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Unemployment

by on January 16, 2010

No, not my own unemployment, though that sucks too.
I refuse to accept the notion, put forth by laissez-faire economists, that what is now 15 million people in America are out of a job because they are too lazy, indigent, or unlucky. People (I grant some exceptions to this rule) do not stay unemployed because they enjoy it. The “natural” unemployment levels we accept of 5-7% may be in part due to workers in between jobs. But I don’t think that 7% of people sit around saying, “I wonder how I can avoid work today, so my credit can fail and I can be homeless.” Sorry, no.
Some level of unemployment is unavoidable. Some people are not right for the job they have, lose the job, and must look for another job. But not, I contend, 5-7% of the workforce. (Actually, now it’s 10% of the workforce). That’s not a choice people make. But unemployment is not for the greater benefit to society, and even a ‘rational’, profit-first business model should recognize that unemployment — even of its own workers — does not help.
If the economic multiplier is 5 (there’s some disagreement of whether if falls around 3 or 5), and an employer decides to permanently remove a job, guess what happens. The very-micro-economy of that area of town falls. Do that across the country and guess what happens. REMOVING JOBS IS NOT A SOLUTION. Yes, short-term interests are wonderful, but they won’t really ever help us.

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