The Coming Economic Armageddon: Real Unemployment at 19% In US, Japan GDP halved, IMF chief warns perils of fiscal cliff, China’s export unexpectedly contracted, ECB’s bond plan is a devout wish, The Baltic Dry Shipping Index is heading to ZERO!
September 10th, 2012
Mortimer Zuckerman: We are experiencing, in effect, a modern-day depression and those jobless numbers are even worse than they look
Still above 8%—and closer to 19% in a truer accounting. Here’s a plan for improvement.
Don’t be fooled by the headline unemployment number of 8.1% announced on Friday. The reason the number dropped to 8.1% from 8.3% in July was not because more jobs were created, but because more people quit looking for work.
The number for August reflects only people who have actively applied for a job in the past four weeks, either by interview or by filling an application form. But when the average period of unemployment is nearly 40 weeks, it is unrealistic to expect everyone who needs a job to keep seeking work consistently for months on end. You don’t have to be lazy to recoil from the heartbreaking futility of knocking, week after week, on closed doors.
We are experiencing, in effect, a modern-day depression. Consider two indicators: First, food stamps: More than 45 million Americans are in the program! An almost incredible record. It’s 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.
Second, Social Security disability—another record. More than 11 million Americans are collecting federal disability checks. Half of these beneficiaries have signed on since President Obama took office more than three years ago.
These dependent millions are the invisible counterparts of the soup kitchens and bread lines of the 1930s, invisible because they get their checks in the mail. But it doesn’t take away from the fact that millions of people who had good private-sector jobs now have to rely on welfare for life support.