CBS News / 60 Minutes
Unemployment improved a bit last month but it is still nearly nine percent and the trouble is job creation is so slow, it will be years before we get back the seven and a half million jobs lost in the Great Recession. American families have been falling out of the middle class in record numbers. The combination of lost jobs and millions of foreclosures means a lot of folks are homeless and hungry for the first time in their lives.
One of the consequences of the recession that you don't hear a lot about is the record number of children descending into poverty.
The government considers a family of four to be impoverished if they take in less than $22,000 a year. Based on that standard, and government projections of unemployment, it is estimated the poverty rate for kids in this country will soon hit 25 percent. Those children would be the largest American generation to be raised in hard times since the Great Depression.
In Seminole County, near Orlando, Fla., so many kids have lost their homes that school busses now stop at dozens of cheap motels where families crowd into rooms, living week to week.
But by all means, let's piss away the time talking about austerity for the poor and tax cuts for the rich. Let's have state and federal shutdowns while politicians insist that no, in this greatest recession since the Depression, we just aren't interested in creating jobs or continuing support for the poor. We're in a nationwide war against public workers and teachers, and a state-by-state rollback of family planning services—now that puts a fire in political pot-bellies, but jobs? It's not even being discussed.
You know something? This generation of kids is going to grow up hating the people who put them in poverty, and then kept them there. The government doesn't give a damn about them. The Republicans have a fit if anyone even tries to give a damn about them. Their own states certainly don't give a damn about them. You think Chris Christie, Scott Walker, or Rick Scott gives a damn about nearly 25 percent of American children now living in poverty? I sure haven't heard a peep out of them.
A whole generation marked by poverty. Poverty caused by wealthy bankers making crappy bets, but then prolonged excruciatingly by a nation of political leaders who literally could not possibly do less to get out of recession if they tried. Poverty that will have long-term effects on these children's future prospects, and in turn on the American economy that will rely on them.
Forget mere disapproval: I think anyone talking about austerity for these children's families, while simultaneously coddling the rich and the corporate, deserves to be tarred, feathered, and set adrift in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The more you hear the hard numbers of how bad this "jobless recovery" actually is for people, the more offensive it becomes.