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 … [Read more...]

Smart people saying smart things

Mark Thoma: "The Growing Unemployed: A Case of Benign Neglect" The high unemployment rate ought to be a national emergency. There are millions of people in need of jobs. The lost income as a result of the recession totals hundreds of billions of dollars annually, and the longer the problem persists, the more permanent the damage becomes. Why doesn’t the unemployment problem get more attention? Why have other worries such as inflation and debt reduction dominated the conversation instead? … The i … [Read more...]

Word of the day: arbitrage

I had to look this one up: ar•bi•trage noun \'är-b∂-,träzh\1  : the nearly simultaneous purchase and sale of securities or foreign exchange in different markets in order to profit from price discrepancies2  : the purchase of the stock of a takeover target especially with a view to selling it profitably to the raider I'm probably still not confident enough in what that means to try to use this word in conversation. But in the context of the following posts, I think I understand it well … [Read more...]

Fine-tuning the keywords on your résumé

The Consumerist offers the latest in an endless series of articles giving helpful advice to those seeking jobs that don't exist. This one is about "Tips for Beating the Résumé-Reading Robots of Doom." Keywords, gaming the system, yada yada.It's possible such tips and tricks might make a difference for someone, and I'm sure they're offered in a genuine attempt to be helpful. But still, after the first 40 or 50 or 500 such articles, it becomes hard to read such advice without it all seeming l … [Read more...]

One day, two good speeches

This was a very good speech.President Barack Obama, Osawatomie, Kan., Dec. 6, 2011 This is the defining issue of our time. This is a make-or-break moment for the middle class, and for all those who are fighting to get into the middle class. Because what's at stake is whether this will be a country where working people can earn enough to raise a family, build a modest savings, own a home, secure their retirement. Now, in the midst of this debate, there are some who seem to be suffering from … [Read more...]

November 14 — a fireside chat


President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Nov. 14, 1937 Enforced idleness, embracing any considerable portion of our people, in a nation of such wealth and natural opportunity, is a paradox that challenges our ingenuity. Unemployment is one of the bitter and galling problems that now afflicts man-kind. It has been with us, in a measure, since the beginning of our industrial era. It has been increased by the complexity of business and industry, and it has been made more acute by the depression. It has … [Read more...]

“The moral rights corresponding to this obligation”

For a less snarky, clearer, and more compelling discussion of the rights that correspond -- necessarily -- from the obligation to work, see John Paul II's encyclical Laborem Exercens, or "On Human Labor."Regular readers of this blog know that I'm a big fan of this encyclical, due mainly to the forceful logic of its secular argument. But I'll also confess that I enjoy citing this sometimes because I like watching right-wing Catholics squirm.Here's one pertinent part of John Paul II's … [Read more...]

Michele Bachmann calls for guaranteed employment for all

Rights come with responsibilities, my conservative friends are always saying. And they're right about that.And because they're right about that, then they must also agree with me that responsibilities come with rights.If, for example, I am responsible for keeping the sidewalk in front of my house clear of snow in the winter, then I must also have the right to shovel that snow off of that sidewalk. It would make no sense to say that I was responsible for shoveling that snow if I were not … [Read more...]