Friday, December 14, 2012

Throwing people away?

In my blog post yesterday, I questioned whether we have, as a culture, determined that some percentage of Americans are necessary casualties, i.e., throwaway people. People who we relegate to joblessness and poverty, so that the larger group can live comfortably. To put it another way, have we determined that there are not enough resources and jobs for everyone, so some sub-group of the population is simply going to have to live in misery.

Arthur Delaney, a Huffington Post journalist who regularly covers unemployment issues, wrote a piece yesterday--"Long-Term Unemployed Left Out of Recovery: Study"--detailing how there is probable hiring discrimination against the long-term unemployed (based on research, not just anecdotal evidence), how there are fewer and fewer long-term unemployed collecting unemployment benefits, and how extended unemployment benefits may not continue in the new year.

Question: If the long-term unemployed are discriminated against by private sector companies, and we are not going to create a WPA-type jobs program, and we are slowly but surely phasing out extended unemployment benefits, and we are cutting federal funding for job retraining programs (see, e.g., here), what is left for these people in terms of employment? Is it just "game over" for them, and we all throw up our hands and say, "oh well"?

Our fellow citizens need help. Why are we turning our backs on them?

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