It is still very grim out there for those people who want decent paying work. Not just a job–but a job that pays a fair wage. Today’s numbers make even more clear–we need a Job Party.
I’ll talk about the Job Party a bit more. But, first, let’s look at the numbers:
While the overall picture showed improving job growth, the additions in the private sector in December were not enough to significantly reduce the ranks of the unemployed or keep pace with people entering the work force. The outlook remains bleak for many workers. More than 14.5 million people were out of work in December.
The Department of Labor says the “official unemployment rate” is now at 9.4 percent. Even The Wall Street Journal points out:
The U.S. unemployment rate has now been above 9% since May 2009, or 20 months. That is the longest stretch at such an elevated level since the Second World War. In the recession of the early 1980s, the jobless rate crept to 9% in March 1982 and remained above that mark until September 1983.[emphasis added]
But, the depth of the crisis is better seen here by looking at the U-6 level, which measures “Total unemployed, plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force”.
That number is at 16.7 percent.
And that doesn’t even reflect how bad things are. I have pointed out that the minimum wage–which millions of people work for–is a poverty-level wage and a national scandal that covers up the depth of the economic crisis. It should be more than $19 an hour if we took in account the productivity rises over the last 30 years–that is, how hard people have worked compared to the rise in wages.
So, it isn’t just the number of jobs but the QUALITY OF JOBS.
I’m guessing that at least one in five Americans–20 percent–in the U-6 and minimum wage categories does not have decent full-time paying work. And I think the crisis is far bigger if you really look at what it takes to get by in today’s world of higher prices.
Which brings me to the Job Party. Several of us concluded recently that we needed a movement that is focused entirely on the job crisis:
The Job Party is a nationwide grassroots movement to demand an Emergency Jobs Bill for 15 million jobs so every unemployed American can go to work, feed their families, and put a roof over their head.
In December, Congress passed a $900 billion tax bill for 2 years that will produce only 1 million jobs through “trickle-down” economics for the rich. For that same $900 billion, Congress could create 15 million jobs paying $30,000 per year for 2 years!
Not only is that morally right, but it’s economically right too – because those 15 million paid workers would massively increase consumer spending, fuel growth for the whole economy, and greatly reduce the national debt.
It’s a revolutionary change from the failed “trickle-down” policies of the past 30 years that created the Great Recession that’s killing us. We call it “gusher-up” and we demand the politicians in Washington DC embrace it before we all starve and the nation goes broke.
And if this current Congress doesn’t act, we’ll elect a new Congress in 2012 that will.
Move over, Tea Party – the Job Party has arrived. Join us today!
We would like to have people help build this. This is the economic crisis of our times. We can’t wait for the current political system to act.
We are gathering together the best ideas for creating jobs–and we want your ideas. Please contribute YOUR IDEAS.
We are collecting YOUR storiesabout your experience trying to get a decent job.
We are gathering the people who will take to the streets to demand that we start creating real jobs in this country. Sign up!.
This article was originally posted on Working Life.
About the Author Jonathan Tasini: is the executive director of Labor Research Association. Tasini ran for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate in New York. For the past 25 years, Jonathan has been a union leader and organizer, a social activist, and a commentator and writer on work, labor and the economy. From 1990 to April 2003, he served as president of the National Writers Union (United Auto Workers Local 1981).He was the lead plaintiff in Tasini vs. The New York Times, the landmark electronic rights case that took on the corporate media’s assault on the rights of thousands of freelance authors.