By MARTIN CRUTSINGER, Associated Press

Reprinted from Huffington Post http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/28/ben-bernanke-long-term-unemployment_n_986291.html

WASHINGTON – Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Wednesday that long-term unemployment is an American “national crisis” and suggested that Congress should take further action to combat it. He also said lawmakers should provide more help to the battered housing industry.

Bernanke noted that about 45 percent of the unemployed have been out of work for at least six months.

“This is unheard of,” he said in a question-and-answer session after a speech in Cleveland. “This has never happened in the post-war period in the United States. They are losing the skills they had, they are losing their connections, their attachment to the labor force.”

He added: “The unemployment situation we have, the job situation, is really a national crisis.”

Bernanke said the government needs to provide support to help the long-term unemployed retrain for jobs and find work. And he suggested that Congress should take more responsibility.

Responding to a question, Bernanke said long-term unemployment, budgetary discipline and housing policy were the three most important areas where Congress could contribute to an economic recovery.

  Read the rest of this entry »
Advertisements

Can a Movement Save the American Dream?

Posted: September 24, 2011 by Michael M in Uncategorized

Re-Printed from Nation Magazine

http://www.thenation.com/article/163549/can-movement-save-american-dream

On October 3 activists from across the country will gather in Washington at the Take Back the American Dream conference, in the belief that only a citizens movement can save an American dream that grows ever more distant. In the face of a failed economy and a corrupted politics, the only hope for renewal is that citizens lead and politicians follow.

The modern American dream was inspired by a growing middle class that was the triumph of democracy after World War II. Its promise was and is opportunity: that hard work can earn a good life—a good job with decent pay and security, a home in a safe neighborhood, affordable healthcare, a secure retirement, a good education for the kids. The promise always exceeded the performance—especially with regard to racial and ethnic minorities, immigrants and women—and America never did as well as Europe in lifting the poor from misery. But a broad middle class and a broadly shared prosperity at least provided the possibility of a way up.

Now that middle class is sinking, imperiled by an economy that does not work for working people. Twenty-five million Americans are in need of full-time work, wages are declining and one in six people lives in poverty, the highest level in fifty years.

Read the rest of this entry »

Moving Planet – 350.org in San Francisco

Posted: September 24, 2011 by Michael M in Uncategorized

By Robert Reich

Seems like only yesterday conservative nabobs of negativity predicted America’s ballooning budget deficit would generate soaring inflation and crippling costs of additional federal borrowing.

Remember Standard & Poor’s downgrade of the United States? Recall the intense worry about investors’ confidence in government bonds — America’s IOUs?

Hmmm.

Last week ten-year yields on U.S. Treasuries closed at 1.83 percent.

In other words, they were wrong.

In fact, it’s cheaper than ever for the United States to borrow. That’s because global investors desperately want the safety of dollars. Almost everywhere else on the globe is riskier. Europe is in a debt crisis, many developing nations are gripped by fears the contagion will spread to them, Japan remains in critical condition, China’s growth is slowing.

Put this together with two other facts:

Unemployment in America remains sky-high. 14 million Americans are out of work and 25 million are looking for full-time jobs.

The nation’s infrastructure is crumbling. Our roads, bridges, water and sewer systems, subways, gas pipelines, ports, airports, and school buildings are desperately in need of repair. Deferred maintenance is taking a huge toll.

Now connect the dots. Anyone with half a brain will see this is the ideal time to borrow money from the rest of the world to put Americans to work rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure.

Problem is, too many in Washington have less than half a brain.
Robert Reich is the author of Aftershock: The Next Economy and America’s Future, now in bookstores. This post originally appeared at RobertReich.org.