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The jobs report for August showed another 216,000 losses.  That's far less than previous months, in fact the smallest in a year, but still not very good.  The unemployment rate jumped up to 9.7%, and it'll basically be a matter of time before we're at 10%.

In a related story, the AFL-CIO released a stunning report about young workers, showing their struggles in the past decade, where they have less jobs, worse jobs and no security.

Some of the report’s key findings include:

31 percent of young workers report being uninsured, up from 24 percent 10 years ago, and 79 percent of the uninsured say they don’t have coverage because they can’t afford it or their employer does not offer it.
Strikingly, one in three young workers are currently living at home with their parents.
Only 31 percent say they make enough money to cover their bills and put some money aside—22 percentage points fewer than in 1999—while 24 percent cannot even pay their monthly bills.
A third cannot pay their bills and seven in 10 do not have enough saved to cover two months of living expenses.
37 percent have put off education or professional development because they can’t afford it.
When asked who is most responsible for the country’s economic woes, close to 50 percent of young workers place the blame on Wall Street and banks or corporate CEOs. And young workers say greed by corporations and CEOs is the factor most to blame for in the current financial downturn.
By a 22-point margin, young workers favor expanding public investment over reducing the budget deficit. Young workers rank conservative economic approaches such as reducing taxes, government spending and regulation on business among the five lowest of 16 long-term priorities for Congress and the president.
Thirty-five percent say they voted for the first time in 2008, and nearly three-quarters now keep tabs on government and public affairs, even when there’s not an election going on.
The majority of young workers and nearly 70 percent of first-time voters are confident that Obama will take the country in the right direction.

At the low end, workers are often paid under the minimum wage and cheated out of overtime pay.

This is just not sustainable.  A thin layer of the super-rich exploiting a permanent underclass, with many out of work or unable to gain independence, will not result in a workable society.  Social unrest is a more likely outcome.  That's basically driving much of the craziness out there.

You can talk about demoralized bases and broken promises, but at some level the problems the President and the Democrats are having come down to fundamentals.  With the jobs picture as it is, it was always going to be a hard sell to tell people who are losing their job that the stimulus and the President prevented things from getting worse.  The problem lay in the lack of job creation in the stimulus itself, rather than job saving.  Those who follow these things closely may understand that the stimulus really saved us from a deep recession if not a depression.  But we also know it didn't go far enough to truly bring about recovery.  Those who are busy with their own lives and don't pay attention to the day-to-day debate only see that they and their colleagues can't find work.  The White House may eventually get some credit for economic recovery, but only if it includes jobs.  A second stimulus simply won't happen now, and we're basically at the mercy of large firms and when they decide to hire at this point, which isn't likely in the near term if they can increase productivity without bringing anyone back.

The Democratic Party has stopped caring about this, in many respects.  They are becoming reliant on the professional class instead of the working class, and it leads to policy that doesn't help workers.  The shrinking unionized sector, and the inability to create policy to reverse that trend, will come back to hurt the so-called "party of the people."

Labor's lack of clout to pass EFCA in even the most overwhelmingly Democratic -- and progressive -- Congress in decades is an indication that we already have a successful progressive movement in which labor plays only a modest role. Union support was less crucial to Obama's nomination and his general election victory than it was to any previous Democratic president, which is why he's not obligated to twist arms to pass the bill. Many Democratic victories in 2008 were in states and districts where labor is weakest, like Virginia and North Carolina. And I know dozens of engaged liberals who have no idea why EFCA matters.

The new progressive coalition follows the lines of the "emerging Democratic majority" that Ruy Teixeira and John Judis predicted in their 2002 book of that name: minority, professional, and younger voters, with help from a large gender gap. This is a coalition that can win without a majority of white working-class voters, whether union members or not. (Those who were union members were always solid Democrats.) In many ways, that's good because it helps to bring an end to the culture wars that limited the party's ability to speak clearly about matters of fundamental rights and justice.

But it's also dangerous. A political coalition that doesn't need Joe the -- fake -- Plumber (John McCain's mascot of the white working class) can also afford to ignore the real Joes, Josés, and Josephines of the working middle class, the ones who earn $16 an hour, not $250,000 a year. It can afford to be unconcerned about the collapse of manufacturing jobs, casually reassuring us that more education is the answer to all economic woes. A party of professionals and young voters risks becoming a party that overlooks the core economic crisis--not the recession but the 40-year crisis--that is wiping out the American dream for millions of workers and communities that are never going to become meccas for foodies and Web designers.

