Once considered unsinkable, the RMS Titanic while trying to set a new speed record for an Atlantic crossing did just that, it sank to the bottom of the North Atlantic in a tragic and unforgettable accident. The once mighty American economy that only 10 years ago seemed to be sailing along in an attempt to set yet even more records, has hit its own iceberg. Our economy currently appears to be faltering and listing heavily to the side of a second Great Recession if not sinking into the icy waters of a second Depression. The icy waters that the economy is taking in at such a great rate is the massive amounts of unemployed in our country that are currently trying to survive without any real assistance from our government and its people. Soon, the weight of the unemployed, and the loss of their consumption in the consumer markets, will totally paralyze the once great American economy.
Just more doom and gloom you say? I say look at the numbers. If they don’t scare you half to death, then you’re just not reading the memo correctly. With full unemployment standing at 9.6%, I ask you to do the math. 1 out of 10 of our citizens are now getting unemployment benefits that are roughly 60% less on average of what they used to bring in while they were working. Millions more are now 99ers, people that have exhausted all of their unemployment extensions, and are now living on welfare or nothing at all. The latest statistics for unemployed/under-employed now hovers around 20%, 2 out of 10 that are living at, or very close to poverty levels. Factor in the additional millions of people currently working that have had to accept cuts in pay and benefits to keep their positions, that live in fear that they will be next, and you have a recipe for disaster.
When people boarded the RMS Titanic, they were assured that it was safe. The number of lifeboats carried on the Titanic was woefully insufficient for the number of passengers on board. Very much the same can be said about our country’s preparation for the human disaster that we are currently faced with; we were horribly ill prepared to deal with anything close to what is really happening.
What makes me the sickest is the total lack of urgency displayed by President Obama and our representatives in Congress as related to this crisis. Hello? Is anybody home? We all know the mantra, job development lags behind the rest of the economic recovery. First and foremost, that assumes that there is a recovery happening in the first place. For certain the data indicates that we are at the moment experiencing at best a jobless recovery, but many would argue that the recovery itself doesn’t exist either!
How our elected officials can adjourn Congress EARLY to go home to campaign for re-election is simply beyond me. It is simply a dereliction of duty that boarders on treason. What bothers me almost as much as Congress adjourning early is the lack of chatter and indignation present in today’s media regarding this impending social disaster. The media has become the ostrich with its head stuck in the sand, turning a blind eye towards the unemployed and the 99ers, while gobbling up the campaign dollars for advertisements by the candidates running for office that are also ignoring the issue. The ship is sinking and everyone wants to pretend that everything is OK, the band plays on.
One is only left to wonder what happened to Lincoln’s America. The America that he professed was all about “of the people, by the people, and for the people!” The only real way out of this mess is to renew the confidence of the people, by the people, and for the people, that a real recovery is going to happen. That will take leadership. Leadership is not provided when your representatives hide in the shadows and pack up their bags and leave town with their tails tucked between their legs because the Democrats and the Republicans can’t play nice with each other. Come Election Day for the upcoming mid-terms, vote; vote your conscience, but please remember who ran to the lifeboats first. If you think that our economy can’t sink to the bottom, just remember the RMS Titanic, it couldn’t sink either.