Article first published as Americans Need Jobs on Technorati.
We’re in a heap of hurt here people. Unemployment is stuck at 9.5%, and real unemployment, which includes those who have stopped looking for work, is still at 16.5%. This means we have nearly 30 million Americans competing at a ratio of 5-to-1 for what jobs are presently available. A continued jobless recovery with the possibility of a double-dip recession — what’s the average American to do?
People can help improve the situation by voicing their opposition to the anti-job policies promoted by certain factions in the federal government. The current focus on the deficit would be one such item. The last thing we need now is to further reduce the purchasing power of average Americans by trying to cut deficits at the expense of the middle and working classes. We successfully climbed our way out of a 122% deficit after World War 2; we’ll climb out of today’s 94% deficit too. The screech of the deficit hawks is really nothing but a wrong-minded attempt to draw attention from where it belongs — on job creation.
Concerned citizens can also make a difference by ignoring the fear mongers and voicing support for programs designed to help average Americans and create jobs. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) is one such program. Though it’s taken a beating from conservative trash talkers, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) the program has created between 2 million and 4 million full-time-equivalent (FTE) jobs, helped raise the GDP, and served to restrain further increases in unemployment. The only real problem with the stimulus is that it was too small.
If citizens really want to make progress, they need to compliment the above with a full court press on the Obama economic team. The trillions poured into Wall Street must at this point be considered a bad investment. The money cycle is still stalled, with small business and average Americans frozen out, while the banks that were saved are enjoying free money from the Fed and still partaking of the gambling practices that crashed the economy. Wall Street greed is the closest thing there is to a direct cause of these dire economic times — you can’t remove 8 million jobs from the economy and just keep on truckin’. The Obama team can, at the very least, increase the price of money to force these thieves to lend again. Obama can also appoint an advocate of the middle class to chair the newly created CFPB.
The last major part of the job picture is the impact of globalization. Unlike other areas where the American people must exert their will through political pressure, including their votes, The People can actually intervene directly in the trade imbalance. They can do so by buying American, which in general terms means shopping somewhere besides Wal-Mart. The nation’s largest retailer identifies more than 70% of its products as originating in China, and most of the rest from its other 47 foreign sources. Wal-Mart is the largest importer of goods from China and a direct contributor to the estimated 1.8 million jobs American jobs lost as a result.
Of course, a change in shopping habits alone will not remedy the situation. One key reason that China now enjoys such a trade advantage is the manipulation of the value of their currency. Estimated to be undervalued by approximately 40%, it’s impossible for American manufacturers to compete. Couple their artificial currency valuation with trade agreements that essentially allow them to pilfer the intellectual property of competitors, and the picture really starts to form. Add to this, their total disregard for the environment and regulations to protect it, and it becomes crystal clear that the deck is stacked. China enjoyed a $28.7 billion trade surplus in July — the U.S. accounted for $26 billion of that. These issues must be addressed by the federal government.
If Americans are ever again to enjoy anything resembling full employment and decent wages, The People must push the government to do the right thing. Businesses will do what serves business, and as in the case of Wal-Mart, what’s good for business isn’t always good for the American people. Fortunately, government is charged with serving the needs of The People — we just need to join together and remind them of that.