The Obama administration and all the bosses’ media pundits lie that the continuing massive unemployment — the greatest since the Depression of the 1930s — is dropping. But according to Shadowstats.com the figures coming out of the government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics are “openly misleading.” (“March Employment and Unemployment”)
The headlines scream a miniscule “decline” in March from 8.92% to 8.83%. But the real world, says Shadowstats, shows 22% unemployed and underemployed when adding the 8.4 million working part-time because they can’t get full-time work and the 6.4 million short-term “discouraged” workers — those who’ve stopped looking for non-existent jobs for the last six months.
Yet even this 22% doesn’t include the millions of long-term “discouraged” workers — those out of work longer than six months and up to a year or more — nor workers on welfare who would want a job if they could afford daycare for their children. Actually, 125,000 jobs per month are needed just to keep up with population growth.
Furthermore, at least a million youth joined the military because they couldn’t find a job. And at least 1.4 million imprisoned on non-violent drug possession charges (put in rehab programs, not jails, in most industrialized countries) would add even more to the jobless rolls, given their meager chance of being hired as “ex-felons.” Finally millions of laid-off undocumented immigrant workers are never counted at all.
Thus, the total jobless rate exceeds 30%. And as for youth, “Teenage unemployment remains off the charts.” (NY Times, 4/2)
How long will these millions remain jobless? “If the economy adds 200,000 jobs a month, [the latest “reported” number] it will be 2019 before it reaches the employment rate that preceded this recession.” (NY Times, 4/2) That’s what capitalist economists call the “normal” rate — 6%. Yes, under capitalism it’s “normal” in the current labor force for possibly 10 million workers to be unemployed!
However, because of racist discrimination — “last hired, first fired” — unemployment for black and Latino workers are double the overall rates. In Detroit 50% of black males are jobless.
So this is what Obama and the economists call “an improving economy.” This is the state of capitalism for the U.S. working class entering the second decade of the 21st century.
It’s drastically worse for our sisters and brothers abroad. In Spain, a so-called “industrialized” country, it’s “officially” 20%. In the Middle-Eastern countries “in rebellion,” and in Latin-America the rates reach 40% to 50% or more. South Africa’s “official rate” is 25% but more realistically 40% to 50% overall and 80% to 90% in the former Apartheid “townships.” (NPR, 4/7) In Haiti it’s 80%!
Meanwhile, in the U.S., “Hourly wages are falling because with unemployment so high, most people…will take whatever they can get.” (Robert Reich Blog, 4/1) Yet there’s only one job opening for every five jobless workers (NY Times, 4/1).
Obama’s ‘Shared Sacrifice’ — Trillions for Imperialist War
In true capitalist fashion, Wall Street profits rose to $426 BILLION in the last quarter of 2010 alone. (U.S. Commerce Dept.) The financiers’ bonuses in 2010 cleared $150 billion. Yet states have begun to cut the maximum weeks the jobless can collect unemployment benefits from 26 to 20.
“State and local governments are slashing their budgets by roughly $110 billion this year” (Reich Blog, 4/1) but Obama sends 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan and each one costs $1 million per year to maintain. His war on Libya cost $550 million in the first ten days.
As millions walk the streets and lose their homes, U.S. bosses use the money stolen from the working class to carry on their wars in their rivalry with other imperialists for control of markets, cheap labor abroad and resources, especially oil and gas, the lifeline of capitalism. In turn, these wars enforce poverty wages in the wake of these invasions, adding still more to their profits.
This entire capitalist Great Recession — a Depression for the 35 million jobless, especially for black, Latino and Asian workers — was propelled by the system’s drive for maximum profits. Wall Street bankers manipulated the home loan market to reap trillions, and, when this “bubble” exploded, tens of millions were driven from their jobs and more millions from their homes. Then Obama turned around and appointed the very same bosses who profited from the crisis to run the economy!
Crises Built into Profit System
Such crises are embedded in the profit system. This current one follows a long line of many which occur every six to ten years, going back to the 1800s.
Only the overthrow of capitalism, eliminating the exploitation of the working class by eliminating the bosses who do the exploiting, can end these crises of racist unemployment. This requires a working class led by the revolutionary Progressive Labor Party. This Party must be built to be able to lead such a revolution, whose goal is a communist society in which workers control the means of production and run everything on behalf of our class.
An important way to build PLP would be to organize workers in every realm of society to fight this jobless crisis — one expected to last this entire decade — with organizations of the unemployed, with demonstrations, mass marches and strikes. In such an intensified class struggle, we can expose the source of our oppression and win millions of workers worldwide to understand the necessity for communist revolution, truly a “school for communism.”