Friday, July 3, 2009

U.S. Unemployment Reaches 9.5 Percent

That's almost one in ten Americans who are unemployed. Nationally, another half a million jobs were cut in June. There really isn't anyone untouched by this recession. Anyone I speak to can list the people close to them who have lost their jobs, those who have taken pay cuts, those who have taken cuts to their benefits (That's me. I now have to pay half of my premium, which is really nothing compared to what people are facing when they lose their employer benefits altogether, but it does end up being a significant difference in your monthly take-home, and is even a greater difference for those who have to insure their partners and children in addition to themselves.)

This was the facebook status of a married friend of mine today:

14 applications and temporary insurance later, I've got my fingers crossed that we get accepted by at least one provider.
Pretty difficult to feel that glow of American pride this weekend when this country has failed us so thoroughly in providing basic healthcare to all of its citizens. Think how much less devastating this unemployment surge would be if we all had the comfort that we could have the care we needed, employed or not.


T said...

According to neoliberal economic orthodox, all unemployment is voluntary. (no, I'm serious. This is actually taught in many (although clearly not all) econ depts as a fact, or at least an assumption any scientific account must make).

So the headline of this post should really read "9.5% of Americans choose not to work". Of course, if there weren't things like minimum wages, unemployment benefits, unionization or other 'distortions' plaguing the market for human labor, then we could have 100% employment, with wages dipping as low as $1/hour or less. Then the economy could really get rolling!

Elizabeth said...

I love your alternative title, T!

Thanks to Pink Scare for caring about this topic!

The goal of capitalism, in regard to labor, is slavery. It's the most cost-efficient labor option.