by James Quinn
Wed, 20 Oct 2010
As I listen to pundits, politicians and populists expound on the jobs situation in our country day after day, as if they knew what they were talking about, I’m reminded of the Seinfeld episode where George quits his job as a real estate agent. He sits in Jerry’s apartment and ponders whether he could become the general manager of the Yankees, a sportscaster, getting paid to watch movies, or a talk show host. After the discussion with Jerry, he realizes that he has absolutely no skills that are transferable to another career. Everyone in America would like to be the General Manager of the Yankees or get paid for watching movies, but that isn’t how it works in the real world.
A little reality about the job situation in this country is in order. The unemployment rate reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and parroted by the mainstream media is currently 9.6%. Once you stop counting people who have given up looking for jobs and “left the workforce”, discouraged workers, marginally attached workers and workers forced to work part-time, you magically get a 9.6% rate. Using the method of measuring unemployment used during the Great Depression and reproduced by www.shadowstats.com, the real unemployment rate is a depression-like 22.5%. The peak unemployment rate during the Great Depression was 25%. There is no doubt that we are in the midst of 2nd Great Depression, but where are the bread lines and the lines of unemployed winding around the corner? No need. This is the electronic Great Depression – iDepression 2.0. Your 99 weeks of unemployment and food stamps are direct deposited into your bank account so that you don’t have to leave the comfort of your McMansion that you haven’t made a mortgage payment on in the last 14 months. There were no credit cards in 1933. Without a job or a house, you needed to move to where there might be a job. Hence the mass migration from the Midwest to California – ala The Grapes of Wrath. Today, a neighbor in a matching McMansion down the street, with the perfectly manicured lawn, could be unemployed for three years and no one would ever know. They could sustain themselves on unemployment payments, food stamps, and credit cards. Welcome to the iDepression 2.0.