I consider myself something of a wordsmith, so I am always amazed in the work of others, especially when they are government bureaucrats.  The most recent unemployment figures, which show the unemployment rate rising, and the pace of job creation slowing, are interesting and incisive.  The Employment Situation says that the unemployment rate is “essentially unchanged” as it has moved from 9 percent to 9.1 percent.  In April more than 200,000 jobs were created; in May it was a scant 54,000. Still, the situation was “essentially unchanged.”  Give me a break.  That means someone is fudging and smudging the fact that our economy is sputtering.

This could well be expected given the fact that most cities and states are now grappling with ways to balance their budgets, and that includes layoffs of government workers.  Furthermore, we can expect a sputtering economy given the drama that is taking place in Washington around increasing the debt limit.  The Tea Party folks, if they had their way, would fully dismantle government, throwing hundreds of thousands of workers into the streets.  Rising unemployment?  That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Yet in a society where most people work for a living, public policy must embrace work as a necessity.  We have to ensure that any able-bodied person who wants to be gainfully engaged in the capitalistic system has an opportunity to do so.  That means that work has to work, that people have to work, that people have to have the opportunity to work, that government must promote the creation of work, and that when necessary, government subsidize the development of working opportunities.

Instead, we have seen a recession and a so-called recovery that has not embraced the centrality of work in our society.  Too many people are living at the periphery of the economic mainstream.  Those people were told, when the May unemployment rates were released, that their misery is none of the government’s concern. Yet they are homeowners and taxpayers, parents and producers, people who didn’t plan for their factory to close or for the demand for their products to simply dry up. Economic recovery is a bitter pill for some to swallow when their lives have not recovered from the drama also known as a massive shift in the ways

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