 unemployment for July 2012, 15.5 officially, so what choice do they have?
BUSINESS EMPLOYMENT DYNAMICS: FOURTH QUARTER 2011
From September to December 2011 gross job gains from opening and
expanding private sector establishments were 6.9 million, a decrease
of 204,000 from the previous quarter, the U.S. Bureau of Labor
Statistics reported today. Over this period, gross job losses from
closing and contracting private sector establishments were 6.5 million,
an increase of 181,000 from the previous quarter.
The difference between the number of gross job gains and the number
of gross job losses yielded a net employment change of 368,000 jobs
in the private sector during the fourth quarter of 2011. -- BLS
When it is all said and done, this says it all, less than a 100,000 new
jobs per month for an unemployed population of over 13,000,000 with near
lottery ticket odds of being hired. The BLS reported last month that
temporary and contract employment accounted for over 20 percent of the
new jobs, as the sound of gears gnashing and of fat ladies singing can
clearly be heard in the distance. And if you listen closely, you can
almost hear the economy crashing and the sound of the gears grinding to a
Right now, in millions of American homes, good people scratch and dig,
they sell their gold, their mother's heirlooms, anything, trying to make
it just one more month. Every empty store front is the end of a dream
and every foreclosed home is the beginning of a nightmare. Losing a home
isn't the end; it's just the beginning of a new existence. They won't
leave off at just taking your house they must hound you and put the
squeeze on you as well. Your credit ruined because the economy collapsed
who can you turn to, to make them whole again? Where is the road out
for these people?
"But you can't start over
only a boy can start over
You and me
Why, we're all that's been"- John Steinbeck
This is their life, and they don't get to be twenty or thirty or forty
ever again, this is it. It's not a thunderstorm, it's a hurricane. The
economy isn't getting any better because they aren't trying to make it
any better, cause it don't affect them none.
"Let me say,
at the risk of seeming ridiculous,
that the true revolutionary
is guided by great feelings of love."- Ernesto Che Guevara