So the latest unemployment statistics for California came out yesterday for December 2010. The official unemployment rate went up .1% to 12.5% in December, the final month of Arnold Shwarzenegger's tenure as governor. Thanks a lot, Ahnold, you fucking douche-bag. When you came into office, California's unemployment rate was less than half what it is today, just like the nation's unemployment rate was half what it became under your Republican butt-buddy Bush.
Now our new governor, Jerry Brown, is left to clean up the mess you and your Republican goons made of California. Just like Obama is left to clean up the mess your butt-buddy Bush made of the national economy.
So let's talk about what a 12.5% unemployment rate for California means. It means that roughly one out of every 8 able-bodied Californians cannot find any work. The 12.5% rate (referred to as 'U2') is a narrow measure also, including only those able to work, looking for work and unable to find it. Using a broader measure, like U-6, California's unemployment rate is probably closer to 20%. That means one out of 5 Californians who wants to work full time cannot find work, can only find part-time work but want to work full time, or has grown so discouraged he or she has stopped looking for work entirely.
Yep, that's right. If someone grows so discouraged about the job situation that he or she stops looking for work entirely, he or she is no longer counted as 'unemployed.' Why not? Well, because they are deemed to have 'left the labor force.' In order to be defined as 'unemployed' under the U-2 definition, you must be looking for work. It brings to mind Mark Twain's witticism that there are "lies, damned lies and statistics." When one out of five Californians is not working, there is a huge wastage of human potential, a huge under-utilization of human productive capabilities to advance the interests of human-kind. And we're still supposed to believe that capitalism, the economic system that enforces this idleness, is the best or only system under which we can live?
Alma and I were discussing this phenomenon of people so discouraged they have given up looking for work entirely. We were both wondering who exactly can afford to stop looking for a job. Well, the young people who have just graduated college with massive student loan debts and are forced to move back in with parents or relatives might comprise one sub-section. Yes, all those silly idealistic youth who bought the capitalist propaganda line that they should go into heavy debt to finance an education because of all the wonderful career benefits it would bring. They're finding no jobs but the student debts they incurred are not dischargeable through bankruptcy, but only through death. That's right. Student loan debt will follow them even into retirement if not paid off before then. In a more educated past, this system was known as 'indentured servitude' and was supposedly one reason the American Revolution was fought. But no matter. These poor youth actually believed in the American dream. So thanks a lot for destroying their dreams, you Republican douche-bags.
Another group that might have become so discouraged as to stop looking are factory and service sector workers whose jobs have been exported en masse to third-world economies like China or India, who have lost their homes and are forced to live in the exponentially expanding tent cities. This one can't be laid entirely at the feet of Republican douche-bags. After all, it was the Democrat Clinton who pushed passage of NAFTA and other global free trade initiatives like the World Trade Organization through. But the Republican douche-bags were there enabling it and cheering it on the whole time.
Yeah, there are plenty of people who have gotten discouraged. I am one of them, although I continue to look for a job. I've been through enough of these boom and bust capitalist cycles to have grown very skeptical about capitalism's supposed benevolence for the working class. As bad as Obama and his centrist Democratic cohort are for the working class, they are nothing compared to the Republican douche-bags who would take us back to an almost pre-capitalist feudal landscape with a few uber-wealthy oligarchs and an impoverished mass of peasants.
So, thanks a lot, Ahnold, to you and your Republican douche-bag friends. And thanks a lot. also, to all you douche-bag Californians who threw Grey Davis out of office and elected Schwarzenegger. I'm too much an advocate of the working class to engage in a heavy dose of schadenfreude. But I'm willing to bet that a fairly large number of Californians who voted for Schwarzenegger's sad, sorry punk ass are now unemployed and at risk of losing their homes. Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of douche-bag Californians.