This story, times 14 million, should be treated like an incoming asteroid

At Reuters, the story of Dominick Brocato, 58, who was laid off in 2010:

I would say between April and August I probably had 45 to 50 different meetings that I would just initiate on my own, asking someone, “Can we just go have coffee, or just go to lunch?” So they’d get to know me and hopefully, if they remembered, they’d say, “Hey, Dominick, I met with him. He may be someone you want to talk to…”

I spent a lot of money doing that. The majority of people where I would say, “Can we just go to coffee?” I didn’t get a lot of response. If I’d say, “Hey, let’s go to lunch; I’ll buy lunch,” I got more takers. And that was O.K., if I thought it was going to work to my benefit. Sometimes I would say, “You pick the place.” I did that a few times, and after a $40 lunch I realized this isn’t going to happen anymore.

I would say, from an Internet standpoint, I have filled out and put in resumes for about 380 to 390 positions. Of that, I would say I have heard back from maybe 20 people, which again, that’s why they tell you in outplacement, “Don’t waste your time on the boards.” But after a while, you feel like that’s the only thing you have left to do. You kind of run out of people that you could keep asking to go to lunch or go to coffee.

Interview-wise, I would say I’ve gone on maybe 40 interviews over the last 17 months. A lot of the times that I’m aware of I’ve gotten close and gotten in the top three candidates, but for whatever reason, have lost out.

I learned, obviously, now, after 17 months, that it has not necessarily [been] easy to secure another position.

… We’re having a new Trader Joe’s coming in, and when I found out that you have benefits even if you’re a part-time employee, I thought, “Okay. Let me try this.” Of course, I did. I called, and they said, “Well, you’re at the bottom of 800, so we’ll call you as soon as we go through the other 799 above you.” I thought, “Wow.” I don’t know what those next steps are going to be, and like I say, for someone who has always been in control and educated and so forth, you never imagine that these times are happening. But they are.

For the last two months, I’ve… I don’t want to say I’ve given up, but I’ve just kind of taken a break from all the stuff that I’ve done before, thinking I need to regroup. I need to get my head straight. I need to clear everything out. And so that’s what I’ve done for the last two months, but yet everyday you feel guilty: I should be doing this. I should be calling. But then you get to the point where you run out of people to call. That’s kind of where I’m at right now.

If there is anything the Federal Reserve could be doing that it’s not doing — and there is — then they are to blame for this. For this multiplied by 14 million. For Ben Bernanke and his cohorts to be giving a single flying fig about the remote possibility of inflation right now really is obscene.

The same for Congress. There is much, much more that they could be doing and they are not doing it. And the same goes for the president, and for state and local governments, for churches, for the rest of civil society.

This should be a national emergency on the order of an incoming asteroid.

  • aunursa

    The same for Congress. There is much, much more that they could be doing and they are not doing it. And the same goes for the president, and for state and local governments, for churches, for the rest of civil society.

    This should be a national emergency on the order of an incoming asteroid.

    I agree.

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ mistformsquirrel

    It should Fred, it really, really should.  (x.x)

    The sad thing is, the more reading I do, the more I realize there isn’t just one singular reason these things aren’t being done. There are dozens and dozens of reasons, some inane beyond belief, others understandable-but-misguided… all ultimately ignoring the rather straightforward issue that people can’t find work.

    (I’d also like to note that I just changed my username – lots of reasons but I’m sure by the avatar folks still know who I am ( . .)  Suffice to say I felt it necessary to become slightly more anonymous.)

  • hapax

    Amen, Fred.

    From your keyboard to Congress’s ears.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

    Most of that is our fault. In 2010, many candidates campaigned on a platform of “austerity” (well, the American decision) rather than growth and unemployment reduction, and they were elected even though they specifically said that they weren’t going to do anything about the latter issues. I know politicians lie, but when they actually say unemployment is not on their radar and they oppose in using the expansionary fiscal policy to promote economic growth, believe them.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    “For Ben Bernanke and his cohorts to be giving a single flying fig about the remote possibility of inflation right now really is obscene.”

    So they do another round of Quantitative easing and then what?  We’ve already had plenty of that and it didn’t work.  Our problems can’t be solved by ben bernanke.  We need to start BEING a different kind of country.  We’re in huge amounts of debt and overextended in every possible manner. This isn’t unrelated to the economy. 

  • Damanoid

    To be honest, by this point I fully expect that an incoming asteroid will be handled in exactly the same way.   Rather than attempting to prevent the impact, policy will be to ensure that the rich escape to safety.

  • GDwarf

    No, policy will be to pretend it isn’t there, as that would negatively impact the price of land and chaos would lead to inflation, or something.

  • Lori

     That will be the official policy, which will buy time for the rich to escape to safety without having to deal with the riff raff.

