fresh voices from the front lines of change







The August unemployment data are out. The unemployment rate was “about unchanged” at 9.6 percent,” says the BLS press release. Teenagers “showed little change” at 26.3 percent, as did African Americans (16.3 percent) and Hispanics (12.0 percent). You can feel the boredom in the release. No change, no news, nothing to report.

But the data are screaming! Unemployment this high is terrible. An unsustainable national disaster. And behind every unemployed person is another person who is underemployed or has given up trying. A Gallup survey released September 2 shows 18.6 percent of American workers “are either unemployed or working part time but wanting full-time work.” Yes, that’s the same Gallup that showed an unprecedented ten point Republican lead heading into the midterm elections.

What are the Democrats supposed to do about it? It’s crazy that they don’t know. Six in ten voters support “a plan to invest in new industries and rebuild the country over the next five years.” But the Democrats aren’t even trying. They are cowering in the corner.

So I’ll say it all again. Rebuild the old infrastructure. Start new national networks of broadband and high speed rail. Put people to work laying rail and building wind turbines, with parts made in America. Finance it with top end taxation, financial transaction taxes and a national infrastructure bank. End the tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas.

We aren’t doing any of that. The White House’s latest plan is tax cuts for business, a trick straight out of the Republican playbook.

But if people want Republicans, they can just vote for them. In fact, they might.

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