Thursday, April 16, 2009

Layoffs dipped last week but there is little comfort in this as the number is still at a level that seems good only compared to recent weeks. Worse still; the total number of unemployed continued to climb; setting an all time record. Foreclosure numbers have skyrocketed and we are yet to get into the big numbers as the ARM resets expected from the glut of really bad sub prime mortgages from two years ago start to kick in. Add to this the millions of people who have lost their middle class jobs and are coming to terms with having burned through their savings and have no real prospect for a decent paying job.

President Obama should have a good understanding about the cause of this mess; as a community organizer before going to law school he worked to find jobs and retraining for people laid off because of the outsourcing of the US steel industry. Most of those people he went to bat for have been retrained four or five times since then as job after job is sent offshore or they have settled for a service sector job at a fraction of their former wages. Their prospects for retirement gone, health care iffy at best, savings and pensions gone. If they managed to hang on to their homes they may now find them worth less than they owe on them.

In short, the people whose plight inspired Obama to go to law school so that he could fight for them are much worse off now than they were then. This is because the outsourcing didn’t stop with industries like steel the way the conservative Democrats and Republicans assured us it would. But President Obama has surrounded himself with economic advisors that still maintain "free trade" is ultimately good for American workers. Obama says he wants better trained workers; there would be more slots open in trade schools if workers weren’t constantly being retrained for jobs that won’t last as long as the training.

The conservatives have always said America needs to be run like a business and that philosophy would fix everything. China is winning big time while we lose because they run their business like a country. Business in China serves the nation and more or less serves the people. In America the nation and its people serve business and we are being consumed by it. Obama needs to find advisors who have figured this out while there is still time.


No. Cal. Refugee said...

I wonder really if China is winning, and if so, what? They own lots of worthless greenish paper (figuratively) and a giant population with high expectations. I feel that they may indeed become the country with the biggest GDP, but that doesn't mean it won't be worse off than it is even now. China has the most boats in the water at the bass tournament. Too bad the lake's fished out. They may win with a nice half pounder, but where's the joy in that?