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Blog of Mass Destruction

Our Most Dangerous Threat......Unemployment

By The Reverend Published: April 26, 2013

Other than the 2010 GOP midterm election campaign talking point of "jobs, jobs, jobs", not one policy has been forwarded to increase employment. Other than the taunt directed towards President Obama by Speaker Boehner, "where are the jobs, Mr President?", the House that Boehner controls has not forwarded one piece of legislation which would create jobs.

Unemployment has been our nation's number one problem for over 4 years....and no one in the federal government is doing anything about it. The national unemployment rate is still 7.6%. Millions of Americans are still looking for jobs that simply do not exist.

The labor force participation rate is the lowest in 35 years, and the figure of about 11.7 million Americans officially out of work doesn’t capture the fact that 102 million working-age Americans don’t have jobs – about 41.5 percent of all potentially available workers, said Keith Hall, who until last year was the commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Those numbers are disastrous.

An economic adviser to the last three Republican presidential candidates, Kevin Hassett, labeled the stubbornly high rates of long-term unemployment a national emergency.

Hassett testified Wednesday before the Joint Economic Committee. The hearing began with only Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), vice-chairperson, in attendance. Later, 3 other Democratic congressional members also attended, Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy, Maryland Rep. John Delaney and Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings......but that's it. Even though 5 continuous years of very high unemployment after the Bush Bankster Meltdown has left our national employment situation in a state of national emergency.....it seems as if few in Washington even care.

Instead of confronting our unemployment emergency, here's what the House has been very busy doing....

Between 2011 and 2013, Republicans wasted about 88 hours and $50 million in taxpayer money on their failed votes to repeal Obamacare. Meanwhile, the 112th Congress failed to pass a single piece of legislation to create jobs.

36 different pieces of....legislation....to repeal Obamacare were voted on in the House. A total waste of 50 million in tax dollars to convince faith-based conservative voters that Republican House members are really, really.....effing really.....not happy with Obamacare.

But nothing on jobs.

Nothing from the House on solving the national emergency of long term unemployment. And with the crazy-maze style redistricting done by GOP-led states after the census.....the prospects of Congress doing ANYTHING to deal with our unemployment emergency in the next 8-10 years are slim to non-existent.

This failure to address our most threatening domestic emergency is bewildering. It's as if Congress doesn't want to address the unemployment crisis. Why would that be the case?

Republicans in the House, where all legislation is supposed to start, have only two responses to high unemployment. Tax cuts on alleged job creators (translation: the rich) and fewer regulations on business and industry. Even though most economists acknowledge that our employment crisis remains a crisis because demand for goods and services is just too low.....and has nothing to do with regulations or tax rates.....tax cuts and deregulation are all that House Republicans have to offer, that is, when they're not voting again to repeal Obamacare or defund Planned Parenthood.

On the other hand, Democrats in the Senate can't pass anything without at least 5 Republican votes....as we witnessed in the Senate vote (54-46) on the Manchin-Toomey background-check-for-gun-purchases amendment. And even if Democrats did manage to pass a public works program, or comparable, the House would not even bring it to the floor.

One way to approach the question of...why?....is to ask the question: Is high unemployment desirable in the eyes of Congress? Has maintaining high unemployment become the preferred path instead of a serious national problem worthy of solving?

High unemployment means lower wages for everyone. When demand for labor is thin, the price for labor goes down.....a supply and demand thing. When unemployment is less of a threat, for example during the late 90's, the price for labor increases because labor is in demand. The question to ask ourselves is, who benefits when labor is not in high demand? The answer is....large business interests. When labor is not in demand, large business interests benefit by paying out lower labor costs and posting higher profits, as we've witnessed during the current depression.

So, that leaves me with this.......is Congress purposely avoiding addressing our national emergency of unemployment in order to please big business donors who pay for their campaigns?

Finally, I remember how I felt when I witnessed, week after week, the yearlong fraud campaign by the Bushies to lie us into attacking Iraq. I kept telling myself that this couldn't happen....surely someone would stop the lunacy. But no one did.

I feel the same way today about the forgotten crisis of unemployment. High, chronic unemployment is a threat to our national economic security....unlike Iraq, unemployment is a clear and present danger for millions of Americans.....but Congress is still acting as if there is no emergency at all.
 

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