The official reports were that as of the end of September, 2009, the nation's unemployment was "about" 10% with some states, like California, showing the worse statistics.
But you always have to look at the tables, the back-up data to the official reports.
Table A-12 of the unemployment report at the U.S. Department of Labor shows that the actual unemployment as of the end of September, 2009, was 17%. http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t12.htm
Table A-12, Note U-6: "U-6 Total unemployed, plus all marginally attached workers, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers (as of September, 2009): 17.0 %."
"NOTE: Marginally attached workers are persons who currently are neither working nor looking for work but indicate that they want and are available for a job and have looked for work sometime in the recent past. Discouraged workers, a subset of the marginally attached, have given a job-market related reason for not looking currently for a job. Persons employed part time for economic reasons are those who want and are available for full-time work but have had to settle for a part-time schedule."
The University of Rhode Island has a report and discussion on-line about unemployment through the mid-1990s, which includes two historical charts.
One of the charts shows the historical unemployment rates. The highest reported rate ever was in the mid 1930s, at 25%. We're at 17% now. Isn't it time to panic? Isn't it time for the Balloon Boys and Girls in Congress to start creating and funding serious jobs programs for the unemployed people in this country, instead of just giving billions more to Wall Street?
The other chart shows the historical difference between unemployment in black Americans vs. white Americans (black Americans historically suffer twice the unemployment of white Americans). Assuming that is still true, the unemployment rate among black Americans could be as high as 34%.
We all know the millions of immigrants from Mexico and Central America who have been lured into this country during the past decade by businesses who wanted cheap, desperate labor instead of hiring Americans. The immigrants took many of the jobs across the country in construction, factories, manufacturing, and other types of labor, and they are suffering very high unemployment as those fields have all laid off workers. Of course the Americans who used to hold those jobs were also forced out of work, and replaced by the immigrants at lower wages.
The economic situation for the majority of working people in this country is very bad. We start with this historically almost unparallelled level of unemployment. We then have a loansharking industry, called credit cards, that charge 25% interest per year to working people for short-term loans that they need to take out in order to survive. Foreclosures are forcing many people out of their homes, real estate values continue to drop, and the banks pay 0% interest to people who have a little money in a savings account. People who still have jobs don't have medical or pensions.
Most people cannot afford dental or medical, and Congress's idea of health care "reform" is to order 40 million Americans to give money to the health insurance industry so they will pay kick-backs to the politicians. There is no affordable housing, and no plans from Congress to build affordable housing units, which would provide immediate relief by creating jobs and creating housing for people losing their homes to foreclosures.
What are the Democrats doing? The Democrats who now control the national government. What are they doing to help American working people?
Not a thing. No jobs program. The six-month debate over health care "reform" is just a phony scheme to force another 40 million Americans to buy unaffordable health insurance to pay obscene rates charged by doctors, drug dealers, and hospitals. Oh yeah -- the old people on social security won't get a cost of living this year. Screw the old people, right, isn't that the Democrat's Party Motto?
There's been massive media coverage this week about Balloon Boy. Some family reported that one of their kids had been swept away into the air by a home-made balloon. Turns out to have been a bunch of hot air. Just to get publicity. That's what the Democrats are: Balloon Boys and Girls. Lots of hot air. Lots of pompous bombast. But there's nothing really there.
Where are the jobs programs? There are none. Instead, what we get from the Democrats is a lot of hot air.
Michael Moore sent out an e-mail listing 15 things people should do to try to save the world, and the first five are certainly relevant to this blog post, so I'll quote them below:
FIVE THINGS WE DEMAND THE PRESIDENT AND CONGRESS DO IMMEDIATELY:
1. Declare a moratorium on all home evictions. Not one more family should be thrown out of their home. The banks must adjust their monthly mortgage payments to be in line with what people's homes are now truly worth -- and what they can afford. Also, it must be stated by law: If you lose your job, you cannot be tossed out of your home.
2. Congress must join the civilized world and expand Medicare For All Americans. A single, nonprofit source must run a universal health care system that covers everyone. Medical bills are now the #1 cause of bankruptcies and evictions in this country. Medicare For All will end this misery. The bill to make this happen is called H.R. 3200. You must call AND write your members of Congress and demand its passage, no compromises allowed.
3. Demand publicly-funded elections and a prohibition on elected officials leaving office and becoming lobbyists. Yes, those very members of Congress who solicit and receive millions of dollars from wealthy interests must vote to remove ALL money from our electoral and legislative process. Tell your members of Congress they must support campaign finance bill H.R.1826.
4. Each of the 50 states must create a state-owned public bank like they have in North Dakota. Then congress MUST reinstate all the strict pre-Reagan regulations on all commercial banks, investment firms, insurance companies -- and all the other industries that have been savaged by deregulation: Airlines, the food industry, pharmaceutical companies -- you name it. If a company's primary motive to exist is to make a profit, then it needs a set of stringent rules to live by -- and the first rule is "Do no harm." The second rule: The question must always be asked -- "Is this for the common good?" (Click here for some info about the state-owned Bank of North Dakota.)5. Save this fragile planet and declare that all the energy resources above and beneath the ground are owned collectively by all of us. Just like they do it in Sarah Palin's socialist Alaska. We only have a few decades of oil left. The public must be the owners and landlords of the natural resources and energy that exists within our borders or we will descend further into corporate anarchy. And when it comes to burning fossil fuels to transport ourselves, we must cease using the internal combustion engine and instruct our auto/transportation companies to rehire our skilled workforce and build mass transit (clean buses, light rail, subways, bullet trains, etc.) and new cars that don't contribute to climate change. (For more on this, here's a proposal I wrote in December.) Demand that General Motors' de facto chairman, Barack Obama, issue a JFK man-on-the-moon-style challenge to turn our country into a nation of trains and buses and subways. For Pete's sake, people, we were the ones who invented (or perfected) these damn things in the first place!!