19%: the True US Unemployment Number
A recent Wall Street Journal opinion piece by Mortimer Zuckerman, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of US News and World Report, indicates the true US unemployment rate is 19%, when you include the people who have given up and quit looking for work and the involuntary part-timers who can’t find a full time job. He backs it up with recent numbers from the US Department of Labor. He doesn’t say in so many words that the Obama administration is lying about unemployment numbers, but the implication is clear.
Mortimer also cites some other scary numbers confirming the US is experiencing – not a recession – but a modern day Depression, with a big D. He makes the interesting point that we don’t see the soup kitchens and bread lines of the 1930s because in the 21st century, the chronically jobless get checks in the mail.
- More than 45 million Americans receive food stamps. This is 15% of the population compared with the 7.9% participation from 1970-2000. Food-stamp enrollment has been rising at a rate of 400,000 per month over the past four years.
- A record number of Americans – more than 11 million – collect Social Security disability. Half of these beneficiaries have signed on since President Obama took office in 2009.
- Annual wage increases have dropped to an average of 1.6%, the lowest in the past 30 years. Adjusted for inflation, wages are contracting.
Although historically US News and World Report, like the Wall Street Journal, is known conservative editorial leanings, the piece is decidedly non-partisan. It makes the telling point that changing presidents on November 7th ain’t going to solve the problem.
In fact some of the policy solutions Zuckerman proposes, which include an expansion of public and private training programs, programs to address the decay in public works and infrastructure and “special subsidies” for private employers who hire the long term unemployed, seem pretty radical when contrasted with the Republican Party’s austerity and budget cutting initiatives.
Read more here.