Tell Your Story

I’ve just added a new form where you can submit your own recession story to New Hard Times. We’ll review it and let you know when we publish it. You can also check a box telling us you’d like to be interviewed for our story collection, alongside Margi’s, Bianca’s, and mine. The form is always accessible under the More Stories tab, or in the Pages section in the right-hand column. Thank you for participating. We are all in this together.

New Update in My Story

I’ve posted a new update to My Story. Bottom line: lots of activity, but still no job on the horizon.

It also explains why I haven’t posted much in the last month, even though a lot has been going on. But I have done two more interviews – one, about Sarah, is published on a new page; the other should be published this week – and should be back to a more regular posting schedule once my photo class has ended the first week of August.

Meanwhile, feel free to write a comment or to Tell Your Story.

New Story: Sarah: Temp to Perm?

Office Pro magazine logoIn normal times, Sarah would have no trouble landing a temp job that often turned into a permanent position. But these are anything but normal times. Read Sarah’s story.

Update: Louis G. Landed a Good Job!

celebrate imageJust as we had fervently hoped, that happy day has arrived: Louis G. did receive and accept an offer from the manufacturing firm and starts his new job in early July. Read the update.

New Story: Serena: For Want of a Degree . . .

image of blackberry smart phoneAfter 22 years as a successful contract manager, often working 24/7, Serena has had plenty of interviews but no job offers since losing her position 10 months ago. Although she has a supportive, employed husband, health insurance, and other resources, it’s the “no job offers” that she struggles with the most. “What I find most challenging is that I’m not even given the opportunity to fight for a job.” As with previous stories, you can always get there from the More Stories tab up top, or in the Pages section on the right.

New Resource: “Unemployment Insurance Basics” Now Complete

The “Unemployment Insurance Basics” page is now complete. Its link will remain in the Resources section up top, plus in the Pages section to the right.

Why Washington Doesn’t Act to Create Jobs

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman writes this week, in “Rule by Rentiers,” that all the hoopla in Washington about the U.S. debt is a smokescreen for policies favoring the usual suspects: bankers and their wealthy bondholders. Krugman calls their Washington representatives the Pain Caucus.

Those policies amount to Cuts, Cuts, and More Cuts, and Krugman says they are not just ignoring the plight of the unemployed but are crippling the entire economy.

The Pain Caucus puts up other smokescreens too, Krugman says: interest rates (which are near-zero), inflation, deficit spending, etc., etc. “Members of the Pain Caucus seem to be making it up as they go along, inventing ever-changing rationales for their never-changing policy prescriptions.”

How did the Pain Caucus come to represent the wealthy elite instead of We the People?

image of moneyKrugman explains: “The process of influence doesn’t have to involve raw corruption (although that happens, too). All it requires is the tendency to assume that what’s good for the people you hang out with, the people who seem so impressive in meetings — hey, they’re rich, they’re smart, and they have great tailors — must be good for the economy as a whole.”

In the minority are members of the Senate and House who have enough integrity to fight for Main Street – to argue against the painful spending cuts in unemployment insurance and other safety-net programs, against privatizing Medicare and Social Security, and for cutting huge subsidies and tax loopholes for global corporations, and for federal programs to create new jobs and offer real foreclosure relief.

These few senators and representatives with integrity do more than just talk, they put their votes where their mouths are. So pay attention to your senator and representatives – not just their talk but especially their votes. You can follow their votes on the Washington Post’s U.S. Congress Votes Database.

And when you vote, remember who was on Main Street’s side, and who voted with the Pain Caucus.

Here Comes the “D” Word Again: Depression

Not since the Collapse of 2008 has the “D” word – Depression – been used this much in the media. The bank bailout and credit bailout and the stimulus money all served to bring us back from the dead, and by mid-2009 the “D” word had all but disappeared, replaced by the Great Recession.

image of Great DepressionBut now, after two years of entrenched long-term joblessness, housing prices at their lowest since the 1930s, and other signs of weakening, the “D” word is back. “Is the U.S. headed for another Great Depression?” Canada’s Globe and Mail asks. Just a week ago, a CNN poll revealed that nearly half of all Americans fear we are headed for another Great Depression in the next year. And in The New Republic, economist Dean Baker argued “disaster not averted” in his article, “The Latest Jobs Numbers and the Very Real Chance of Another Great Depression.”

For the jobless – especially those over 50 – it’s been a Great Depression all along.