I think the lack of connection between Democrats and the working class reflects itself in all these jobless recoveries we're seeing.  Policy just isn't made for the mass of people, but of, by and for the rich.  And those rich people know that one party serves them much better.  If Democrats don't start creating policies that get regular people jobs, they will be doomed by fundamentals as surely as the Republicans were in 2006 and 2008.

Originally posted to dday on Fri Sep 04, 2009 at 11:10 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

    •  Tipped and recommended (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pithy Cherub, Jbearlaw, TomP, Pris from LA, 1BQ

      I want to take the time to read your diary more carefully, but you make very good and worrisome points.  I'd add, though, it's not just the working class - it's the Middle Class that's sol in this recession, as well.

      •  Middle Class has lost the class war. (5+ / 0-)

        There are so many structural problems, it makes the mind boggle.  Student loan debt incurred for non-existent jobs, junk insurance and unsustainable health care costs, fraud in the entire banking industry, an 8 year long war, . . . at some point, in the none too distant future, the bottom is going to have to fall out.  

        There is no more middle class.  There are the haves, and the indebted to the haves.  And the leader of our party is sending out the message that he'll do anything to get a deal on HCR.  

        2012 is going to be one interesting year.  

        "If I understand the GOP, gov't is bloated, wasteful & inefficient. And private insurance companies can't compete w/that." Miles Kurland

        by Jbearlaw on Fri Sep 04, 2009 at 11:30:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  The real question is, how will the administration (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jbearlaw, Pris from LA

      ...and congress encourage private-sector job hiring and small-business growth?

      Will they introduce a program to encourage start-ups? Will they cut taxes for small and medium businesses?

      Because I doubt the public will support another stimulous program this time around...

      •  I've Always Worked For Small Companies (5+ / 0-)

        so I am biased, but small businesses power our economy.  It pained me greatly to watch trillions go to Wall Street while I didn't see anything done for the person that is running their own small business.

        A strong public option for health care would help. But there are many, many more things that could be done.

        "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." - George Orwell

        by webranding on Fri Sep 04, 2009 at 11:20:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Remember all the people saying (7+ / 0-)

        the stimulus was to small and the respeonse we got was this is just the first one and we can always go back for more.  

        Whoops.  

        10-dimensional chess just does not seem to get good results, but it's okay so long as one redefines success as losing.

        They "prefer an America where parents will lie awake at night worried if they can afford health care their children need."

        by TomP on Fri Sep 04, 2009 at 11:21:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  They just did. They've just broken ground on a (0+ / 0-)

        solar panel manufacturing plant in Fremont, CA, which lost about 4500 jobs when the Toyota decided to close the NUMMI (New United Motor Manufacturing Inc.) plant, the only auto manufacturing plant in California.

        "The jobs will keep coming," Chu said, speaking at a construction site southeast of San Francisco, where Solyndra Inc. broke ground on a solar-panel factory expected to create up to 3,000 construction jobs and 1,000 longer-term jobs.

        The new jobs are welcome as California grapples with 12% unemployment - well above the national average - and as Fremont is due to lose manufacturing jobs when an automobile plant there closes next year.

        Solyndra's new plant, being built near an existing plant, is designed to produce 500 megawatts worth of solar panels a year, enough to power about 24,000 homes. In addition to new construction and manufacturing jobs, Solyndra's factory and others like it will help create other jobs, such as solar-panel installation jobs, Chu said. (Source)

        Chu went on to say the loan guarantee would help the company fill its $2 billion in contractual backorders.

        He joked that Solyndra officials had told him they were ready to hire the first 100 new workers within an hour of getting the DOE check. But on a serious note, he said that because the technology would be built in Fremont and deployed throughout the country, none of the jobs would be outsourced.

        "Because of this loan guarantee, those orders will be filled by American workers," Chu said. Solar "is a key growth industry for our future. It’s time to rev up the American innovation machine and reclaim our lead on clean energy. When we do this, no country in the world will be able to out work, out compete and out innovate us." (Source)

        Solyndra is the first recipient of a loan guarantee under the Recovery Act and Title XVII of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. In addition, the loan guarantee issued to Solyndra is the first issued by DOE since the 1980s.

        Over its lifetime, the first phase of the facility could manufacture up to 7 gigawatts of solar panels, which can generate electricity equivalent to 3 or 4 coal fired power plants. This plant will produce about as many new solar panels as the US produced in 2005.

