When Hope Fails, When Jobless Pays

Artwork by Vasile Stan

So, lots of Americans lose hope. And why not? It’s pretty miserable for people out there:

Here’s the text, if you’re at work and can’t watch the video:

CHYRON: “WELCOME TO THE RECOVERY” OBAMA TREASURY SEC. TIMOTHY GEITHNER NY TIMES 8/2/10
CHYRON: 9.5% UNEMPLOYMENT
CROWD: [cheering] Obama, Obama, Obama!
CHYRON: 14.6 MILLION UNEMPLOYED
BARACK OBAMA: Thank you.
CHYRON: 2.5 MILLION JOBS LOST SINCE THE STIMULUS
CROWD: [cheering] Obama, Obama, Obama!
BARACK OBAMA: Thank you.
CHYRON: 40.8 MILLION ON FOOD STAMPS
CHYRON: $13 TRILLION NATIONAL DEBT
MAN’S VOICE: You work for us! You work for us!
CHYRON: $43,000 AVERAGE AMERICAN SHARE OF THE NATIONAL DEBT
WOMAN’S VOICE: And that’s being rammed down our throats.
CHYRON: $1.47 TRILLION RECORD DEFICIT
MAN’S VOICE 2: You wouldn’t let anybody speak.
BARACK OBAMA: After 18 months, I can say with confidence we are on the right track.
CHYRON: DEFICIT OF HOPE

I’m still staggering at the Food Stamps statistic, forget the trillions with a “T” of debt. Insanity.

And yet, what amazes me is how relatively quiet the press are about the fate of most Americans. Also, the lack of economic understanding that results in problems described by the Wall Street Journal’s Mark Whitehouse:

With a 9.5% jobless rate and some 15 million Americans looking for work, many employers are inundated with applicants. But a surprising number say they are getting an underwhelming response, and many are having trouble filling open positions.

“This is as bad now as at the height of business back in the 1990s,” says Dan Cunningham, chief executive of the Long-Stanton Manufacturing Co., a maker of stamped-metal parts in West Chester, Ohio, that has been struggling to hire a few toolmakers. “It’s bizarre. We are just not getting applicants.”

So, why is this happening?

Employers say getting people to move for work has been especially difficult this time. Often, that is a function of the mortgage and credit problems many potential employees face. In a recent study, Fernando Ferreira and Joseph Gyourko of the University of Pennsylvania, together with Joseph Tracy of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, found that people who owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth are about a third less mobile.

At Emirates, four cabin-crew job fairs the airline held in Miami, Houston, San Francisco and Seattle attracted an average of about 50 people each, compared to a global average of about 150 and as many as 1,000 at some events in Europe and Asia. “I would have liked to have seen more and would have expected to see more,” says Rick Helliwell, vice president of recruitment.

The jobs require little more than a high-school diploma and fluency in English. They include free accommodation and medical care, and starting pay of about $30,000 a year. Mr. Helliwell speculates that Americans might be hesitant to move to Dubai, where the jobs are based. “Maybe they have less of an adventurous spirit” given the uncertainties they face at home, he said.

The obstacles to moving are aggravated because many employers no longer provide the same job security they have in the past. Temporary jobs, for example, have increased 21% since September 2009 as more employers–including Mechanical Devices–hire through staffing agencies to help control health-care costs and maintain flexibility.

So, people who shouldn’t have received mortgages did and they’re stuck and can’t move or lose everything. Who’s to blame? Gongress.

So, employers are only offering temporary jobs due to instability and longterm employer costs (can you say CardCheck, Obamacare, etc.?): Who is to blame? Congress and the President.

So, unemployment benefits outstrip actual pay so there’s a disincentive to finding a job and the market can’t correct. Who is to blame? Congress and the President.

And with the longterm debt/deficit numbers so high, employers know that the taxman will come knocking. Basically the government has created “this mess” (favorite Obama phrase) and the policies of the Democrats have made it worse.

And this is only a surprise to the ever shocked economists and Democrats in charge.

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