The “New Normal”

Guess what?  Unemployment is up again!  That’s right – even though Wall Street is swimming in cash and the Obama administration is declaring that “the recession is over”, the U.S. unemployment rate has gone even higher.  So are you enjoying the jobless recovery?  The truth is that there should not be any talk of a “recovery” as long as the “official” unemployment rate remains at around 10 percent and the “real” unemployment continues to hover around 17 percent.  There are millions and millions of American families that are living every day in deep pain because of the lack of jobs…

TO READ MORE – Jobless Recovery?: 25 Unemployment Statistics That Are Almost Too Depressing To Read

21 Responses to The “New Normal”

  • You seem to have an enormous appetite for obnoxious fringe literature. Did you ever ask yourself why?

  • I agree that unemployment is a serious problem. The question is what to do about it. Monetary stimulus (such as the QEII program) and fiscal stimulus (such as the extension of the Bush tax cuts) are designed to help reduce unemployment by getting nominal spending back to its pre-crisis trend.

  • I have a suspicion the labor market will take more than a decade to heal properly. Unemployment rates in Britain peaked in the early part of 1986, about three years after the country’s economy had resumed its expansion.

  • Art,

    Sadly I think you may be right. Experience suggests that the longer people are unemployed the harder it is for them to get back into the labor market. Right now I believe about 40% of the unemployed have been so for more than six months.

  • Art Deco – Why don’t you deal with the content of his post? He provides reference links to every point that he makes.

    I found it to be an interesting post worth alerting folks to. By the way, the vast majority of links I provide normally come from Bloomberg, Reuters, CNBC, etc.

    Am I open to alternative media? Yes, I am thankful for it… Websites and blogs like our own here.

  • Why don’t you deal with the content of his post? He provides reference links to every point that he makes.

    For the same reason I do not engage in line by line readings of the writings of Robert Welch.

    Mortimer Adler and Charles van Doren published several editions of a guide called How to Read a Book. Among their recommendations is that in approaching a piece of literature, one size up every cue their is about its content, browse the index, read the first and last page, skim rapidly, &c. One makes a preliminary examination and then decides on whether or not to do an ‘inspectional reading’; one undertakes an inspectional reading and then decides whether to do a line by line reading and so forth.

    Unidentified individuals peddling social apocalypse I put in a category equivalent to the category I would place a book with a title like None Dare Call It Conspiracy, i.e. diversions for people with an affinity for that sort of thing. It is not the sort of think that merits close reading. There is ample literature out there generated by people who have made a serious study of economic life their vocation. I do not understand why you waste your time on this crap, and, no, I am not going to waste my time with yours.

  • Art Deco & others – Our desire and interest should be in discovering the truth. Are the unemployment statistics that he gives true? Are the 25 statistics that he references accurate and verifiable? He provides outside references to every statistic that he gives. That’s why dealing with the actual content is important. Why not deal with the object or subject of the post. Are you arguing that unemployment is lower then what he states? Are you arguing that the various stimulus under W. and Obama and QEII helped (or is helping) to reduce unemployment? Engage the actual subject of the post.

  • David,

    The facts cited in the article are generally correct. I believe that the Fed’s actions have kept unemployment lower than it otherwise would have been. Hopefully things like QEII and the new tax deal will help spur growth and reduce unemployment.

  • Art,

    You could stand to be less snippy in your comments to David. Implied personal attacks generally aren’t very persuasive.

  • Forum civility seems to be the standard on AC, and although I admit to being snarky at times, I still respect all views posted on this website, however misinformed : )

    Aside to Art: Have you ever read Charles Van Doren’s book “The Joy of Reading.” ? Well done introduction to some great literature. His father, Mark, wasn’t a bad poet either.

    Blackadder inquiry: Given your study of jobless stats, was wondering what your take is on extending unemployment benefits. After all, what is the incentive to look for a job if you can collect a paycheck from the government for up to two years, ranging from $250 in the South to as much as $900 a week in the People’s Republic of Massachusetts?

