“Long-term unemployment is a bigger pastoral care challenge than a death in the family”

I am not an economist and have no opinion on this guy’s various specific solutions, but these points really resonated with me:

…There are folks who go through these stresses that Dean Baker and I wrote about in the New York Times, but there’s this extra problem that employers then may say well, that guy might be scarred so why should I bother, and it makes the scarring worse, and you end up in a terrible spiral.

That’s how you can explain the astonishing negative evidence on peoples’ lives. That’s the thing that confuses me. If you look at what it does to peoples lives, I have a friend who’s a priest, and he said long-term unemployment is a bigger pastoral care challenge than a death in the family. A death in the family, there’s this impulse of incredible negativity, but then people start to recover. A person, say a 55-year-old who’s always the breadwinner in his family, if he loses his job, every morning it gets worse.

It’s just a horrible emergency, and the thing that stuns me is that policymakers haven’t digested what an emergency it is. We’ll have a hearing like the one at JEC, and then there doesn’t seem to be much appetite.


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