Labor Daze

The “Huffington Post” produced this article by Les Leopold:

“Why the Big Lie About the Job Crisis?”

“The August unemployment numbers are ugly, yet again”, is the way Mr. Leopold begins. “Nearly 30 million Americans are still jobless or forced into part-time jobs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics official unemployment rate is 9.6%. Its broader and more telling jobless rate of 16.7% confirms that we’re stuck in our own version of the Great Depression. We’ll need more than 22 million new jobs to bring us back to full employment.

“To get out of this quagmire we’ll have to face up to two fundamental facts:

1. “We really are in the midst of a horrific jobs crisis. All the happy talk about the economy being on the road to recovery is just plain old denial. We’ll never find jobs for all the people who need them until we recognize that this employment crisis poses a clear and present danger to our republic. Modern capitalist societies require full employment. When we don’t have it for long periods of time, chaos ensues. What’s missing in Washington is a sense of urgency. Denial is dangerous – and an insult to the unemployed.

2. “We must face up to the real causes of this mess. Unfortunately, a lot of Americans are succumbing to a wrong-headed narrative that has been pushed into our heads …

“‘The era of excess is over,’ they like to tell us. ‘We need to cut back on spending and borrowing. We need to reduce government debt by raising the Social Security retirement age and cutting social programs. We’ve got to streamline our public sector by laying off public employees and cutting back their lavish pensions. And all workers will have to adjust to an era of intense foreign competition: We’ve got to reduce our wage and benefit demands if our companies are going to compete globally. We have to live within our means.’

“In short, we gorged ourselves until the economy crashed. Now we’ve got to tighten our belts and accept less to get it going again. It’s simple and logical.” And ….. dead wrong …

“It’s time to say ‘the end’ to the ‘We’re all to blame’ fairytale,” is the way Mr. Leopold concludes. “Let’s start a new story this Labor Day. It’s called, ‘Put our people back to work.'” –

Good advice, Mr. Leopold, but how will we create the “22 million new jobs” we need? By rebuilding “infrastructure”, with WPA-type projects as the pundits are now suggesting? How will that help? Where is the “multiplier effect” in new (and useless) highways and railroads? The WPA didn’t end the Great Depression of the 1930s. Been there, done that.

But shipbuilding? Been there, and done that, too – and it created more than “22 million new jobs”!!