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Reply #14: America's army of jobless [View All]

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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 06:47 AM
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14. America's army of jobless
http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-gr...

When President Obama announced that 40,000 troops now in Iraq would come home by the end of the year, the initial excitement quickly turned to concern that our already struggling economy couldn't easily handle the shock of an additional 40,000 job seekers.

Although we should, of course, care deeply about returning Iraq war veterans, we ought not to think for a moment that adding 40,000 workers to the job-seeking pool will break the back of the economy. It's already broken. The nation is laboring under the weight of a reserve army of nearly 27 million women and men who don't have a full-time job, but most surely want one.

The term "reserve army of labor" is vintage Karl Marx. But let's not hold that against it if it's on the mark. These workers are on reserve; they are standing ready to work. And their sheer numbers make them an army.

Who is in this reserve army? It has four quite distinct divisions. The first and best-known division, the unemployed, now includes about 13.9 million people, according to figures released in early November. About two-fifths of this group count as long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or longer). As unemployment increasingly becomes a long-term status, many former workers will no longer view themselves as workers but rather as permanently outside the economy. This is an important and crucial step in the formation of a so-called underclass...
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