Bruce Lesnick: Real unemployment in the U.S. today hovers at 8.3%, afflicting more than 17 million people. This is roughly equivalent to the combined populations of New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston. Over one third of the working age population has given uplooking for work. Many more jobs will be lost to automation, with computers and robots for about half the jobs now done by humans. The mechanization of dirty, dangerous, repetitive, mind-numbing tasks should be a blessing, not apocalyptic. There is plenty of work that needs to be done converting our energy industry to renewables, repairing and enhancing infrastructure, building housing for all who need it, improving student-teacher ratios, increasing healthcare and eldercare staff, and more. And 17 million people are looking for work. The only obstacles are understanding and political will.
The disconnect between people wanting to work, work that needs to be done and the number of jobs that happen to be available only occurs if the guiding principle for job availability is profit. Full employment is a piece of cake when the needs of the 99% are prioritized over the needs of the 1%.
Americans used to be forced to work 10-12 hour days, 6 or 7 days a week. Only in 1937, with the adoption of the Fair Labor Standards Act, did the eight-hour day become the national standard. (While many today are compelled to work longer in order to make ends meet, the legal norm remains 40 hours.)
Since 1937, the productivity of American labor has increased more than six-fold! So an obvious solution to unemployment presents itself: reduce the workweek with no reduction in pay. If the workweek were reduced from 40 to 30 hours, it would create 53 million new jobs, three times the jobs shortfall.
Can we afford this? Absolutely. Up to now and especially since 1973 increases in productivity have been siphoned off as corporate profits and enriched only those at the top.
"The number isn't reflective," he said. "I've seen numbers of 24 percent -- I actually saw a number of 42 percent unemployment. Forty-two percent." He continued, "5.3 percent unemployment -- that is the biggest joke there is in this country. ... The unemployment rate is probably 20 percent, but I will tell you, you have some great economists that will tell you it's a 30, 32. And the highest I've heard so far is 42 percent."
"They may have been phony in the past, but it's very real now."
Like most news Counterpunch is a collection of opinion pieces. But unlike the MSM it is disproportionately written by University Professors and well documented by muckrakers. That's not to say they're never wrong, but on the mark more often than not.
www.shadowstats.com reports unemployment to be about 22%, and even BLS has three unemployment numbers even though the most favorable method of counting is used routinely in the MSM.
Even the BLS admits a quarter of all unemployed people are long term unemployed (more than 27 weeks) and a larger group (1.6 million) than the unemployed they count who are collecting unemployment insurance. After 27 weeks you become ineligible for unemployment and are no longer counted as unemployed.
Where is Snippy to remind us that 98 zillion people are still unemployed?
He used to love these kind of threads when Obama was preznit.
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