        The project will introduce into large-scale commercial operation a new and highly innovative process for manufacturing a breakthrough design for photovoltaic panels.  Solyndra's panels will be primarily used in the fast-growing market for large, flat rooftops. (Source)

        "These are the jobs of the future, these are the green jobs, these are the jobs that won't be exported," Biden said in remarks beamed via satellite to a groundbreaking ceremony in Fremont, Calif.
        The town was hit hard earlier this year, when Toyota (TM) said it would close a factory that it had run as part of a joint venture with General Motors Corp. General Motors had earlier pulled out of the collaboration as part of its bankruptcy reorganization. With jobs scare, California's jobless rate has jumped to 11.9%, among the highest in the nation.
        Solyndra has said that it aims to hire 3,000 employees to build the new factory. The company will ultimately hire 1,000 workers to run the operations. Solyndra, whose panels are designed for rooftops, has a backlog of more than $2 billion worth of orders, with customers mostly in Europe. (Source)

        Pictures and more quotes from VP Biden and DoE Secty. Chu here.

        The line between generalization and stereotype is as fine as the line between stereotype and bigotry.

        by 1BQ on Fri Sep 04, 2009 at 01:24:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Politically, it is the Party's biggest problem... (12+ / 0-)

      ...and factually, it may be considerably worse than many may acknowledge, too...let's take it to the charts...and, I'm not talking about the government's charts (for the most part, anyway):

      "Unemployment: The Harder You Look, The Uglier It Appears."

      "Unemployment Claims Stuck At 570,000."

      To diminish or trivialize unemployment as just "another lagging indicator," from a purely political standpoint, is certainly one of the most naive and shortsighted and senseless things anyone could possibly do.

      This is a political blogging community, right?

      "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

      by bobswern on Fri Sep 04, 2009 at 11:18:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Well said, dday. (5+ / 0-)

      And it explains the roll overs to corporate interests also.

      One day, unions will wake up and create a real labor party.  until then, we have this.

      They "prefer an America where parents will lie awake at night worried if they can afford health care their children need."

      by TomP on Fri Sep 04, 2009 at 11:19:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I wish that the Democratic Party... (4+ / 0-)

      ...would stand up and say, "We believe in America, we believe in Americans, and we believe that, in America, Americans should have good-paying jobs.  Jobs with benefits, and pensions.  Jobs that do more than pay a living wage: jobs that allow people to live the life they want to live.  Jobs that have adequate time off, and enough pay to enjoy it.  Jobs that invest in their people, in their communities, in their nation.  We believe, we have always believed, that the American worker was the backbone of society, and without American jobs, you don't have America.  We believe that wages should go up, not down.  We believe that the workplace should be safe.  We believe in America and American jobs, and, we will make policy so that we no longer go to the lowest bidder, we go to the bidder who is best for America and American workers, and if we pay more for it, it's worth it because it was made by American hands and those Americans are paying the taxes we bought the item with.

      We do not believe in global wage arbitrage.  We do not believe in a race to the bottom, where American workers have to negotiate their hourly wages with people half-way around the world whose wages have been held back for generations by a variety of factors that the American worker did not create.

      No.  America does well when the American worker does well.  But more.  The world does well when the American worker does well.  The world economy is based on the American consumer.  The world's charities are based on the generosity of Americans with disposable income.  The world does well when the American worker does well.

      We hold these truths to be self-evident that all heterosexuals are created equal and are endowed by their Creator to certain inalienable rights; gays however...

      by ultrageek on Fri Sep 04, 2009 at 11:39:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I Just Think Of My 93 Year Old Grandfather (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        esquimaux, Pris from LA

        after he got back from WWII he got a job working at a Snap-on factory. Bought a house. Had five kids he put through college. A motorcycle. Two cars. A country club membership and a golf cart. He worked hard, but life was pretty good.

        "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." - George Orwell

        by webranding on Fri Sep 04, 2009 at 11:46:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And was it a two-income family? (0+ / 0-)

          Or did your grandma have the leisure to raise 5 kids without having to work 50 hours a week too?

          We hold these truths to be self-evident that all heterosexuals are created equal and are endowed by their Creator to certain inalienable rights; gays however...

          by ultrageek on Fri Sep 04, 2009 at 12:15:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I Have To Say Unless You Did It Yourself (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hannibal

    The ad at the bottom of your diary that says, "Join Obama for Employee Free Choice" is pretty ironic.

