N.Y. Times: The unem­ployed just need Marx­ist lead­er­ship

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary -

The New York Times re­ported on the front page of its Sun­day Busi­ness sec­tion re­cently that “Some­how, the Unem­ployed Be­came In­vis­i­ble”. “Un­less you are one of those un­happy 14 mil­lion, you might not even no­tice the prob­lem,” Cather­ine Rampell re­ported with all the au­thor­ity the Gray Lady can muster. Which is not much. This is how out of touch Amer­ica’s self-pro­claimed se­ri­ous jour­nal­ists have be­come. And it goes well be­yond lib­eral bias. I don’t ques­tion Ms. Rampell’s po­lit­i­cal mo­tives nearly as much as I won­der what planet she lives on.

As na­tive-born Earth res­i­dents, I and ev­ery­one I know are starkly aware of un­em­ploy­ment and the dam­age it has wrought. Cov­er­ing Wash­ing­ton, I no­ticed that just two weeks ago, the most pow­er­ful Repub­li­can in Wash­ing­ton, John A. Boehner, speaker of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, took to Twit­ter, a widely used so­cial me­dia site, to ask Barack Obama, a man also of some note, where all the jobs were that sup­pos­edly came with that $800 bil­lion stim­u­lus pack­age.

The idea that we’ve for­got­ten the unem­ployed is hardly the most fan­ci­ful ped­dled by Ms. Rampell. Even if we did re­mem­ber the poor bas­tards, she writes, we’re not pay­ing at­ten­tion to them be­cause they’re po­lit­i­cally ir­rel­e­vant. At just 9.2 per­cent of the work force, “the unem­ployed are a rel­a­tively small con­stituency.”

Never mind that those 14 mil­lion peo­ple are mar­ried (af­fect­ing 28 mil­lion) and have 1.4 kids (47 mil­lion) and many of them have a best friend (61 mil­lion), a sib­ling or three (75 mil­lion) and a par­ent or two (96 mil­lion). If you con­sid­ered those facts, you might get the idea that nearly ev­ery­one is con­nected to un­em­ploy­ment, and in­ti­mately at that.

Then there are the mil­lions of Amer­i­cans who don’t count as unem­ployed be­cause they have given up their job search or can only find part-time or me­nial work for which they are overqual­i­fied.

Then there are the mil­lions more who work at com­pa­nies where they’ve seen co-work­ers laid off and all those peo­ple’s chil­dren, par­ents, si­b­lings and friends who fear what comes next.

And, of course, that scarcity of jobs and the fail­ure of this ad­min­is­tra­tion to do any­thing of sub­stance about the prob­lem are at the cen­ter of the Repub­li­can Party’s cri­tique of Pres­i­dent Obama. The only way any­one could not hear about the job­less ev­ery day would be if he nei­ther knew nor lis­tened to any Re- pub­li­can and lived in a world where ex­po­sure to any Repub­li­can or his ideas would im­me­di­ately lead to a call to the ex­ter­mi­na­tor.

Which may well be true in Ms. Rampell’s case be­cause the next words to sally forth from her pen were “And with apolo­gies to Karl Marx, the work­ers of the world, par­tic­u­larly the unem­ployed, are also no longer unit­ing.”

You see the unem­ployed vote less than those with jobs, ac­cord­ing to some po­lit­i­cal sci­en­tist or other.

There­fore, ob­vi­ously, they don’t count. Never mind that un­em­ploy­ment and the econ­omy were top is­sues in the 2010 elec­tion and vot­ers smashed the party they blame for the fact that the eco­nomic “re­cov­ery” is a splut­ter­ing mess hardly wor­thy of the name.

Surely we should be­lieve the words of po­lit­i­cal sci­en­tists rather than our own ly­ing eyes and silly elec­tion re­sults. Elec­tions aren’t sci­en­tif­i­cally de­signed, and the elec­torate is not rep­re­sen­ta­tive of Amer­i­cans as a whole.

The last elec­tion could re­ally have been about the avail­abil­ity of corn frit­ters in Saskatchewan.

So what would make Ms. Rampell happy and turn our at­ten­tion back to the for­got­ten, in­vis­i­ble, suf­fer­ing unem­ployed?

“Dur­ing the Great De­pres­sion, ri­ots erupted on the bread lines,” she writes, quot­ing a his­to­rian who says, “There used to be a sense that un­em­ploy­ment was rich soil for rad­i­cal­iza­tion and revolt.”

So why not to­day, the in­trepid re­porter won­ders. “In­tel­lec­tu­als used to play a big role. . . . In the 1930s, Com­mu­nists and so­cial­ists were a ma­jor force.”

With­out the com­mu­nists to lead them, the poor, uneducated and eas­ily led unem­ployed don’t know what to do. Ms. Rampell writes, “To the ex­tent that frus­tra­tions are be­ing chan­neled at all, they are be­ing chan­neled largely through the Tea Party. But the Tea Party is mostly against de­vot­ing gov­ern­ment re­sources to help­ing the unem­ployed.”

It is as if those silly unem­ployed peo­ple think it’s the pri­vate sec­tor that might give them a new job.

If only we had a bunch of 1930s com­mu­nists around to lead us, we wouldn’t have made this mis­take.

I guess we all owe a big apol­ogy to Karl Marx. Dude, we’ve failed you. I only hope you can for­give us our Tea Par­ties.

David Mastio is the deputy editorial page edi­tor of The Wash­ing­ton Times.

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