Even if you haven’t followed the news lately, you know one thing for sure about our country… record job losses have left over 9 million Americans out of work, and our unemployment rate stands today above 8 percent. It has touched every one of our lives in some way. Chances are that you either lost your job or know someone that has. In short, things ain’t what they used to be. Somehow though, amongst all of the devastation, the facts of who lost these jobs, and why they were lost seem to be continually lost in the shuffle. In order to understand and hopefully avoid this cycle, we need to be reminded of what is going on.
This Recession was born from corruption, fraud and bad investments within the Private Sector. Remember the Collateralized Debt Obligations, Mortgage-Backed Securities and all of the other crazy, phony things that were being sold on Wall Street? Remember the mortgages that were being sold to unsuspecting families where their payments would TRIPLE overnight, and when they fell behind on their loans, they were thrown to the street in foreclosure? Remember the Bernie Madoff, R. Allen Stanford, robosigners and all of the other corporate giants that turned out to be nothing more than common crooks that were robbing Peter to pay Paul? Remember DHL, Circuit City, the Sharper Image and all the other companies that closed up shop and put their ENTIRE workforce on unemployment? Yeah, that was the Recession… 4 million jobs were lost in the private sector.
But what about the other 5 million jobs? Where did those come from?? State and local governments have slashed positions left and right since 2009. Teachers, firefighters, police, state and city parks systems… virturally every city in America also lost public workers due to this Recession. This of course was everywhere, and by no means can it be confined to the GOP.
Ok wait, that last part is only half-right. According to The Nation, Red states have seen the swiftest and deepest of these austere cuts… much more than their blue-state counterparts. Even as states like Texas continue to have increasing (and sometimes alarming) demand for more teachers and more public services, they are ignoring the needs of Texans and cutting government Employees at every opportunity. Even as private sector growth began to heal, these jobs didn’t (and can’t) come back until state government takes real action to CREATE them.
Public sector work continues to be slashed and burned even to this day, and hasn’t begun to recover. But Private sector jobs continue to rebound, and are now in the 14th month of continuous employment growth. In fact according to this chart from the Center for American Progress, Private sector employment hit a “milestone” last month. We have now gained 4 million jobs within the Private sector… that puts us back at 0. Exciting? No, of course not. But it’s very important to understand.
Government austerity continues to plague our state and local legislatures, and is now dragging on our hopes for national recovery. Some people think this is a good thing, but seeing as it’s teachers, police, firefighters and government workers that are getting cut, these job losses have a significant effect on our community. Larger class sizes means a tougher time educating our children. Fewer police means less people out there risking their lives to keep us safe. Austerity has consequences, and if the United States truly doesn’t want to end up like Europe, we need to stop the bleed while we have the chance.
So please… say no to GOP-led AUSTERITY.
(Today marks 26 weeks until the Presidential election. I intend to post each week until then.)
UPDATE: Even Catholic Bishops are opposed to the hyper-austerity within the Ryan Budget, calling the cuts “immoral”…
“The Catholic bishops of the United States recognize the serious deficits our country faces, and we acknowledge that Congress must make difficult decisions about how to allocate burdens and sacrifices and balance resources and needs,” Blaire wrote. “However, deficit reduction and fiscal responsibility efforts must protect and not undermine the needs of poor and vulnerable people. The proposed cuts to programs in the budget reconciliation fail this basic moral test.”
The bishop, speaking for the entire conference, the official body representing Vatican in the United States, urged politicians to “ensure all policies meet the moral criteria established by the Catholic bishops of the United States to create a circle of protection around programs that serve poor and vulnerable people and communities:”
As a nation with many faith believers, shouldn’t we take this seriously??