A National Dilemma is Turning Into a National Tragedy
Here’s a radical statement that will shock people. “A high unemployment rate is not necessarily a serious economic problem”. Really, that is true under some circumstances. What are the circumstances? If unemployment is high but the length of time of unemployment is very low, that is not a serious economic problem.
If, for example the unemployment rate were 15% but 99% of the people who were unemployed found jobs in 5 weeks or less, then the high unemployment rate would not be a severe hardship. The lives of the unemployed were be disrupted for only a short period of time, and the economic consequences would be slight.
On the other hand, if the unemployment rate were 8%, but 90% of those who were unemployed stayed unemployed, then the economy would have a series problem. For the
this could mean 12 to 15 million men and women who were of working age, who wanted to work, who were capable or working, who were looking for work and who were unable to find a job. This would be a national tragedy. The lives of these men and women would be in the process of slow destruction, and the community and the nation would have to support them. U.S.
The government said that in December 3.9 million nationwide had been out of work for at least a year and were still looking. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has called this "a national crisis."
The natural picture of this problem is the inner city, or the small rural town. The actual picture is that the problem is happening in wealthy suburbs, in the case of this story, a wealthy suburb of
Imagine what something like this does to a community. Then take that imaginary picture and make it much worse to get it real.
Local governments in the arc of wealthy suburbs north of
don't have the infrastructure to deal with thousands of middle-class residents who have been out of work for six months or more. They never had the need before. Atlanta
As job losses became more prevalent, the 6,700-member
reacted, offering a support group for the unemployed. The twice-a-month events drew nearly 350 last year, up from fewer than 100 in better times. In late November, Ms. Bronner went for the first time—and was amazed by the number of others who were there. Roswell United Methodist Church
In November 2010, the church launched the seminar for couples dealing with the tension that unemployment can cause—particularly as it continues for long periods. The church considered doing so earlier but there wasn't interest.
Geoff Wiggins, 58, who runs the seminar with his wife, usually opens sessions like this: "How many times have you had this discussion? The working spouse comes in at the end of the day and says 'How was your day?' And the unemployed person says, 'I'm out of work, how do you think my day went?'" The goal is to help couples communicate better as they struggle with income insecurity and battered self-worth. "What breaks my heart," Mr. Wiggins says, "is how many people aren't getting help."
On the political side Mr. Obama doesn’t have a whole lot of plans to address this issue. Maybe Mitt Romney will be better, after all he has been a part of the long term unemployed ever since he left the Governorship of Massachusetts in 2006. And everyone knows that Mr. Romney is suffering just like the people of
who have been unemployed for a long time. Roswell, Georgia