  • http://twitter.com/jclor jclor

    This should be a national emergency on the order of an incoming asteroid.

    I shudder to think what the U.S. government would accomplish in the face of an incoming asteroid.  At least, after that catastrophe, there’d be no finger-pointing on the Sunday morning panel shows.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    And then they will discover that not having riff-raff anymore isn’t as fun as it initially seems.

  • http://twitter.com/shay_guy Shay Guy

    Related question: how many people here have read Krugman’s new book yet? Far as I could tell, his stance seemed to be that while the Fed can’t solve this alone, they could be doing a lot more to mitigate it than they have been.

  • Lori

     

    At least, after that catastrophe, there’d be no finger-pointing on the Sunday morning panel shows.  

    I fear that you are tremendously over-optimistic and that the blame-passing would be truly epic.

     Whose fault was it that we didn’t know about the asteroid sooner? Someone must have known and kept it a secret from us, but who was it and what nefarious plan caused them to hide The Truth? No matter what the government did someone would complain about it. Who came up with the plan that did not result in zero loss of life or money? Who decided not to use the other plan which would certainly would have saved every single person and prevented any economic disruption? Who is going to clean up this mess and why isn’t it done yet?

    And those are just (a few of) the gripes that would get on the chat shows. The wilder shores of the internet would be all about who used a super secret plan/technology to push the asteroid into us and why did they do it?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I have, but I don’t know where my copy of his “Depression Economics” reissue is. I do know that I read his original one way back, and his reissue feels a bit slapped-together – kind of like he was welding a new body kit onto an older car and the pieces didn’t quite fit together right.

    But his essential point is still very clear: governments, in an era of fiat money, can easily cut short recessions with the use of more money.

  • LoneWolf343

     Heh, first thing I thought of too.

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ mistformsquirrel

    What I think gets me the most, is that we know full well that if an asteroid were incoming, and we managed to avoid it somehow, the FIRST THING that would come up would be ‘ZOMG IT WAS SO EXPENSIVE!’

    Because cash is the most important thing in the wake of SAVING THE PLANET.

    Oh wait we already have that problem. *grumble grumble climate change grumble grumble*

    /bitterness

  • Nirrti

    This has been going on for much longer than the media has been covering it. It first started happening around the early part of the ’00s. Except the chronic joblessness was mostly effecting minorities, people with disabilities, and other disenfranchised groups. Of course since it wasn’t happening to the middle-upper-class, it wasn’t of any importance to anyone.

    In other words, like in so many situations from Weimar Republic Germany to Hurricane Katrina, the ones on the low end of the social totem pole were the proverbial canaries in the coal mine. Had people paid attention to what was happening to them, the situation wouldn’t have gotten as dire as it has recently.

    It is so true that whatever you do to your neighbor, you do to yourself. Unfortunately, I think this country is learning this lesson a little to late. 

  • Nirrti

    The phenomenon of chronic un and under-employment was also happening as far back as the mid-80s with the outsourcing of factory jobs and the turn of the economy from a manufacturing base to a low-wage service industry-retail orientation.

  • http://www.ravecoffee.co.uk/coffee-beans/4544427253 Coffee Beans Online

    By this factor I completely anticipate that an inbound asteroid will be managed in exactly the same way.   Rather than trying to avoid the effect, policy will be to make sure that the wealthy evade to protection.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Also, as near as I can tell a lot of the money from the rounds of quantitative easing has been going into the banking system where banks have been using the money to repair their balance sheets, rather than push it out into the public’s hands in the form of new loans and cutting fees on bank accounts.

    On top of that, all the spending that consumers are trying to get out from under has already been booked in 2005, 6, 7… well before the crisis hit. The debt they’ve incurred on that is probably being paid off by whatever QE money has leaked out into the public’s hands.

    In short, all down the chain, the money Bernanke has been pushing into the banking sector has gone into saving, or phenomena that are equivalent to it economically, rather than spending.

  • LL

    But don’t forget, everybody, now is a really good time to buy a house! So get out there and buy!

  • Guest

    Taking a previous post and changing the words to synonyms so it looks like a brand new thought is clearly the best spam method ever!

  • http://twitter.com/jclor jclor

    I was implying that, after an extinction-level event, political squabbling would cease.  Because everything would cease.

  • http://www.oliviareviews.com/ PepperjackCandy

    But there would be no finger-pointing on television, or radio, or the Internet since most of the people who actually keep these things going will have been vaporized.

    I guess that Oprah will still be around, though.  I wonder if she can teach the Hilton sisters how to run a television studio?

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    neutrino- so what would more easing do?

    Shay Guy- Krugman is like the Thomas Friedman of economics. I’d skip the book.

  • PJ Evans

    Government debt IS NOT THE PROBLEM. It’s the money being stuck in the accounts of multimillionaires, who are NOT SPENDING IT.

