Real Recovery Is Easy to Spell: J-O-B-S

The recession is over! The economy is growing! The Dow Jones is above 10,000! Bankers are pocketing profits and fat bonuses! Happy days are here again!

Unless, of course, you're just a regular working stiff struggling
with falling income and rising unemployment - and sensing that your
family's grip on middle-class life is steadily slipping away. Welcome
to America's tinkle-down economy.

The latest job numbers mock the smiley-faced claims of economists and polticos that the Great Recession is over:

- 10.2 percent of America's workforce is officially unemployed - nearly 16 million people.

- Another 15 million people are either so discouraged by their
fruitless job search that they've quit looking, or they've had to
settle for part-time jobs when they want and need full-time employment.
Add the discouraged and underemployed to the number of the officially
unemployed, and the percentage of our people who can't find the work
they need rises to 17.5 percent - one out of every six workers.

- More than a third of the officially unemployed have been jobless
for more than half a year - a new record for long-term joblessness.

- Nearly 15 percent of the unemployed have college degrees, and many more of the college-educated are underemployed.

- October was the 22nd straight month that the U.S. economy lost
jobs - the longest streak since 1939. About 7.3 million jobs have been
eliminated since December 2007, when the recession began. In this same
time span, 2.8 million new workers have come into the job market,
meaning our economy is now 10.1 million jobs short of the number needed
just to get back to even.

- While average wages have risen slightly in the past year, average
weekly pay has stagnated because workers have had their hours cut.

So please excuse our country's workaday majority for not cheering
the news that prosperity has returned to those at the tippy top of
America's economic pyramid. And - please - do not continue to insult
workers with the dismissive declaration that the economy is
experiencing a "jobless recovery." Not only is that an oxymoron, it is

If most American's have not recovered, then neither has our economy.

(Imagine a situation in which working families were prospering, but
corporate profits were down for 22 straight months - do you think
economists and politicos could get away with labeling it a "profitless

Especially galling is the fact that the talk of recovery is mostly
based on the resurrection of Wall Street profits. Conveniently ignored
by exultant bankers is the reality that they would have no profits (and
no banks) except that Washington has propped them up with some $13 trillion in public bailout money.

The rationale for this unprecedented rescue of failed bankers was
that they would reciprocate with a vigorous lending effort to
businesses, which then could start hiring and rebuilding the grassroots
economy that Wall Street greed crushed. But astonishingly, the giveaway
to bankers came with no strings attached! So, instead of pouring
capital into the American countryside, they've gone right back to
casino-style speculation - while pocketing more than $100 billion in
bonuses for themselves.

These people are thieves. They've stolen our public funds, our jobs
and our middle-class aspirations. It's time to grab them by the short
hairs, forcing them to make the loans that our real economy needs - or
have their banks shut down and their capital turned over to community
banks, credit unions and others who will invest in America's productive businesses and workers.

After the latest jobless numbers came out, President Obama said, "I
will not rest until all Americans who want work can find work." Excuse
me, but that's like a lawyer saying to his client, "I'll get you out of
jail if it takes me the rest of your life."

America's workers and communities don't need presidential
assurances, they need action, bold and immediate. As Obama said in last
year's campaign, "We need to pass an economic rescue plan for the
middle class, and we need to do it not five years from now, not next
year, we need to do it right now."

Where did that guy go?

© 2023 Jim Hightower