Tipping Point?

According to a Pew Research survey released this week, “More than half (55%) of all adults in the labor force say that since the Great Recession began 30 months ago, they have suffered a spell of unemployment, a cut in pay, a reduction in hours or have become involuntary part-time workers.”

And these are people in the labor force, mind you. They didn’t talk to the unemployed.

Basically, about one-third of adults in the labor force — in the labor force, mind you — have suffered a period of unemployment during the recession. I suspect most of the people who haven’t personally been hit with unemployment know people who have.

This is interesting —

Several groups that have been hardest hit by this recession (including blacks, young adults and Democrats) are significantly more upbeat than their more sheltered counterparts (including whites, older adults and Republicans) about a recovery both for themselves and for the national economy.

Republican leaders, on the other hand, are pooh-poohing the recession as a mere bump on the track of the gravy train. And for them, maybe it is.

Senate Republicans (with some help of Dem dead weight Ben Nelson) managed to kill an extension to unemployment benefits yet again. House Republican leader John Boehner said the financial aid package amounts to “killing an ant with a nuclear weapon.”

Here and there you see Nixon-era talking points (see Sharron Angle) about how cutting unemployment benefits will force people to get off their butts and get jobs (what jobs?).

And yet conventional wisdom still says the GOP is poised to make huge gains in November. If the Dems can’t put together a package of ads and videos showing the troglodytes for what they are, maybe they deserve to lose. But no way does the GOP deserve to win.

Update: Here’s a Dem ad suggested by wmd in the comments —

A lot more of this, please. And have it on television day and night. Everywhere. Now is not the time for Dems to be frugal in their political messaging.

10 thoughts on “Tipping Point?

  1. DH and I (both PhD engineers) have both been affected. I took a 4% pay cut in 2009 and DH has been unemployed for 10 months. If we hadn’t planned financially to live off one income and save/invest the other, we would be screwed.

    So many more people will be homeless if the UI extension does not pass soon. I don’t know what I can feasibly do to get it passed, but we will be donating to the food banks.

  2. DNC has a decent generic anti GOP ad that I hope generated more like it.

    I’m a bit more upbeat on the economy. Facing foreclosure, but job market is looking better. A year ago I was seeing maybe one job each month that was a decent fit (I do high performanc/supercomputing software work). Now I’m seeing more than 4 a week and getting called for phone screens and interviews. No offers yet, but that will change soon. At which point I should be able to get out of the foreclosure process.

  3. For most of American history, there was an incentive for owners to keep workers working. They lived in your neighborhood. Unless you were one of the super-wealthy (like in the Gilded Age), you lived fairly near the people who worked for you. So, there was an incentive to treat them decently. After all, they had to have some money to buy your products.
    Now, with salaries for CEO’s, bankers, the Wall Street vermin, and doctors, lawyers, even some dentists, having gone throught the roof, that incentive is gone. Remember when the doctor lived in your area and did house calls (yes, I’m that old)?
    My friends father was a very high-level executive (maybe CEO) of a small oil company based in NYC. The family lived in a middle class neighborhood in Staten Island with cops, firemen, teachers and city workers. He didn’t make THAT much more than them. Now, executives make many hundreds of times what ordinary workers make, so they live very away from them, frequently in gated communities to keep the riff-raff out.
    Another reason for the lack of concern for the American working people is the global economy. The Masters of the Universe now depend on cheap international labor to make their goods. Why pay more for labor here, when it’s cheaper there? They don’t need American labor since they’ve outsourced it to their own advantage. They don’t give a shit if the person who purchases their product is in the US, China, or India, or anywhere in between. So, no incentive to help the American worker get, and keep, a sustainable job.
    As a matter of fact, corporate profits have rebounded, and even gone higher than before, not only because the workers are more productive, afraid of losing their jobs, but people are willing to do shitty jobs for less money than before, and you can negotiate salaries down. “ED,” “DH,” “wmd,” how low a salary will to take for this job? Too much. Well, I can ask “c u n d gulag,” maybe he’ll take even less. Too much. ‘Salary Limbo’ – how low can I go?
    Henry Ford raised the salaries of his workers because, if he did, they would be able to buy his cars. He would be laughed out of the Chamber of Commerce in the 21st Century as being a short-sighted, sentimental old man ignoring a global market. He’d be told to crush the workers to lower the cost of cars so that even lower paid people in the developing world would be better able to afford them. After all, the market here is only tens, maybe hundreds, of millions. Mr. Ford, there are billions of potential buyers in those other countries. Still want to pay that decent salary here? I thought not…

    ED, DH, and wmd,
    Best wishes.

  4. Rule #1 of American politics: Republicans will never fail to provide thousands of exploitable moments of outright sociopathy.

    Rule #2 of American politics: Democrats will always fail to exploit every opportunity given to them.

  5. Who cares if hurting Americans get any financial aid package so long as Hamid Karzi’s brother gets his chunk of the billions we’re spending in Afghanistan. I don’t suspect that the 1.8 million unemployed Americans are going to be very happy when Gen. Petraeus starts working his surge magic by shifting their unemployment benefits to the Taliban like he did for the 300,000 Sunnis in Iraq. I mean really, who wants to go out and plant IED’s when you can stay home and play with your x-box and collect a healthy check compliments of the American tax payer.

  6. I’d only add (to the ad): It isn’t how the GOP would govern, it’s how they did govern.

    Of course, with friend like Ben Nelson…. Yikes.

  7. My VC-funded company was bought 2 years ago for a song because (I believe) the VC’s were wiped out by the bank collapse and needed to cover their debt. We all lost our jobs. I have a Ph.D. and a ton of experience, and spent TWO YEARS trying to find work that would pay 40-ish (the barest minimum I figured I could support my family on). All the while, those wonderful insurance companies were charging me about $1200 a month out of pocket. I am SO grateful for the unemployment extensions– they meant I was only about $2500 in the red every month instead of 4500-5000. Thank goodness I am working again! I totally see the importance of continued help for the unemployed. No money = no consumers= weak recovery.

    I see the GOP opposing O’s very modest healthcare bill and the very needed unemployment extensions and I hope people will remember what these heartless a$$holes did come November. But I fear blind anti-incumbency could rear its ugly head…..

  8. Sure there is a global market available to the captains of industry. One problem tho. The overwhelming majority of those people are very very poor. Their schools are poor, their hospitals, if they exist, are poor. They do not drive. They cannot afford fertilizer for their crops. There are entire medium sized countries whose GDPs are significantly smaller than one single oil company.

    You will not make any money selling things to these people. And now the captains of industry want to drive down the wages, and thus purchasing power, of the first world to third world levels. Soon the captains will be sitting on top of giant bank accounts. All of the world’s productive capacity will have been converted into fat paychecks for bankers and CEOs. The numbers will be staggering. The yachts will be enormous. And everyone will wonder why the main street economy remains moribund, consumer confidence will suck, the housing market will stink, and nobody is purchasing anything.

    Mission acomplished I suppose.

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