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Jobs Jobs Jobs

So where are the jobs?  The economy is supposed to be getting better. They tell me jobless claims are down.  Read this. Wall Street reacts positively to this news.  But does that really mean more people are working? Or does it mean that more people just fell off the rolls?  They have maxed out and can’t seek more unemployment help.  Are businesses really hiring?

I am not an economist. Far from it. But I am a listener.  I listen to people’s stories.  That’s why they come to visit with the rabbi to tell their story.  Sometimes it comes in the form of a question or two. But always there is a story attached.  And the main story of the last two years has been about work. Or the lack thereof. There are still so many people unemployed or underemployed. They were working full-time but now only part – time.  Or they are forced to free-lance or temp. Or they were laid off and haven’t worked and can’t find work.  It is outrageous.  It is not just blue-collar workers whose plant jobs have been shipped overseas but professionals as well.  Every one is affected and the economy continues to sputter without any vitality at all.

I know I see Wall Street edge up.  And I see companies taking profits.  But on the ground there are still many who are out of work.  The election in a month is about jobs.  Creating more of them.  And creating the conditions that will create more of them.  I know that two years is a short amount of time after 8 years of disaster.  You can’t fix all of our problems overnight.  But we need serious people to deal with serious economic realities.  People of both parties wake up.

As Thomas Friedman wrote in his NYTimes op-ed:

Obama probably did the best he could do, and that’s the point. The best our current two parties can produce today — in the wake of the worst existential crisis in our economy and environment in a century — is suboptimal, even when one party had a huge majority. Suboptimal is O.K. for ordinary times, but these are not ordinary times. We need to stop waiting for Superman and start building a super consensus to do the superhard stuff we must do now. Pretty good is not even close to good enough today.

These times are difficult. And are more difficult when you are out of work.  Wake up people demand better from our political leaders and yes from the companies as well.