    Perhaps some kind of measurable “indolent” index ought to be reflected in the “official” unemployment report every month.

  • Joe,

    You’re right that UI creates a disincentive for people to find new jobs, though this effect is muted when you have high levels of unemployment. Ideally I would rather the money was spent on wage subsidies, or on employer-side payroll tax cuts (which function the same way).

  • You could stand to be less snippy in your comments to David. Implied personal attacks generally aren’t very persuasive.

    I am implying not one thing. I am saying in explict terms that he is spending time reading junk literature when he could be reading good literature. If that fails to persuade, too bad. (That actually was snippy).

  • Have you ever read Charles Van Doren’s book “The Joy of Reading.” ?

    No. I will look into it. Thanks.

  • Anecdotally, Adder, I ran into someone this morning, who worked for many years as an $8.50-per-hour convenience store clerk and was fired the other day. She says she’s going to “sit back and collect unemployment for as long as I can. My husband says why should I go to work when I can get more staying home and driving a school bus 3 months a year?”

    The Welfare State is alive and well.

  • Unemployment usually works out to about 40% of your prior earnings. This can often be less if you hit benefit caps. Those are hit pretty quickly in the south.

    BTW, how is it the clerk’s fault that her employment was terminated without cause*? Should she feel guilty for receiving a benefit she paid premiums for? Should she just be happy that she was a victim of arbitrary and capricious action? Or are you just making up crap to validate your ideology?

    *Cause being defined simply as that which would deny an UE claim.

  • MZ, first I am not making it up.

    Secondly, you may reasonably infer from my comments that I was critical of the recipient; to a degree I am because it suggests indolence on her part and those whose attitude is that just because they paid premiums they are somehow entitled to benefits. Those benefits should be after an effort is made to acquire employment, in my view. Not having ever collected any such benefits in 50 years of working, I am still under the impression that state laws require that some regular effort be made to get a job in order to stay on the dole. Perhaps, being more familiar with such benefits, you can enlighten me on this point.

    By the way, she was not fired for any just cause — she told me her employer state that “by law” he did not have to give a reason.

  • UE beneficiaries are required to file two applications per week in their field. After a certain number of weeks the requirement changes to work they are qualified to do. (There are 51 variations of unemployment, so there is a little variation here.) Generally they are not allowed to decline work due to wage concerns although there is typically some flexibility at the beginning of UE for that.

    I’m having difficulty understanding this though. On what basis are you claiming she is acting illegitimately for collecting a benefit for which she has paid and in a situation she did not cause?

    The employer can certainly fire at wire, but he is still liable for unemployment if he doesn’t do so for cause.

  • I never used the word “illegitimately” nor suggested that what she is doing is in any way unlawful. I wouldn’t even fault her on moral or ethical grounds. Merely reporting facts and giving my opinion that it seems the “work ethic” has eroded in American life because of socialistic trends that many would say began in the 1930′s with FDR. In essence, if you can’t take care of yourself, the government will. I understand this is called a “safety net” and as a Social Security recipient it would be hypocritical of me to complaint. But since I paid in I suppose I am “entitled” to the benefits that I helped finance.

    Thanks for clarification.

  • On what basis are you claiming she is acting illegitimately for collecting a benefit for which she has paid and in a situation she did not cause?

    The idea behind UI is that you are supposed to be looking for another job while you are collecting them. If you aren’t really doing that then you are cheating the system.

  • “why should I go to work when I can get more staying home and driving a school bus 3 months a year?”

    I was in that situation some years ago — I lost a job, was on UI for two months, and accepted a new job that paid LESS than what I got in unemployment benefits. In retrospect, I probably could have held out a little bit longer and found something that paid better, but at the time I was deathly afraid of staying out of the workforce too long and leaving a gap in my resume. There was also the matter of obtaining health insurance for my family, since there was no way I could afford COBRA coverage, and I thought I didn’t qualify for Medicaid (I later found out that my daughter did, at least). Nobody had to prod me to keep looking for another job — looking for work became a full-time job in and of itself :-)

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