Here Are Two Stories I Just Read Back-to-Back

[Content Note: Class warfare.]

1. Economic Policy Institute: Unemployment Rate Drops as Workers Flee Weak Labor Market.
The jobs report released this morning marks six years since the official start of the Great Recession in December 2007 and four-and-a-half years since its official end in June 2009. Today's report shows a very weak labor market, and the continued fleeing of workers from the labor force because job opportunities are weak.

The unemployment rate dropped from 7.0 percent to 6.7 percent in December, but as has been a constant refrain throughout this recovery, the improvement was not for "good" reasons. The share of the working-age population with a job did not increase in December, and the labor force participation rate dropped back down to its lowest point in 35 years. The number of "missing workers" increased from 5.6 million to 6.0 million. (Missing workers are jobless workers who are not actively seeking work but who would be either employed or looking for work if job opportunities were stronger, after taking into account long-run demographic trends.) If these workers were in the labor force looking for work, the unemployment rate would be 10.2% instead of 6.7%.

...With job opportunities so weak for so long, workers have gotten stuck in unemployment for record lengths of time. Last month, the extensions of unemployment insurance benefits were allowed to expire—an unprecedented move given the weak state of the labor market. The share of the workforce that is long-term unemployed (i.e., jobless for more than six months) is nearly twice as high today as it was in any other period when we allowed an extended benefits program to expire following earlier recessions. This is no time for Congress to turn its back on the long-term unemployed.
Emphasis mine.

2. OpenSecrets: Millionaires' Club: For First Time, Most Lawmakers are Worth $1 Million-Plus.
For the first time in history, most members of Congress are millionaires, according to a new analysis of personal financial disclosure data by the Center for Responsive Politics.

Of 534 current members of Congress, at least 268 had an average net worth of $1 million or more in 2012, according to disclosures filed last year by all members of Congress and candidates. The median net worth for the 530 current lawmakers who were in Congress as of the May filing deadline was $1,008,767—an increase from last year when it was $966,000. In addition, at least one of the members elected since then, Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), is a millionaire, according to forms she filed as a candidate. (There is currently one vacancy in Congress.)

Last year only 257 members, or about 48 percent of lawmakers, had a median net worth of at least $1 million.

Members of Congress have long been far wealthier than the typical American, but the fact that now a majority of members—albeit just a hair over 50 percent—are millionaires represents a watershed moment at a time when lawmakers are debating issues like unemployment benefits, food stamps and the minimum wage, which affect people with far fewer resources, as well as considering an overhaul of the tax code.
Emphasis mine.

The ruling elite has never been so elite! Wheeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Meanwhile, thanks to a slew of garbage decisions by the US Supreme Court, like the democracy-obliterating Citizens United, he (used advisedly) who has the most money wins. It's virtually impossible for a candidate with fewer resources to win a congressional campaign now. So we are looking forward to a whole lot more of privileged millionaires making decisions about a social safety net they will never need.

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus