Unemployment & Civil Unrest

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

In Summer 1965, the US suffered through much turmoil, including the Watts riots.

Today in the US, we again are having civil unrest, but with a major difference. Today’s unrest appears to be more organized, with police and other authorities as specific targets.

Even the “lone wolf” attacks seem to have a common thread tying them together – Islam. Now, I’m not saying that most American born muslims are set on destroying our country, but before you dismiss me as a racist, you might want to reread the current events of the last couple of years.

Most of the press stories seem to be placing the blame squarely on the Republicans – currently in office and hopefuls on the campaign trail. While many Republicans in Congress are complicit with the policies that are hurting all Americans – including poor blacks – for the most part, they aren’t the ones coming up with these stupid policies.

A huge factor in the discontent is the sky high unemployment in the US. True, the official, headline unemployment number shows the US approaching Boom conditions, but as with so much that our government says, the official numbers are lies.

The official numbers don’t count people who have fallen off the unemployment payment rolls. They count part time workers the same as full time workers. Worse even, part timers who hold down 2-3 jobs to earn what a full timer would make are counted as 2-3 people! And, the official numbers count low salary services employees the same as high pay manufacturing staff. (The US has lost millions of the manufacturing slots and replaced them with millions of services jobs for many, many years.)

But why are so many Americans unemployed and underemployed? The reasons are many.

One is the inability of many young Americans to get that first job, where they can gain the experience and skills needed to move up the job and pay ladder. The Minimum Wage and the recent hike in the Minimum Wage are the major culprits. In my home state of Massachusetts, you can work for $0 (volunteer) or you can work for $10 an hour, but for nothing in between. (My first job was for $1 an hour!) You may have read about Wendy’s announcement that they were going to implement greater automation and would lay off workers. Cause… and effect.

The growth of the Welfare Safety Net also has helped grow unemployment. With 50 Million Americans on Food Stamps, they no longer need to go through the inconvenience and indignity of working to put food on the table. They can “pursue other interests” while other toil to feed them.

High federal spending & taxation destroy jobs. Job creation requires capital. (That’s where the name Capitalism comes from.) The money in the Economy can go either to the government or stay within the private, productive sector. What is paid in tribute to government is not available to create jobs, making all Americans poorer.

Much (most?) of that federal spending goes for programs which actually hurt the US Economy. A good example is Global Warming R&D spending. I read recently that government spending on subsidies and research/propaganda on Global Warming has surpassed $165 Billion since this CAGW madness started.

All this contributes to the unemployed Americans, many of whom are mad as Hell. While much of the data has been massaged beyond recognition, the number of Americans (of working age) who are in the labor force tells a more accurate story. With about a 4% drop, this means that over 10 Million Americans have given up hope of finding a job. Unemployment really is over 10 Million higher than the official numbers.

The current administration blames everyone else for the unrest in our country, rather than pointing the finger inward where most of the blame belongs. The deception and outright lies remind me of the Islamic term Taqiyya. But, this American says that it is Not OK for our leaders (and candidates) to lie to us as a matter of policy. We’ll see what happens in November.

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