The unemployment rate is currently 9.5% as of February 2011.
A more accurate unemployment rate, the U6 (total unemployed, plus all marginally attached workers, plus total employed part time for economic reasons), is about 16%.
There are now 5 unemployed workers for every 1 job opening.
The unemployment rate of the young, often cited as a reason for unrest, in Egypt is 25% - in the US it's 21% (defined as 16-24 in the US and under 25 in Egypt). If you're a college grad it's more like 11% and if you're over 25 it's 4.5%.
Cutting unemployment benefits is correlated with people looking for work less.
Graduating from college now and not getting a job is detrimental to your long term prospects - that is, we're damaging a whole generation of workers.
And last but not least, the top 400 richest Americans now own more than the bottom 50% of Americans.
I'm not even sure I need to comment further. It should be abundantly clear why firing teachers - which will most likely be young and will further exacerbate the problem, cutting government spending - which will increase that 5 unemployed per job opening number, and/or cutting taxes (on the rich none the less) at this point in time makes no sense. The employed have historically high employment rates while some job postings are even requiring that you're currently employed just to apply for the job. It's as if the unemployed have become a minority group with little power and diminishing resources. Why is this acceptable?
The take away from this is that an economy needs 2.5% real growth just to keep unemployment from rising and an increase of 2% of real growth to knock 1% off of unemployment.
The way I see it, by the way, is that it’s about shifting the mix away from tons of stuff to quality. You have a small electric vehicle (powered by solar-thermal) instead of an S.U.V., but it drives itself most of the time, and has a great built-in entertainment system. You live in an apartment or townhouse instead of a McMansion, but the brain-wave controlled kitchen turns out gourmet meals on demand. And if we do the GDP accounting right, this will show up as economic growth.This is something I blogged about a while ago. I was talking about buying fewer quantity but nicer things. There's a good TED talk there too.
|Year||Top .01%||Top 1%||Top 5%||Top 5-10%||Top 10%||Top 10-25%||Top 25%||Top 25-50 %||Top 50%||Bot 50%|
If you give money to the less wealthy or even poor people they spend it because they have to. This of course begs the question why the not wealthy (see: the vast majority of Americans) would ever support tax cuts. I think the answer has, as it often does, to do with the perception of fairness.
To come full circle - why does America go for tax cuts that benefit the wealthy as opposed to inexpensive transfer payments that would help a greater percentage of our population and be more effective? Food stamps have long been THE most effective and efficient means of stimulus to the poor. Again, the answer seems to be the perception of fairness.