It's not just that jobs are gone. It's that few good jobs are left. Few jobs that offer something they call "job security." People know this reality. Wall street doesn't care about it much, but it should. Confidence is related to certainty. More over the river.
Career used to be a word ordinary people threw around all the time. Deciding what field to pursue was a life decision. Middle class odd balls were the ones who didn’t want a career (or didn’t have one). Now, most of us have little choice in the matter. There’s fewer and fewer career jobs. And with careers came things like healthcare and pensions. For those that didn’t have a pension available, social security was there.
But we all know those days of career jobs are behind us. We know where this is going. We can see America turning the clock back to a time before WWII or even WWI. To a time when we didn’t lead the industrialized world. When we were more free-for-all. And those days are slowly returning. We know it, and we feel it, hear it, everyday.
Without job security, there is no certainty. Even more so in a country without public healthcare. Without long-term welfare. We know security is important. We pass Patriot Acts and fund the largest military ever created. We start wars of preemption to make sure we’re more secure. We violate treaties and common sense, just to believe we’re more secure.
Our biggest corporations know how important security is, and we make sure to keep them secure. We give them money–even if they’ve screwed up–to make sure they’re secure. We hire lots of police and lock up more than any other country in the name of making our streets secure.
And we try to create jobs in order to create "stability." Stability in the financial and housing markets. We know without stability, there is no security.
But we (the media, politicians, economists, pundits and fundits) don’t really talk about what happens when someone doesn’t have a job. Or what really happens when someone loses their job. We boil those thoughts into figures like "weekly new unemployment claims" and "non-farm payrolls". Sure there might be a quick two-minute piece on the news about a Nancy who’s out of work, but it usually ends with a "we’ll get by" moment.
We don’t talk about the effects of layoffs on security. The effects of students worried about finding jobs. We pretend all will work out, if we keep everything else in place.
We live in modern America, with all the benefits of humankind at our fingertips. But as with healthcare, we deny ourselves the one thing we all crave; security. The knowledge that even if things don’t work out for me in one job, I can pick up and work hard in a different job. That when I graduate, all the money I’ve borrowed will be paid back because I’ll work hard and a job will be there. The knowledge that hard work will pay off in The American Dream sort of way. We vote for that dream, but we don’t ever really live it. We even dream of winning lotteries, because then we’ll live that American Dream we’ve all thought about.
There’s something in us that won’t let the truth come out. Something that won’t say, "we should have a right to a job." Something that scares us about capitalism not working if we all are assured a job if we show up, work hard, and expect the basics in life. Are we afraid we’ll fail? Are we afraid to believe in something because it might let us down?
Only in socialist-like societies are jobs assured. Very few such places exist. Even China (so-called Communist) has high unemployment (especially in rural areas). But without more assurances that the basic, long-term job is there, we won’t see a full return to the capitalist cycle that drives growth.
Wall street, Republicans, some Democrats and others may be upset about using TARP funds to provide jobs, but the fact is, we need jobs more than we need new housing construction or Christmas bonuses. We need assurances more than we need to pay down the national debt. And we’d better start doing something about jobs or we might have a population that is willing to pass radical legislation in the name of security. Job security.