Plus, there are incredibly serious problems all around--way more than the "poor me" problems. Isn't that right, friend? ;)
Consider, for instance, this scary, scary chart:
I am flummoxed trying to imagine a 50% unemployment. And more! What the what?
We are not talking about some uneducated, illiterate youth simply idling away. It is an educated population that is jobless. I have lucked out in life--no firsthand experience of unemployment. Even the teetotaler me would have picked up the bottle if I had been a young man looking at a decimated job market.
All I have to do is look at the graduating students in order to get a sense of how the dim prospects of jobs begins to affect their morale. Robert Shiller writes about this morale dimension of high unemployment rates:
The high unemployment that we have today in Europe, the United States, and elsewhere is a tragedy, not just because of the aggregate output loss that it entails, but also because of the personal and emotional cost to the unemployed of not being a part of working society.I recall that in the movie, Up in the Air, the number one issue that the unemployed workers said they faced was this: waking up in the morning and wondering what they were going to do that day. Being jobless, when it is not by design or choice, is one morale crusher, I would imagine.
Unemployment is a product of capitalism: People who are no longer needed are simply made redundant. On the traditional family farm, there was no unemployment.Indeed. But then, of course, we do not want to return to all of us working on our respective forty acres either. So, ... ?
For morale, we need a social compact that finds a purpose for everyone, a way to show oneself to be part of society by being a worker of some sort.Hmmm ... that's where we will get stuck in an endless debate, won't we?
And for that we need fiscal stimulus—ideally, the debt-friendly stimulus that raises taxes and expenditures equally. The increased tax burden for all who are employed is analogous to the reduced hours in work-sharing.
But, if tax increases are not politically expedient, policymakers should proceed with old-fashioned deficit spending. The important thing is to achieve any fiscal stimulus that boosts job creation and puts the unemployed back to work.
Here in the US, though the unemployment rate is in the single-digit now, unlike the horror stories in the Euro countries, but the aggregate number doesn't tell the whole story of discouraged and underemployed workers. One thing I am convinced about: there is no way we can escape from re-writing the social contract that ties together the government, taxpayers, businesses, and consumers. Finally, even Germany is waking up to this reality. Let's see what they come up with.
I don't care how the contract is re-written because, like with anything else, not everybody will be happy with a new contract anyway. But, what pisses me off is how atrociously Congress has been ignoring all these issues. It is pathetic.
It is the Congress members who ought to be forced into unemployment, not the young, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed educated youth.
(From the old country ...)