    ---- Don't mind me, I'm just here trolling for James Inhofe. [Note to Complete Idiots: I'm Not Really Trolling for James Inhofe]

    by TooFolkGR on Fri Sep 04, 2009 at 11:14:33 AM PDT

  •  Unfortunately it goes along with the lack.... (5+ / 0-)

    of a spine problem. Tough decisions have to be made but they have come up lacking.

  •  The Democratic Party has a lot of problems n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP

    GOPaint: Painting the conservative hypocrisy at http://gopaint.wordpress.com

    by abarrenfuture on Fri Sep 04, 2009 at 11:15:13 AM PDT

  •  Yup. (13+ / 0-)

    If Democrats don't start creating policies that get regular people jobs, they will be doomed by fundamentals as surely as the Republicans were in 2006 and 2008.

  •  The Democrats... (0+ / 0-)

    ...won't, and can't, create policies that will solve this problem any more than you can "fix" a hangover. The only solution is not getting drunk to begin with: all you can do is wait now.

    Of course, you can temporarily cure a hangover by getting massively drunk again when you wake up, but that's the strategy we've been engaging in. Even if we managed to do it this time it would just make a bigger disaster later.

    There is no escape from this problem. Only time and deflation will help.

  •  The US economy has been under going (15+ / 0-)

    cumulative changes in the employment for the past 30 years. We've had a couple of bubbles that have helped people to ignore those changes. However, the "recovery" from each recession starts from a lower point. We are slowly becoming a nation of temps. It is going to take far more basic restructuring than a stimulus program to change that reality.

  •  Lowest job loss since last August (3+ / 0-)

    Progressively fewer jobs lost month on month this year except for a blip in June. Things are going in the right direction. I see the markets agree.

  •  We wont be able to fix this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hannibal, TomP

    We are going to get the crap beat out of us in 2010 because of this and there is really nothing we can do.  As always, we can always say to ourselves, "we will rebuild, we will recover".  I dont know if we can this time.  

  •  Stiglitz: recovery may not be 'sustainable' (5+ / 0-)

    Bloomberg: Stiglitz Says U.S. Economic Recovery May Not Be ‘Sustainable’

    The U.S. economy faces a "significant chance" of contracting again after emerging from its worst recession since the 1930s, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz said.

    "It’s not clear that the U.S. is recovering in a sustainable way," Stiglitz, a Columbia University professor, told reporters yesterday in New York...

    Stiglitz said he sees two scenarios for the world’s largest economy in coming months. One is a period of "malaise," in which consumption lags and private investment is slow to accelerate. The other is a rebound fueled by government stimulus that’s followed by an abrupt downturn -- an occurrence that economists call a "W-shaped’ recovery.

    "There’s a significant chance of a W, but I don’t think it’s inevitable," he said. The economy "could just bounce along the bottom."

    Regarding jobs:

    With so much excess capacity, the American economy faces a short-term threat of disinflation and possibly deflation, Stiglitz said. Wages may even decline, given recent high productivity and the likelihood of an extended period of high unemployment, he said.

    Longer term, he said the Fed’s aggressive monetary policy will mean inflation becomes the greater threat. "With the magnitude of the deficits and the balance sheet of the Fed having been blown up, it’s understandable why there are anxieties about inflation," he said.

    •  The Stimulus was designed (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pris from LA

      to avoid this ...that's why the stimulus (the capital investment part i.e. transportation etc.) is just now kicking into gear and will last till the end of 2010. Essentially the stimulus was designed this way to give private firms time to start hiring.

      So for all the gloomy doomy naysayers around here who keep up the whining about why the stimulus wasnt designed to be more front loaded - this is the reason.

      No Way, No How, No McCain

      by nerdngeek on Fri Sep 04, 2009 at 11:52:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I am a double whammy guy.. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rick, Pithy Cherub, Pris from LA

    I have no health insurance and a job with little money..I am a commissioned salesman and am not eligible for unemployment benefits..

    I think it is all fine and dandy to support health benefits..but I need a job and so do millions just like me...

    Fix the jobs first..and then fix health care..First things first..

  •  Here Is The Chart That Blows My Mind (6+ / 0-)

    The Wealth Gap

    Kind of speaks for itself doesn't it.

    "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." - George Orwell

    by webranding on Fri Sep 04, 2009 at 11:30:14 AM PDT

    •  It's not all that difficult. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pris from LA

      Why can't more people see it?  Boggles my mind.  

      Great chart.  

