Sunday, November 27, 2011

Why Are the Unemployed Not Speaking Out?

I have not written on this for a while, which means that I may be as guilty as anyone of complacency on this issue, despite the fact that I am one of those unemployed Americans struggling to find a job.

This article looks at some of the reasons that the unemployed in the US are not making a more noticeable protest, in spite of their massive numbers. Among the reasons, the changing perception of the reasons for unemployment, and the general loss of sympathy for organized labor in the United States. Unemployment is increasingly viewed as the result of the workers' failure to acquire the skills and education needed to find work, rather than the failure of business and the government to create the favorable conditions and demand needed for hiring workers. Furthermore, labor unions are now seen as ineffective, inefficient, and corrupt.

The article puts much of the blame for the passivity of the American people toward the unemployment crisis on President Obama, for not taking stronger and more immediate action to address this problem. And I do agree that the American Jobs Act is a positive but halfhearted measure that, if passed, would provide some relief but not nearly what is needed to truly address and resolve the crisis.

But I think much more blame needs to be focused on the failure of the media to sufficiently critique the deceptive rhetoric coming from the right wing on this issue. The Republican Party and the Tea Party movement, controlled by their Wall Street handlers, continue to insist, without a shred of rational evidence, that the unemployment rate can only be brought down through lower taxes on the already undertaxed wealthy and corporations, and reductions in public spending and regulations, when in fact these measures have been shown over and over to have exactly the opposite effect.

The insistence of the main stream media on presenting this bogus right-wing argument as a valid point of view that deserves full consideration, has left the unemployed, who are the victims of this very strategy, divided and unsure about what and who they should be protesting.

The Occupy movement has helped enormously to bring more attention to the general problems of wealth inequality and corporate and Wall Street corruption. But the movement has been short on specific demands and policy suggestions. In the early days of Occupy Wall Street, it looked like it might develop a close link with organized labor. But, mysteriously, little evidence has been seen lately of this partnership.

Given the harsh messages coming from the right, the halfhearted measures proposed by the Democrats, the vague messages from the Occupy movement, the absence of an effective and popular organized labor movement, and the all-consuming anxiety that is part of the lives of the long-term jobless, it seems likely that many if not most of the unemployed in America feel that they have been pretty much forgotten.

That's how I feel.

That needs to change.


  1. I do. I AM unemployed, have had to endure bankruptcy and foreclosure as a result of long term unemployment. I've reached out and been featured in many news stories (check out my In the News Section at and I am trying to help others overcome the shame and stigma through speaking engagements. Please check out my blog at

  2. Thank you, Del. You make an important point about the shame and stigma that goes with unemployment.

    I strongly urge everyone to visit Del's website and blog. We need people like him speaking up energetically for the unemployed, underemployed, and others in America who have been disadvantaged and marginalized.