Tolerating the New Normal: Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

And by nice things, I mean jobs. Over the last few years, I have been consistent perplexed (not to mention mad) by the lack of urgency surrounding the employment deficit. Oddly enough, even many of our intellectual betters haven’t really caught on to this until recently. Jonathan Chait offers a good explanation for this:

…for affluent people, there is essentially no recession. Unemployment for workers with a bachelors degree is 4 percent — boom times. Unemployment is also unusually low in the Washington, D.C., area, owing to our economy’s reliance on federal spending, which has not had to impose the punishing austerity of so many state and local governments.

I live in a Washington neighborhood almost entirely filled with college-educated professionals, and it occurred to me not long ago that, when my children grow up, they’ll have no personal memory of having lived through the greatest economic crisis in eighty years. It is more akin to a famine in Africa. For millions and millions of Americans, the economic crisis is the worst event of their lives. They have lost jobs, homes, health insurance, opportunities for their children, seen their skills deteriorate, and lost their sense of self-worth. But from the perspective of those in a position to alleviate their suffering, the crisis is merely a sad and distant tragedy.

This is yet another reason why we can’t have nice things.

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3 Responses to Tolerating the New Normal: Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

  1. joemac53 says:

    Because things are going well for a particular group, they believe the system in place is the best thing around: “It works for me!” It takes a real leap of imagination to understand that not everyone will see things the way you do. It takes an even bigger leap to want to see some change and a still bigger leap to help that change happen. Sometimes people need a little shake.

  2. johnkrehbiel says:

    Another way that the disconnect between the ruling class and real people is so important.

  3. Vivien says:

    Of course, a lot of those people with bachelors degrees are working at Starbucks as baristas, but that’s a whole other issue.

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