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American Nightmare continues - unemployment , underemployment and uncounted misery

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Our media is caught in a time warp. They report economic issues based on election years cycles. However, free trade and globalization now have more than a twenty year history of failures.  It is time to tell it like is and cover the real war- it's the war on workers dignity and the value of workers and labor. See http://tapsearch.com/bizarre-politics-news/id32.html

Lower unemployment rates leave out uncounted misery and the hard facts about "easy" bankruptcies.....  The bankruptcy rate for those over 45 who filed for bankruptcy increased from 27 percent in 1994 to 39 percent in 2002.  People over 55 and older now account for more than 22 percent of those filing for bankruptcy, up from less than 10 percent in 1994. (Plain Dealer "Older Americans filing for bankruptcy in increasing numbers" - July 4th, 2007).  47% of all small business people have reportedly maxed out their credit cards.
With the new bankruptcy laws, others are not declaring bankruptcy because of the costs, the need to take a course before doing it and then having to take another course after bankruptcy.  The Legal Aid Society will not take cases that are considered to be "Judgement Proof".
This means many just give up but this does not stop the constant harassment  by collection agencies and attorneys.
DOES LOWER UNEMPLOYMENT "RATE"  MEAN UNCOUNTED MISERY?" __________________________________________
From Cleve. Plain Dealer  - Ray Tapajna:  Updated in July 2007 from the late 1990s when original letter was published. Nothing much has changed.  What do you think is the real unemployment rate compared to the 1950s,  the 1960s or the 1970s. 
The minimum wage still is the lowest minimum wage in over 50 years.
A good article by Sandra Livingston in the Cleveland Plain Dealer a few years ago was titled "Getting a job one day at a time" regarding temporary help and one has to wonder how the unemployment rate can be so low. Only about 38% of all workers now qualify for unemployment insurance in America. Temporary, casual labor, day labor, part-time, lease and independent jobs grow and grow.  In the 1970s, the employment rate was primarily based on full-time jobs with benefits including most workers qualifying for unemployment insurance. Today this is not the case.  There is no unemployment data covering these workers. Millions are "missing in action" from any kind of reporting.
In the high-tech area,  a top industry magazine reported that workers were ready for a UPS type strike in Silicon Valley, where at the time, 40 percent of all high tech workers reside. It never happened because so many were competing for the same jobs.  In the Slicon Valley, many jobs are now temporary contract jobs with many more inviting because they last longer than the regular jobs. The temp jobs carry few benefits if any at all. The media and government keeps reporting a scarcity of high tech workers. In the Clinton years, millions in the high tech industries lost their jobs.  In 1997 and 1998 alone, close to 500,000 lost their jobs in high tech.
Surrounding these years, during the most massive dislocation of jobs in U.S. history, more than a 100 computer manufacturers in the U.S. closed down. With others, the only thing that remains in the USA was their brand name  with most of all operations outside the USA.
We need to ask and keep asking how the low unemployment rate is counted. It is obvious it does not match up with what is happening on the streets. Hurrican Katrina in New Orleans exposed a vast underclass which contradicted most unemployment data.
In our city, there are more than 250 temporary help offices in the yellow pages. We  had only a few back in the 1970s when the population of the city was double in size.  We went to a world series baseball game in the late 1990s and celebrated a victory but our emotions were change rapidly after seeing a sea of black faces  waiting to clean up our mess at the stadium.  There was no sign of celebration in their faces. The celebration of statistical prosperity is limited to only a few.  On top of this, we have the greatest number of children living in poverty among all the developed countries in the world .  At the same time, the stock market thrives on workers getting fired instead of hired while letters to the editor  complain about beggars on our main downtown streets.
This commentary was first written around the time Warren Beatty made a political satire movie.  He said  a 100 million or so were worst off than ever in their lives.  A church bulletin in our city stated - "Success was getting to Social Security age before having to declare bankruptcy". This is America in our times.  Paraphrasing Senator Everett Dirksen,  Beatty says 100 million here and a 100 million there starts adding up to alot of people. It makes one wonder how many of us are living in a silent depression as the food lines grow in our cities and rural areas.
* Note: The Bureau of Labor Statistics unemployment data is based on a monthly interviewing of 50,000 households with occupants over the age of 16.  These occupants are asked if they were looking for a job in a certain week in the previous month. If they say no, they are considered employed even if they do not have a jobs.
________________Ray Tapajna, Cleveland Plain Dealer 9/98 with update July 2007 - not much has changed except new laws that harass those with financial difficulties and the lies continue in the Bush years.
In the Plain Dealer editorial (Aug 29) regarding the surge of bankruptcies, it is not difficult to understand why so many are going bankrupt.  In recent years, there has been a massive dislocation of workers. When they are terminated, they think they will find another job of equal value easily in this "good economy".  They use their credit cards  and credit lines as temporary loans to get them through the period of adjustment. However as time goes by, they are surprised that they can not find a job of equal value, and that $7 an hour never will pay the same bills as $15 to $20 an hour.  Their temporary loans become moe permanent, with little hope of paying them off. (  Once the interest rates go over 18%, it is the end of the game with the rates climbing as hight as 34% ). Since late 1997, more than 200,000 have lost their jobs at more than 20 major corporations. ( in just one year )-  In recent years, more than a million workers  have lost their jobs in the computer field and more than 100 companies have closed down completely.
What workers have to understand  now is this. When they lose their jobs, they have to take those "Mickey Mouse" jobs sooner instead of later in our "Disneyland" economy and not worry so much about saving their homes - ( they must learn to downgrade better ).  Many use their credit cards  to start a business of their own. Again, these people should have live in rental homes and taken the "Mickey Mouse" jobs rather than trying to make it on their own. This way our "good economy" can avoid all these bankruptcies.
Added note - article from Plain Dealer, Jan 31 1999 - BUSINESS OWNERS MAX OUT CREDIT CARDS. In findings that many financial experts call alarming, shows 47 percent of small and medium-sized businesses are maxing out their credit cards to keep afloat.) ( Personal bankrupticies have broken records almost every year since then. About 39 percent of all over age 45, have filed for bankruptcy during the years 1992 to 2002 with later figures still not available. Congress,  with many members having double dipper incomes,  changed the bankruptcy laws to stop the number of people filing. However, the rules are so difficult that many just give up and do nothing. - the void between the upper and lower class grows. People like Cavuto on Fox News keep singing the old refrain - "Happy Days are here again" while a Silent Depression is adrift in our land. Hurricane Katrina exposed a vast underclass adrift in New Orleans.  It is obvious the same could be applied  across the whole country.  Congress blamed consumer spending for the credit card bankruptcy mess - with many forced to use credit cards to buy their next meal. )




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And note Hillary wasn't home baking cookies when her husband pushed the passage of free trade economics. Running for president in 2015-16, she is trying to hide her part in the process.
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