Maybe, Just Maybe, Our Economic Recovery ... Isn't!

ALPERN AT LARGE - Maybe, just maybe, our recovery, well...isn't.

And maybe, just maybe, those apologists for our current "Powers That Be" need to stop name-calling, demonizing and otherwise using McCarthy like methods to shut up the naysayers decrying the non-existence of this much-hyped recovery. 

Maybe, just maybe, those believing we're NOT in a recovery comprise our nation's majority, as just noted in a McClatchy-Marist poll.  Fewer people believe that we're not in a recovery compared to last year, but maybe, just maybe, no one should be too impressed. 

Maybe, just maybe, our unemployment and especially our UNDEREMPLOYMENT is much higher than our elected would care to admit (and who therefore just demonize the other side of the political aisle to deflect criticism of their own failures), and it's been this way since before the turn of the century. 

Maybe, just maybe, we're in a Second Depression of both a fiscal and psychological nature, in that those of us lucky enough to score jobs with benefits are very often trapped because of those benefits, or those of us who can't score such a job need to work 2-3 jobs just to meet our goals (and feel trapped...and so exhausted!), or those of us with insufficient part-time work can barely make ends meet (and feel...again...trapped!). 

Maybe, just maybe, there are many citizens (employers, contractors and employees alike) who fear what ObamaCare will do to unemployment, underemployment and health care costs no matter what the Obama Administration says, and that while some will clearly benefit, the $684 million advertisement blitz (paid for on the taxpayers' dime) by Washington is proof positive that this program has SERIOUS problems. 

Maybe, just maybe, we need to ask ourselves whether we want to slam corporations and small employers with higher taxes, or to just demand they cover health care and other benefits...and we need to PICK ONE. 

Maybe, just maybe, we need to make some HARD, TOUGH, PAINFUL BUT NECESSARY decisions as to whether medium to lower-income "service industry" jobs can allow an employer to provide health/benefits coverage for those type of jobs at 40 hours a week, and we need to be open to 40+ hour workweeks for those who want benefits of their choosing (I've been doing that for years, by the way, as much as I don't like it). 

Maybe, just maybe, we need to highlight and daylight those employers (both corporate and small business) who are GOOD CORPORATE CITIZENS to make sure that a few wealthy folks don't live high on the hog while huge swaths of American citizens live like serfs.  Or is "trickle-down economics" something we all believe in? 

Maybe, just maybe, by encouraging employers to hire fewer full-time employees, and by creating a society where two full-time jobs are necessary to raise a family and pay the rent, we are necessitating more full-time employees and artificially creating a higher unemployment rate...at the expense of our time with our families and quality of life. 

Maybe, just maybe, we should stop focusing on how our employer and/or our government is our lifeline and pursue a tax code that makes it easier to achieve employment, allow us to move easier between jobs, and tell our misbehaving employers to "take this job and shove it" if they mistreat us or underpay us. 

Maybe, just maybe, we should frame unemployment, the minimum wage, and our illegal immigration problem as a way to support and define what is a truly INDEPENDENT WAGE (can we get rid of that obnoxious "living wage" term, please?) to allow more Americans to reach that unassailable, unreplaceable plateau of life when they can make a living as they see fit...once called The American Dream. 

And maybe, just maybe, with our cities and our minority brothers and sisters drowning and trapped in the most miserable part of our neverending economic woes, we can have our electeds focus on doing what it takes to attract capital, create jobs and restore dignity to those who've either never had or virtually forgotten that way of life. 

(Really, Detroit--you're focusing on the Florida/Martin/Zimmerman tragedy in the middle of the largest municipal bankruptcy in American history...and in the middle of a hellish spike in minority deaths in Detroit, Chicago and other major cities?) 

And maybe, those opposing the media hype, Washington hype, celebrity activist hype surrounding the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman tragedy are NOT monsters or racists, but who are decrying self-serving agendas that ignore the real issues, scandals and shortcomings of our leadership by spinning and rewriting reality to appease the masses during our ongoing economic and political woes. 

Maybe, just maybe, real people (particularly the middle class and our minority brothers and sisters) are getting HURT and seeing their own American Dream fade away after decades of ill-advised and agenda-driven policies that have racist and elitist overtones...and have come from BOTH major political parties. 

Maybe, just maybe, our modern-day nation has devolved into a (Dare I say it?  Dare I?) Statist and Elitist era which could be termed (Dare I say it?  Dare I?) Socialism that has a few connected, appointed winners and a whole lot of miserable citizens disregarded and treated like lower life forms. 

And maybe, just maybe, our celebrity-obsessed, youth-obsessed, reality-show-obsessed nation has either given up, sought emotional refuge, or refused to grasp the opportunities that still exist in our nation during an Era That Is Anything But A Recovery...while it's getting ever-tougher to hang on to Hope, Love of Country and Caring For Our Fellow Citizens.  

(Ken Alpern is a Westside Village Zone Director and Boardmember of the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC), previously co-chaired its Planning and Outreach Committees, and currently is Co-Chair of its MVCC Transportation/Infrastructure Committee. He is co-chair of the CD11 Transportation Advisory Committee and chairs the nonprofit Transit Coalition, and can be reached at Alpern@MarVista.org.  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .He also co-chairs the grassroots Friends of the Green Line at www.fogl.us. The views expressed in this article are solely those of Mr. Alpern.) 

-cw

 

 

 

 

CityWatch

Vol 11 Issue 60

Pub: July 26, 2013