Posted in History, Politics

Couldn’t Have Said it Better Myself

10 Thoughts On America’s Unrecognized Scourge: Joblessness

from WGBH Radio, Boston, MA

” Thanks to a cocktail of factors – deregulation, globalization, deindustrialization, automation – wealth in the 21st century has become uncoupled from work.”

Auto factory worker
Still working…fornow.


1. A specter is haunting America – the specter of joblessness. Between Bill Clinton’s Washington exit 17 years ago and Donald Trump’s recent inauguration, about 10 million jobs across the nation have disappeared. Poof. Gone.

2. Friday’s report from the Department of Labor that the economy added 235,000 jobs is good news. “Robust,” is how NPR characterized it. But it’s a gloss on reality. It doesn’t reflect that somewhere between 20- and 40-million able-bodied people of working age have been displaced or dropped out of the workforce.

3. There are huge social, economic, and political implications attached to this still under appreciated phenomenon. The two most obvious: Brexit and Trump’s election. It would be gross over simplification to attribute these tectonic shifts to disappeared jobs alone. But it is reckless and irresponsible not to factor it into public thinking.

Read the rest of this article.

Then resist, with all your heart and will.

Posted in Uncategorized

Art For The Times

Well, in the space of two days I've had to tell two sets of parents about about mutual job losses. Now I've got myself, a husband a mother, a mother-in-law, a father and a father-in-law to worry about. No, I kept telling them, we'll be fine. Don't worry, don't stay up at night (bad enough one of us is doing that). And, for God's sake, don't send money. You need it!

Gaaah. My parents really do worry. They also don't really know what's going on in the wider world outside of them, so this kind of thing is a double shock to them.

Some days I feel just like this picture.

As if I didn't have enough to worry about.

Read and post comments | Send to a friend

Posted in Uncategorized

Jobs May Come And Jobs May Go, But Dinner Never Fails Me

I decided to get off my duff, at least for a while, and cook up some Italian sausages I got at Whole Foods last weekend. Silly me: in my rush of assumed employment I actually spent money there. Guess I'll get a medal for supporting the economy. Actually, though, the Italian chicken sausages were on sale so I guess it wasn't too bad of a move.

WF has good meats, albeit expensive. Whenever I'm feeling flush I'll walk home with some chicken sausages and did so last weekend with a pound of sweet Italian and a pound of garlic and herb. I decided to put together a pasta sauce tonight, with the old standbys: onion, garlic, green pepper, mushroom and canned chopped tomatoes. The sausages are quite flavorful, so no additional seasoning of the sauce is necessary. Just chop up whatever vegetables you desire and sautee. I usually start by sauteing the sausage and, since it's quick-cooking, I remove the meat and finish the rest of the sauce before adding it back. Added some vermicelli pasta and had a good, easy and quick dinner.

Given the way things are going with the economy, it may not be too long before we're boiling up our boots and twirling the laces, Charlie Chaplin style, with a big spoon:

Yum! Join me over the next open fire next to a railroad car. We'll boil up the shoes and patch our pants, darn our socks and bum the rails to the next town.

Read and post comments | Send to a friend

Posted in Uncategorized

Times Is Hard

Yes, they is. I've just re-joined the ranks of the unemployed, believe it or not, after a two-day stint as a fill-in for someone going out on medical leave. That person got either bored or insecure and called to get their job back, part-time. How they're going to do it, given the medical condition, is beyond me. My recruiter called yesterday afternoon when I got home from work to tell me the bad news.

My head is still spinning. I feel like a puppet whose strings are being pulled in totally opposite directions. Remember that scene with the horses in "Braveheart?" Snap.

Well, I still have my sense of humor, along with the realization that everyone else in the country (or so it seems) is going through this. I heard this on NPR tonight, a song by Loudon Wainwright III and it spoke for me, as it does for millions more. You can hear the song here:

Times Is Hard

Times is hard. Times is tough.
Nothin's easy. It's all rough.
There's not much right; so much gone wrong.
All I can do is play this song.

You're watchin' the news. It all looks bad.
The worst half-hour you ever had.
What in God's name is goin' on?
All I can do is play this song.

You're losin' your job, your house and your car.
Hittin' rock bottom don't feel that far.
Nothin' good is gonna come along.
All I can do is play this song.

Folks are scared watchin' that news.
Folks feel bad. They're gettin' the blues.
My poor stomach, it ain't that strong.
All I can do is play this song.

Times is rough. Times is hard.
Take a pair of scissors to your credit card.
Circuit City just said, 'So long.'
All I can do is play this song.

Who's at fault? Who gets the blame?
Let's string up Bernie what's-his-name.
And ask Alan Greenspan to come along.
All I can do is play this song.

They want your gold, and they'll pay cash.
The only silver lining is the price of gas.
Money's short and the odds are long.
All I can do is play this song.

The factory's closed. The bank is bust.
On the money it says, 'In God We Trust.'
So pray for all your stocks and bonds.
All I can do is play this song.

Outta luck. Outta hope.
I'm wonderin' why I even cast that vote.
I took that sign offa my front lawn.
All I can do is play this song.

There's a new man down there in D.C.
They say he's gonna help you and me.
They sure know how to bang the gong.
All I can do is play this song.

Last man in D.C., he had eight years.
Now the whole damn country is in arrears.
We got two, three, four wars goin' on.
All I can do is play this song.

Times is hard. Times is rough.
I guess you folks need some cheerin' up.
Well it ain't me babe. You got that wrong.
All I can do is play this song.

You heard it here. I sang it first.
Don't feel so bad; things are gonna get worse.
Consider yourselves all strung along.
All I can do is play this song.

All I can do is …


Read and post comments | Send to a friend

Posted in Uncategorized

A Day in the Life

Signed up for Unemployment Insurance benefits, a grand total of $301 per week to pay bills and maintain my household. In other words, not enough for squat. I was on hold for almost an hour because the volume of callers was so high.

On the bright side, I do have some time to work on other projects, such as writing and further training in the tech industry. Guess it's time to polish up that resume and put those new references from my now-old job to use.

I'm not quite sure how we're going to handle health insurance costs, though. There is a program for people collecting unemployment. I'm not sure how long I'll be out of work. If it's going to be a while, we'll need help with that cost.

Thank you, President Bush and your fellow Republicans. I'd like to line you all against a wall, or at least swap pay checks with you.

Read and post comments | Send to a friend