Obama's Backwards Approach to the Middle Classby Gerri Willis
The problem with the media is that they get tired of stories and just want to move on. For example, take unemployment- the fact that this has been the worst recovery for jobs on record is something the media just can't get all that interested in.
USAToday ran a story saying that private-sector employment topped its pre-recession high, if housing related industries are excluded. That’s nice, but you can't do that because housing is the big kahuna of job creation.
That's why I want to talk about jobs today because we can't ignore it. The number of jobs in this country has fallen from 139 million at the peak of the labor market in November 2007 to 132 million today. A total drop of 6.4 million jobs from the peak.
If you include those who are working part-time because they can't find fulltime jobs, the 10 million who have stopped looking for work, and those who are marginally attached to the workforce, real unemployment is 14.5%.
The signs of distress are everywhere. As we’ve talked about before, 15% of the total population is on food stamps. Another record that we don't like to talk about is the 11 million Americans who are collecting Social Security checks to compensate for disability.
These are shocking statistics that should have all of our attention. It should have Congress up in arms, but instead, we've accepted it. It’s like that embarrassing uncle that nobody wants to claim.
It's pretty easy to hide the problem because unlike the Great Depression there are no long soup lines to get the media's attention. The family getting food stamps goes unremarked. Another able bodied worker on unemployment? That's just the way it goes.
But it shouldn't be acceptable to a nation that can still boast the biggest economy in the world.
In his State of the Union, the President talked about how a growing middle class is essential for a growing economy. The truth is it works the other way. We have to have a growing economy to get a rising middle class. That will mean less regulation, lower taxes and an attitude towards businesses large and small that is encouraging.