Interesting piece in the New York Times about how the unemployed are invisible and without any fight. It mentions that back in the ‘30’s there were riots at bread lines and such and wonders the lack of fight today.
It notes that back in the ‘30’s they waited on Roosevelt for a solution. And they did get a lot of activity from ’33 to ’36 dubbed the New Deal much of which directly helped working people. Today we have folks waiting for Pied Piper Obama to bring them to the promised land. They’re going to have to wait a long time. Aside for some tax credits the man has done squat for workers and now he’s cooking up some terrible $4 trillion deal with his golf buddy Bohener to savagely cut Medicaid and other social benefits.
Why are the unemployed (and the working poor and insecure middle income workers) so passive? Part has to do with social benefits. Back in the early ‘30’s there was nothing, no unemployment insurance, no money for disabled, no Social Security, etc. There’s a little now to keep people going. But it’s not much and “60 Minutes” is filled with pathetic stories of once middle income people living in “hotels” and in their cars.
But mostly I blame the union leadership for the passivity (note, I’ve been a union member for over 40 years). They are so wedded to the Democrats as “the solution” that they do nothing else but tail them and their Herbert Hoover solutions. None of them even talk seriously about a public jobs program like the WPA. And they organize people to waste their time by getting out the vote for Democratic “friends”.
In Connecticut a Democratic “friend” was elected government and then said take $2 billion in pay/pension/benefit cuts or I’ll layoff thousands. He didn’t call for attacks on union rights directly so he was still a good “friend” and so the union leaders started bargaining. Not one demanded that Obama come up with the money for the states like he did for the banks. Nothing about ending the wars and bringing the war dollars home. Instead the pork choppers came up with a deal, “only” $1.6 billion in cuts, some extending over ten years. But lo and behold the rank and file turned it down.
Typically when the layoffs are actually on the point of taking place the pork choppers have a re-vote and put on a full court press full of the worst hysteria and bring the ranks into line. But so far that hasn’t happened in CT. So we may see 7,000 layoffs, long lines at government office and incredibly overworked people. And no one demanding anything else.
Yahoo News points out the next big hit to workers is coming at the start of 2012. The 99 weeks of unemployment that Congress approved in return for keeping the Bush era tax cuts expires then. “ Moody’s Analytics estimates that when the benefits expire, $37 billion will be taken out of the economy,”