Middle Class Death Watch -- 33 Frightening Economic Developments
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We have a choice: Americans can continue to accept large-scale unemployment as “natural” and permanent, even — a truly grotesque development — as a basic feature on a bipartisan road to “recovery” via austerity. Or we can follow the lead of the jobless young in the Arab Spring and of protestors beginning to demonstrate en masse in Europe. Even the newly minted proletarians of Ventura, California, sleeping in their cars, may decide that they have had enough of a political and economic order of things so bankrupt it can find no use for them at any price.”
“It is bad enough that President Obama is reversing his campaign pledge and supporting Bush-era trade deals with Korea, Colombia and Panama. Starting this week in Chicago, the US will be hosting the first major trade negotiations since the “Battle in Seattle” World Trade Organisation talks came here in 1999. This occasion is for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) with a wide range of industrialised and developing Pacific Rim countries. As part of his plan to revive the US economy and create jobs, Obama claims he will be unveiling “a trade agreement for the 21st century”.
Ironically, though, he will be pushing the same “Nafta-style” trade pacts he campaigned against, and to howls of protest from his own electoral base. Let us not forget what he said: “I voted against Cafta, never supported Nafta, and will not support Nafta-style trade agreements in the future,” Obama told Ohio voters in 2008. “While Nafta gave broad rights to investors, it paid only lip service to the rights of labor and the importance of environmental protection.”"
“American workers’ concerns about various job-related cutbacks have returned to the record highs seen in 2009…. In terms of the most significant employment risk measured, 3 in 10 workers currently say they are worried they could soon be laid off, similar to the 31% seen in August 2009 but double the level recorded in August 2008 and for several years prior.”
“Anyone can lose their job and fall behind on bills in this economy. But now that may keep them from finding new employment. This week’s credit check: Six out of 10 employers use credit reports to vet job applicants. More than 20 million Americans may have material errors on their credit reports…. Where should they turn when they’ve lost a steady paycheck, but still have to keep up with bills such as mortgage payments, student loans, and the basics like rent and food? With no money coming in, many understandably have to turn to debt. But taking on debt — and being unable to pay it back, or pay back any of the debt they may have took on when things looked better and they had a job — could be the exact thing that keeps the unemployed from becoming re-employed. In a massive Catch-22, many employers are looking to credit reports when they do background checks on prospective employees, and a bad mark due to an unpaid medical bill or lapsed student loan payment could make the difference in getting the job…. Marketplace recently told the story of Sarah Sholar, just one of those employees with bad credit who has been turned down by prospective employers. “I can’t pay my student loans because I don’t have a job,” she told them. “I can’t get a job because I can’t pay my student loans.””