  • Francene Stanley

    I don’t know what caused the problem, but I do know the same thing is happening right around the world. Here in England, jobs are disappearing. I don’t need to worry about that now, but the retirement pension is so megre we have trouble scraping together enough to eat my the end of the month. Some say we should withdraw from the system, but it’s far too late for that. The system keeps the old and disabled alive.  We should go back to the barter system anongst ourselves.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

     I’ve been complaining since the 1990s that the US can’t survive as a ‘service economy’.

    “You can’t base an economy on people asking each other if they want fries with that.”

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    You mean aside from the whole ‘winning a Nobel Prize’  and ‘not being wrong about everything’ things?

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    consumer- His nobel prize was for a really bland restatment of obvious economic points. it was political, like Obamas.  The actual thing, if you read it, is not very profound.  he is a good pundit but for example his big thing is this babysitting co op analogy. If you read it, it’s obvious why it failed and would fail and why no one uses a similar system. Hayek won a Nobel too, you think I give a shit?

    PJ- when did the left embrace blind consumerism? People are SUPPOSED to save money. it’s prudent.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    My dad likes to say — and I think he said it’s a Barry Goldwater quote — “We can’t all press each other’s pants”

  • hapax

    His nobel prize was for a really bland restatment of obvious economic points. it was political, like Obamas.  The actual thing, if you read it, is not very profound. 

    Not really replying to Chris Hadrick, because I left my toy puppets and flannelboard at home, and it’s obvious that his understanding of economics hasn’t advanced beyond the “penny for your thoughts” stage.

    But if anybody gets tired of this oft-repeated wingnut canard, the stated reasons for Krugman’s Nobel Prize can be found here.  (I know, I cited the Nobel Foundation’s own page, rather than Faux News.  Shockingly poor sourcing on my part).

    I suspect the “it” that Chris read was Krugman’s acceptance lecture, which was unsurprisingly basic and “not very profound”, since it was delivered to a general audience.

    Oh, and for good measure:

    People are SUPPOSED to save money. it’s prudent.

    Yes, Chris.  PEOPLE are.  CORPORATIONS aren’t — they’re Jaaaahb Creeyators, remember?  A business that’s sitting on a pot of money is cheating its shareholders (remember the parable of the servant that buried his silver talents in a field instead of investing it?)   As for a GOVERNMENT that “saves money” is stealing from the taxpayers, who trust the government with part of their income in expectation of receiving something — an army, roads, unemployment insurance, a big noisy parade, something — in return.

    *sigh* 

    Why do I bother?  It’s like talking to a sock full of lug nuts.

  • PJ Evans

     They aren’t paying taxes with it, either. Which seems to be fine with you.

  • PJ Evans

     Lug nuts at least can be useful.

  • cyllan

     But hapax! Corporations are people too.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     

    “We can’t all press each other’s pants”

    No, but sometimes it’s fun to try.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    corporations aren’t job creators. They are profit makers. They can be job creators or not, they are sovereign entities. and they aren’t the only ones who aren’t hiring.  Think of where you work, why aren’t they expanding? Are they sitting on mountains of cash??

    “As for a GOVERNMENT that “saves money” is stealing from the taxpayers, who trust the government with part of their income in expectation of receiving something — an army, roads, unemployment insurance, a big noisy parade,”

    that’s a strange understanding of the role of government.

    If corporations or anyone else feel that it’s in their interest to hire more people they will. 

    I’ll look into the talents analogy. I’m not a big Acts fan. I never really understood the point of the parts of the bible that come after Jesus.  

  • Ima Pseudonym

     “The same for Congress. There is much, much more that they could be doing
    and they are not doing it. And the same goes for the president, and for
    state and local governments, for churches, for the rest of civil
    society.

    This should be a national emergency on the order of an incoming asteroid.”

    It should be.  It isn’t. And I’m sorry to say it most likely won’t be. 

    The reason is that the people running the show don’t see anything there that they need or want to fix.  The people who matter–the tenth- or hundredths-of-a-percenters who most directly benefited from the Citizens United decision–are getting exactly what they desired.   The rest of us can FOAD quietly in a corner if we can’t hack it.   The job creators *aren’t.*  The jobs aren’t coming back anytime soon, any recovery is likely to be of the jobless variety, and the wealth won’t be trickling down to benefit anyone likely to be reading these posts. 

    It’s not a bug; it’s a feature. 

  • Ima Pseudonym

    That one actually made more sense than many actual human beings’ posts.  I think  the spambots are getting close to passing the Turing test.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    hapax, consumer- it’s not healthy to revere someone that much that you say they’re “never wrong”. Krugman is a person with beliefs but he’s not a prophet. No one is beyond scrutiny. People called Greeenspan “the Maestro” he wasnt one. We paid for that.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X