Friday, October 2, 2009

More radical steps needed to counter massive joblessness

The release of the latest "official" unemployment report - a rise to 9.8% and the loss of another 263,000 jobs in September - makes one thing crystal clear: corporate America will never get us out of this deep economic crisis. Government action is urgently needed.

To date there are 15 million unemployed Americans and millions more who are underemployed. According to new studies the high rates of unemployment will persist for years and its impact on working class communities will be profound.

With continuing job loss, the US can't wait for corporate America and the "market forces" to get us out of this crisis. Many economists, including those in the CPUSA, believe we are looking at a "jobless recovery."

Only some far reaching government intervention in the economy and radical reforms will alleviate the misery.

A massive 2nd stimulus package is needed that will create millions of new "green jobs" building affordable housing, mass transit, new schools and day care centers for a start. Millions could be put to work in environmental clean up, rebuilding our parks and recreation areas, cleaning up "brownfields" and planting trees and native plants.

But even that may not be enough.

Some radical economic reforms that need to be considered are:

First, conversion from a militarized economy to a peace economy. More jobs are created with the same expenditure of money in education, health care, and other fields.

Second, a shorter work week with no cut in pay or benefits. The 35 hour work week is standard in some countries. A shorter work week will create more jobs.

Third, expanding unemployment compensation for the duration of unemployment. The right wing says this will encourage people to be lazy. But they have no humanity - there are at least six people looking for each job. Most people want desperately to work and would rather work than be idle. Our society can't let people starve, lose their homes and families and ruin their lives.

Fourth, unemployment compensation for first time job seekers. Unemployment among young people is astronomical, especially in African American, Latino and neighborhoods of people of color. This young generation can see little future for itself. Unemployment compensation should be provided until young people attain jobs.

Corporations be damned! Unless radical measures are taken, we will not emerge from this crisis.

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