Economic Recovery? What Recovery?


This article originally appeared on OpEd News.

Reported recovery is an illusion. There is none.

Reporting it doesn’t make it so. In fact, it’s more illusion than fact, but that doesn’t surprise half of US households impoverished or bordering on it, according to recent US Census data.

Nor are independent analysts and economists fooled. Last summer, economist Richard Wolff called “so-called economic ‘recovery’ since mid-2009….chiefly hype, a veneer of good news (benefitting corporations and elitists) to disguise and minimize the awful underlying economic realities.”

Since crisis conditions began in fall 2007, most people experienced pain without gain. For them, current conditions are worse, not better, with no policies proposed to help them. That’s today’s grim reality, especially across America and Europe.

In his most recent co-written February 2 article , titled “Manifesto for Economic Recovery and Ecological Sanity,” Wolff said:

“Capitalism today abuses the people, environment, politics and culture in equal measures. It has fostered new extremes of wealth and poverty inside most countries, and such extremes always undermine or prevent democratic politics.”

It’s also “plunged the world into the second massive global economic crisis in the last 75 years.” Yet in America and Europe, policies adopted assure harder than ever times ahead. Elections don’t matter as no major parties offer better choices. Whatever their name, they’re all involved in benefitting the few at the expense of the many.

Progressive Radio New Hour regular economist Jack Rasmus discussed the latest February 3 jobs report. He said it belies economic reality. Real unemployment’s at 22.5%. Most jobs created since 2009 have been low pay temp or part-time ones with few or no benefits. Higher-paying full-time manufacturing, construction, high-tech, and others keep declining.

For example, since the downturn’s mid-2009 low-point, 79,000 fewer manufacturing jobs exist, 680,000 aren’t replaced in construction, and other data show similar declines.

Unlike all previous post-WW II recessions, “the government sector has not created jobs to offset private sector losses.” In fact, federal, state and local governments destroyed almost 650,000 jobs since mid-2009. Nearly, 250,000 were teachers. Moreover, around 20,000 public workers on average are laid off monthly.

If Obama maintains this trend in 2012, over one million public sector jobs will be lost with hundreds of thousands more coming after November 2012, whoever’s elected.

In addition, long-term unemployed numbers rose from 24% in mid-2009 to over 40% now. Rasmus said “the Employment to Population Ratio that measures how well the economy (creates) jobs” shows the it’s creating increasingly fewer numbers as population totals rise.

In late 2007, 63% of Americans were employed. Today it’s 58.5%. The JOLT ratio (Job Opening to Labor Turnover) shows 4.2 workers for every job opening, over double the pre-recession 1.8 to 1 ratio.

Obama’s so-called job creation program is illusory. In January 2009, he promised six million jobs. Instead, over 40% of his $787 stimulus bill went for tax cuts, largely to America’s rich and corporate favorites. In June 2009, 25 million were unemployed. A year later it was unchanged.

Read the full article on OpEd News.

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