Everything Looks Fine From Where They're Sitting

Chris Hayes has written a great piece called "Why Washington Doesn't Care About Jobs." An excerpt:
This disconnect between the jobs crisis in the country and the blithe dismissal thereof in Washington is the most incomprehensible aspect of the political moment. But I think there are two numbers that go a long way toward explaining it.

The first is 4.2. That's the percentage of Americans with a four-year college degree who are unemployed. It's less than half the official unemployment rate of 9 percent for the labor force as a whole and one-fourth the underemployment rate (which counts those who have given up looking for work or are working part time but want full-time work) of 16.1 percent. So while the overall economy continues to suffer through the worst labor market since the Great Depression, the elite centers of power have recovered. For those of us fortunate enough to have graduated from college—and to have escaped foreclosure or an underwater mortgage—normalcy has returned.

The other number is 5.7 percent. That's the unemployment rate for the Washington/Arlington/Alexandria metro area and just so happens to be lowest among large metropolitan areas in the entire country. In 2010 the DC metro area added 57,000 jobs, more than any in the nation, and now boasts the hottest market for commercial office space. In other words: DC is booming. You can see it in the restaurants opening all over North West, the high prices that condos fetch in the real estate market and the general placid sense of bourgeois comfort that suffuses the affluent upper- and upper-middle-class pockets of the region.

What these two numbers add up to is a governing elite that is profoundly alienated from the lived experiences of the millions of Americans who are barely surviving the ravages of the Great Recession.
Definitely read the whole thing.

The fundamental problem we face in stemming the tide is that our politics is now ruled by money. Neither party has any interest in governing in a way that addresses the needs of desperate people, because desperate people have no money, and funding a robust social safety net would necessitate passing legislation that their corporate masters wouldn't like.

We are in a new Gilded Age of robber barons and paupers, and a fighting a new civil war in which we are divided by class, but, even if there were some superhero combo of FDR and Abraham Lincoln on the horizon who gives a fuck about restoring some sort of equilibrium, who gives a fuck about reuniting the Two Americas, zie couldn't get elected because who's gonna subsidize that shit?

Grim stuff.

They are looking at our raised teaspoons, and they are telling us to use them to eat cake. And that is a bad calculation. For all of us.

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