Bob Herbert: The Great Recession ‘A Different Creature’

Anybody can tell you this, but it’s clear that the current economy recession is not just a normal economic downturn. For many Americans, this is a depression. All told, the US is down 11 million jobs and the deficit hawks are circling above hoping to prevent any real recovery. Why? Who knows.

According to Bob Herbert:

The evidence is stark. More than 44 percent of unemployed Americans have been out of work for six months or longer, the highest rate since World War II. Perhaps more chilling is a new analysis by the Pew Economic Policy Group that found that nearly a quarter of the nation’s 15 million unemployed workers have been jobless for a year or more.

The sad reality of our political climate is that getting anything important done is unrealistically difficult. We have the Teabaggers on one hand (many of home could use a job) bemoaning taxes and government spending. On the other hand we have Democrats who are all-too-often scared or incompetent to make a coherent argument for spending money to create jobs.

Herbert wrote:

Everything in Washington is a heavy lift. The successful struggle to pass last year’s stimulus package fended off an even worse economic disaster, and the Democrats have managed to enact their health care initiative. But the biggest threat to the health of the economy — corrosive, intractable, demoralizing unemployment — is still with us. And the deficit zealots, growing in strength, would do nothing to counter this scourge.

The bottom line is that if the federal government doesn’t spend money right now to create jobs, we aren’t going to have a meaningful recovery. And for Democrats, they will have to do this alone – just like health care. They’ve been bolstered by the health care reform win and they need to carry that momentum forward.

Herbert said:

Right now there is no plan that can even remotely be expected to result in job creation strong enough to rescue the hard-core groups being left behind. These include: long-term unemployed workers who are older; blue-collar workers of all ages; and younger people in the big cities, in the rust belt and in rural areas who are jobless and not well educated.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that they can’t pass another big bill so they’ll have to do it piecemeal.

“You can do smaller pieces,” she said. “You can break the task up into segments, into discrete pieces of legislation. If size is a problem, we should not let it be an obstacle.”

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