While it is often said that the US and the world is suffering from the worst recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s, too often it is said in passing, without detail and without dwelling. After all, who wants to dwell on that, especially politicians of both parties who would like to move on or Wall Street who wants to continue to deny that the financial crisis they created has devastated the lives of tens of millions of people and families as well as ruined communities all across America.
But, facts are facts and should be faced.
Two reminders: last night 60 Minutes reported on the plight of the more than 4 million Americans suffering from long term unemployment. The show — again — puts a lie to those who claim that the long term unemployed don’t really want to work and aren’t really trying to find work. They desperately want work and have had their lives upended to the point of poverty and homelessness due to no fault of their own. It also shows how losing a job and being unemployed long term eats at your psyche, destroys your self-confidence and makes you question your very self-worth. These costs are incalculable and will last a lifetime as tens of millions of Americans try to pull their lives together is the wake of the financial crisis. (And, kudos to 60 Minutes for continuing to report on the human costs of the crisis, which they also did last November reporting on families living in cars.)
The other reminder of the deep devastation created by the costs of the financial crisis: a USA Today story: “Economic Crisis Slows US population Growth”: “The U.S. population is growing at the slowest rate since the Great Depression after two decades of robust increases. For two consecutive years since 2009, the population has grown just 0.7% a year, down from annual increases around 1% in previous years and the lowest since the late 1930s.”
“‘Almost anybody who observes these things over the years can say this is almost all recession-related,’ says Carl Haub, demographer for the Population Reference Bureau.”
Funny how little attention such facts get, particularly compared to the world-wide worry about whether or not bankers will get big enough bonuses so that they can be incentivized to do what they did in the past, which created a great deal of ruin throughout the country and world, much of which continues to this day.