Friday, March 04, 2011

Why nobody in power seems to care about unemployment

Chris Hayes via Kevin Drum:

There are two numbers that go a long way toward explaining it. The first is 4.2. That’s the percentage of Americans with a four-year college degree who are unemployed....So while the overall economy continues to suffer through the worst labor market since the Great Depression, the elite centers of power have recovered. For those of us fortunate enough to have graduated from college—and to have escaped foreclosure or an underwater mortgage—normalcy has returned.

The other number is 5.7 percent. That’s the unemployment rate for the Washington/Arlington/Alexandria metro area and just so happens to be lowest among large metropolitan areas in the entire country.

....What these two numbers add up to is a governing elite that is profoundly alienated from the lived experiences of the millions of Americans who are barely surviving the ravages of the Great Recession. As much as the pernicious influence of big money and the plutocrats’ pseudo-obsession with budget deficits, it is this social distance between decision-makers and citizens that explains the almost surreal detachment of the current Washington political conversation from the economic realities working-class, middle-class and poor people face.

Drum adds more about the climate of political hopelessness around government government action around employment.

Just because I got a job offer doesn't mean I'm going to stop harping on unemployment. Millions more people are out of work than in recent years, but everyone in power thinks this isn't a crisis and 9% unemployment is the new normal. I wish more politicians would talk about this, especially the Democrats who ought to be the party to represent those with less economic power.

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