Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The column I would have written as my second post

Bob Herbert thinks before he writes, as I am reminded by his September 7, 2009 column, "It's Time to Get Help."

He sums up the American "nervous breakdown" and makes it look easy, mentioning health care, Van Jones, public schools, the twin wars, and black unemployment. None of this is going away just because August (the media's silly season) is over. (All emphasis mine in the below.)

Nearly 15 million Americans are unemployed, according to official statistics. The real numbers are far worse. The unemployment rate for black Americans is a back-breaking 15.1 percent.

Five million people have been unemployed for more than six months, and the consensus is that even when the recession ends, the employment landscape will remain dismal. A full recovery in employment will take years. With jobless recoveries becoming the norm, there is a real question as to whether the U.S. economy is capable of providing sufficient employment for all who want and need to work.

The other issue that hit home for me was our denial about the two wars in progress. I was reminded of this before I read Herbert's column, by the continuing "roll call" of the dead that we have now accepted as normal at the end of newscasts such as PBS's News Hour.

We’ve also been unable or unwilling to face the hard truths about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the terrible toll they are taking on our young fighting men and women. Most of us don’t want to know. Moreover, we’ve put the costs of these wars on a credit card, without so much as a second thought about what that does to our long-term budget deficits or how it undermines much-needed initiatives here at home

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