Cut to the Chase

at 11:35 PM

We need to cut to the chase on unemployment. Notwithstanding a recent drop in the rate, unemployment remains stubbornly high, around 9 percent nationally and here in California around 12 percent. And these figures don't count the people who have fallen off the rolls and are either under-employed or no longer looking for work. Add them and the rate is closer to 20 percent -- an alarming and unsustainable amount.

I refuse to believe that everyone like myself, who is out of a job and wants to work, is not capable of contributing to society or to any company that would hire us. It is not that we have lost our skills, that we are incapable or unwilling to work. It is the lack of jobs that keeps the unemployed unemployed.

The so-called job creators, the folks enjoying historic wealth after receiving cuts in their tax rates and government protection of their wealth, have done a terrible job of creating jobs. It's time to fire the job creators and for the government to do the job of creating jobs.

Our government did this before, during the Great Depression.  The WPA put millions to work. Detractors claim those were make-work jobs, but the WPA created our modern infrastructure: it built roads, bridges, parks, buildings, libraries, brought electricity to millions and gave us works of art still admired today. That governmental effort put people to work, gave them self-worth and put money in their pockets, which in turn created more demand and yet more jobs.  A positive cycle.

We need the equivalent of that today, now. We need a bold plan and a nationwide effort to put people back to work. Clearly leaving this vital task to the unfettered free market and the so-called job creators is a failed policy. The government must step up to this task.

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If the government can pump what some estimate as much as $7 trillion of taxpayer money into private financial markets that caused their own problems and are most responsible for the mess we're in, surely it can do the same to help its people. It's not socialism. It's simply time for the government to start working for us, and those of us who want to work.

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With a Perspective, I'm James Browne.

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