The Federal Reserve report on Americans’ finances documents the terrible damage the Great Recession has inflicted on the nation, a toll that has been clear to its victims since the collapse began. The report’s dry language doesn’t begin to describe how bad things really are, and it stops short of blaming those who perpetuate the misery.
In pursuing this story since 2007, I and other journalists have seen foreclosed homes and visited unemployment offices, free food distributions, community health centers and mental health counselors. Former donors were now coming to free health clinics and food banks to get help themselves, an experience that will be forever remembered by their families. Lost homes, jobs and hopes are the legacy of this period.
The presidential campaign doesn’t reflect the urgency the situation demands. Republican Mitt Romney has nothing to offer except blaming President Barack Obama and joining with House Republicans in opposing presidential initiatives. Obama has some solutions, but doesn’t know how to sell them. The president had a chance last week when disappointing employment figures came out. Unfortunately at his news conference Friday, he reminded me of a bored university economics professor lecturing to an equally bored freshman class, not the nation’s leader who is in real danger of losing his office.
Take, for example, a job-creating bill that has been stalled in the House by Republicans. The measure would finance transportation projects around the country. “Clearly, the indecision in passing a transportation reauthorization bill is having a terrible impact on the construction industry—28,000 construction jobs lost last month,” said the author of the Senate-passed bill, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. .................(more)