Words of Advice:

"If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

"Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground
Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It." -- Unknown

“Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level
and then beat you with experience.” -- Mark Twain

"Stay Strapped or Get Clapped." -- probably not Mr. Rogers

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Bottom Line on Unemployment

This is as I see it: 10% unemployment and 20% underemployment is acceptable to most of our government.

Most of them don't care. The Federal Reserve is worried more about inflation going above 2% than they are worried about 10% unemployment and the horrific housing market. You don't have to be Paul Krugman to know that the reason that the unemployment rate isn't higher is because a hell of a lot of people have simply given up.

If you send out resume after resume and do networking and work the phones and go to job fairs, at some point it is going to catch up to you and you may think that sitting in the park with a plastic flask of cheap vodka is a better alternative. Moreso if you're the second earner in a two-income household; you may be able to strip your expenses back and live cheaply and meanly on one income. If you are in your early 60s, you might say "fuck it" and apply for Social Security. Any of those things will take you out of the labor pool.

The fact that your removal from the labor pool was involuntary matters not a whit to most anybody in charge. It sure as fuck doesn't matter to the corporate interests, as they love nothing more than a ready pool of people who will work for dogshit wages under bad conditions. The companies don't mind that they are fobbing part of their employment costs onto the rest of us.

Things are not improving anytime soon.

As a species, we kind of have it coming. It's not as though anyone didn't understand that the easily-extractable oil was going to be exhausted some day. Our government has been more than happy to hand over resources to corporate interests, which is why the days of helium balloons will soon be over. That's just one example, the whole "natural gas fracking" business is another. Extraction industries are, to some degree, legalized piracy, for what they take out is gone forever.

We've had plenty of warning. We've had plenty of time to develop technology and energy sources that depended less on extraction. But hey, that sort of thinking and preparation requires long-term planning. That isn't going to happen when politicians only care about the next election and corporations only care about quarterly profits.

It's not just extraction industries, of course. The fact that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas has been known for over a century. What would happen when trillions of tons of carbon dioxide were pumped into the atmosphere was foreseeable back when Henry Ford was tinkering with cars.

But nobody paid much attention. Just like they didn't pay attention to what would happen when millions of tons of soot were pushed out of smokestacks, or what would happen when tetraethyl lead was added to gasoline or when industrial chemicals and raw sewage were dumped into rivers and lakes. We've had example after example of people throwing shit into the air and water and believing in the "big sky/water, little pollution" theory.

We'll also exterminate more and more plant and animal species, but few people will care. When the last one of any particular species is gone, the predictable hand-wringing will begin.

We never learn, do we?

I imagine that as humanity gets further and further into this century, that life for most people on this planet will suck more and more. If you have grandchildren who are being born now, you can probably rest assured that by the time they reach your age, they will be cursing your memory and those of your generation for not being ahead of the problem.

$4 a gallon gasoline is just the harbinger of things to come. Or, if you like, the Cassandra.

Have a nice day.

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