We really are in the worst recession (depression) in the lifetimes of most of us.
Oh, and not only is the red line showing a greater level of unemployment, note in the chart's legend that the current Great Recession lasted (is it really over?) a wee bit longer than the other three, as well.
Under these circumstances, the key to boosting economic activity and strengthening the recovery is to create additional demand. The jobs bill contains several measures that will do this. Three of the most important are extensions of existing Recovery Act measures: renewing the provisions that provide extra weeks of unemployment insurance (UI) and subsidized COBRA health insurance coverage for unemployed workers to the end of the year and providing additional fiscal assistance to states struggling to balance their budgets.You might want to fax this to your Congressional representatives. It comes from the Center of Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP).
Never mind the problem at hand, many people are fascinated by the blame game. Imagine little Georgie and Barak mixing it up in the schoolyard. "It's Barak's fault," screams little Georgie. "Georgie started it," Barak retorts. Despite the mediocre measures taken, it is not unemployment insurance that is raising the budget deficits. The CBPP shows it is two wars, tax cuts, bail outs and the slowing of the economy that is steadily adding to our national debt.
Just in case that representative is shy about creating greater debt, let them know that you know their unemployment pittencies do not amount to a hill of billions in the current deficit and debt debate.
And just in case you think using this chart is a sly way to support Bush bashing, I want to note that the response from the Obama Administration has mainly been, "Not much of that can be done this year." Oh yes, his administration started a program to save homeowners who own houses worth more than their mortgages. Was that to save the homeowners from foreclosure or to save the banks from people rationally walking away from their overpriced homes?
There is plenty of blame to go around, but little help for the people who are suffering.