      "If I understand the GOP, gov't is bloated, wasteful & inefficient. And private insurance companies can't compete w/that." Miles Kurland

      by Jbearlaw on Fri Sep 04, 2009 at 11:34:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  My Folks Are Retired And Have (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rick, NearlyNormal, Pris from LA

        a ton of money. Although they are moderate Republicans, my mom was actually thinking of voting for Edwards. His "Two Americas" line meant something to her. They don't live in a gated community. They are not blind. They see stores closing. Know people that are driving a 100 miles each day to work cause it is the only job they can find.

        "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." - George Orwell

        by webranding on Fri Sep 04, 2009 at 11:37:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •   Do they have charts for different countries? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      webranding

       I would like to compare the United States to other countries.

      •  No And I Am Trying To Recall Where I Got It (0+ / 0-)

        I am just an infograph nerd and have a folder with hundreds of them. I am sure I got it off of Digg, but can't find the article in their terrible search engine.

        "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." - George Orwell

        by webranding on Fri Sep 04, 2009 at 11:41:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I have a booklet called. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          webranding, Pris from LA

          "THE AMERICAN PROFILE POSTER" BY Stephen J Rose.  It was printed in 1986. It shows the American Middle class shrinking back then. It is very similar. On the cover it says, "Who owns what? Who makes how much? Who works where?& Who lives with whom"  I don't know if they have an updated version.

    •  The world was very different from 1944-1980 (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GN1927, webranding, Pris from LA

      In the mid 80's computers started to show up in large number in the US workplace. The IBM PC was invented in 1981.

      Before 1980, a strong work ethic and a middle school education was all that was needed to land a decent job.

      Since the 1980's, employees, especially young employees, have needed more education and training to land the new generation of jobs.

      Sadly, the US educational system is still based on preparing factory workers. Our education system has not kept pace with the changes in the world and our young are entering the job market completely unprepared.

      Until we change our schools, it is only going to get worse.

      •  That was also about the (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pris from LA

        point that women began to enter the workforce employed outside of the home in large numbers. The percentage of the population in the workforce increased substantially.

        •  Not which point "that" refers to (0+ / 0-)

          but by 1980 more than 50% of the workforce was women. I think 1979 was the first Post-War year where that was true. What's scary is that almost all the growth in median income since then, relative to inflation, has come from trying to get women's wages up to parity with men's. Men's wages have been standing still for decades. The major portion of the fierce resistance to women's rights in the 1970s and 1980s probably came from sheer bigotry, but a certain amount also came from the fact that men were no longer experiencing the "do better than your daddy did" sense of economic progress which had been the case for at least two generations, maybe three. Susan Faludi talks about this in her book Stiffed.

  •  This is a good diary about a subject that gets (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pris from LA

    little attention.  I especially appreciate your linking to the young worker report.  I have been screaming for ages that my generation, Gen-Y, has gotten royally shafted in the economic sense.  The report pretty well sums it up for us.  Unless my generation can get a foothold as our parents, the boomers, did, this country is going to head straight down the toilet.  We cannot be pushed off indefinitely; Generation X is small and when the boomers retire, we will be the largest part of the work force.  The country cannot sustain itself on a labor paradigm of minimum wage, no benefits, no job security, and a whole generation that cannot even live independently.  Whoever figures this out and capitalizes on it should do very well in politics.

    It's actually even worse than the report suggests... supposedly Social Security is going to lose solvency right around the time that my generation should retire, but no one -- and I mean NO ONE -- seems to regard this as a problem.  The GOP periodically stirs up fear that SS will be insolvent for the boomer retirement, which is completely false, but the outlook is that it WILL be insolvent for the Y/Millennial retirement.  This is a ticking time bomb -- as soon as my cohort figures out that they're (currently) not expected to get one cent back that they paid in, there will be hell to pay for the political system.  Assuming there hasn't already, of course.

    PolitiCalypso.com: There ARE still liberals hailing from the Deep South.

    by PolitiCalypso on Fri Sep 04, 2009 at 11:48:33 AM PDT

  •  This is actually looming as a bigger (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GN1927

    crisis than healthcare for the immediate future.  It is really worrisome, especially what I am seeing here in southern California.

    Every time history repeats itself, the price goes up...East Wing Rules

    by Pithy Cherub on Fri Sep 04, 2009 at 12:16:49 PM PDT

  •  unemployed (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    esquimaux

    here myself. I don't really know what to do to find a job. I look online every morning  apply when I see something even close to what I can do.
    I never even get a nibble.

    :(

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