Monday, September 5, 2011

e is for employment


employment is essential for a healthy economy. unfortunately the employment scene is dismal these days.

if one was cynical one might believe that there are conscious efforts taking place to undermine the economy and employment opportunities in order to ensure that obama is a one-term president.

evidence of this hypothesis?

exhibit one - some thoughts by economic pundit paul krugman in a recent editiorial:
.....May 2009 The Wall Street Journal declared that the “bond vigilantes” were “returning with a vengeance,” telling readers that the Obama administration’s “epic spending spree” would send interest rates soaring.

The interest rate when that editorial was published was 3.7 percent. As of Friday, as I’ve already mentioned, it was only 2 percent.

I don’t mean to dismiss concerns about the long-run U.S. budget picture. If you look at fiscal prospects over, say, the next 20 years, they are indeed deeply worrying, largely because of rising health-care costs. But the experience of the past two years has overwhelmingly confirmed what some of us tried to argue from the beginning: The deficits we’re running right now — deficits we should be running, because deficit spending helps support a depressed economy — are no threat at all.

And by obsessing over a nonexistent threat, Washington has been making the real problem — mass unemployment, which is eating away at the foundations of our nation — much worse.

exhibit 2: the enmity of conservative and republican lawmakers towards the unemployed and under-employed, just check out this article which appeared in yesterday's miami herald.

exhibit 3: most recent employment figures

exhibit 4: the excellent graphic overview entitled 'the state of working amercia' by the economic policy institute's robert reich, appearing in the 4 september 2011 new york times


woody guthrie singing his song union burying ground - woody wrote the song to commemorate all the workers killed in the labor struggles of the early 20th century. the song pays tribute to those who died trying to secure better pay, safe working conditions, and reasonable hours.

woody's song was originally released by moses asch, in 1941 on asch records as struggle documentary no. 1. the album was re-released in 1976:
... to commemorate the bicentennial of the American Revolution with a special series of liner notes by Asch explaining the importance of Woody Guthrie's history of the working class through song. Both Guthrie's songs and the liner notes are stuff of supreme cultural importance. In the notes, Asch lays out a theory that the American Revolution has not yet been completed and there is a need for a "continuing struggle for human rights and equality." As a collection of songs, this is surely one of the best Guthrie collections, especially once it's known how important it was to him personally. In many ways, it seems as if this album was the fulfillment of a very personal vision, which starts with the songs but is only realized in their collectivity. Included here are such excellent songs as the unsettling "Hang Knot," the elliptic "Union Burying Ground," and the finely spun "Pretty Boy Floyd." These songs define Guthrie at his best, never didactic in tone but supreme in import. The album also features the Cisco Houston (Guthrie's sometime tramping companion) number "Get Along Little Doggies," as well as his vocal accompaniment on several tracks. Sonny Terry guests on "Lost John," lending his harmonica to Guthrie's tale of a chain gang escapee. Both as a historical artifact and as an amazing Guthrie album, this is required listening. (brian whitener)


the album is still available through the woodie guthrie foundation's store among other places.

photo: cleveland, 2011

3 comments:

tut-tut said...

you bring up some good points; it's all worrying. but, on the bright side, I made a pillowcase today. Wonky seams, but there it is!

John Hayes said...

Love that song. Utah Phillips covered it too. Happy Labor Day, & thanks for a great post!

Towanda said...

You gotta love Woody!