ROSE NOLEN: Unemployment burden falls on the working class

Tuesday, September 14, 2010 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

Last week I encountered a woman I hadn't seen for a while, and she informed me that she was out of work because her job had been outsourced to India last December. Fortunately, she and her husband are able to live on their retirement funds and so she was not looking for another job. These people, I realize, are an exception to the rule. Most people whose jobs have been sent overseas need to find work.

Unemployment is a huge problem in America. But as painful as it is, I really think we are going to have to realize that these jobs are not coming back. A big part of the problem is that when our government was making all those trade agreements years ago they were not stopped. Now we are paying the price. Now, products we once made and bought in the United States are being produced elsewhere and because we no longer have jobs we don't have the money to buy these products.

I would hope that the business sector would see the problem and try to help solve it. It is an excellent time for those dedicated capitalists to move to the forefront and show us how the system can save the country. We can certainly use someone to come up with some new industries that will be hiring people for decades to come. Unfortunately, we don't have many rich people anymore who have the best interest of the country at heart and are willing to use their money to build libraries and other institutions for the benefit of all the people.

The problem, of course, is that many Americans still think that most of those wealthy citizens who benefit from the government's largess are still loyal to the country. But there is no doubt in the minds of many of us that if the country goes down the drain in the morning, these people will stuff all of their money in their briefcases and head for an island in the sun. But these myths still exist at the core of some individual's thinking and they go to the polls and vote these greedy politicians back in power.

With our educational system having deteriorated to such a great extent, I am truly deeply concerned about America's future. I wish I could believe as so many do, that no matter what, this country will be able to bounce back. But as it is, I worry about the young people who will be charged with the responsibility of making things work in the event the country is not able to pull itself out of the dust pile. I think about somebody's really awful idea to use taxpayer's money to support recovering drug addicts and alcoholics, many of whom never paid taxes. As far as I'm concerned, while I may sympathize with these people, I really don't feel that it is the public's responsibility to support them. At the same time I don't feel it's the public's responsibility to subsidize the airlines and other corporations either.

I don't know whose idea it was that seems to believe that the working class, who have a big enough problem trying to earn enough to feed their families, should have to take care of the whole world. A fair thing to me would be that those who have fat incomes should be taxed to pay for corporate subsidies as well as recovering alcoholics and drug addicts. As sympathetic as we may feel, it is not the fault of the country's labor class that any of these people made bad choices. Supporting people, who through no fault their own are ill, is a horse of a different breed. The fact that many working people these days are having to work three jobs in order to meet their responsibilities doesn't seem to keep anybody awake at night.

Even as I vent, I realize fully well that the two-party system could care less about young mothers and fathers having to send their children to bed hungry or watching their frail elderly parents go without their medicine. But I do think we need to be asking each other what we are going to do about the unemployment situation. I think we are at the point where we are going to have to give up on the two-party system tackling any problems other than the other party.

I hope some concerned groups like the union membership will unite and try to help us out of this crisis. The worsening of the unemployment situation is really bad for the country.

The last thing we need is for Americans to lose hope.

You can join the conversation with Rose M. Nolen by calling her at 882-5734 or e-mailing her at

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John Schultz September 14, 2010 | 1:33 a.m.

Yeesh, where to start with this? Do governments own jobs, the public, or the employers? If ABC Company wants to move their operations elsewhere, who is Ms. Nolen or the rest of the us to say "No, you can't, and we're going to pass a law to stop you?"

Offshored jobs not coming back? I wouldn't bet on it. There are newspaper stories about companies bringing back jobs back to the US for various reasons. The current contract I'm working on replaced an overseas contractor (will Ms. Nolen now agitate for their family?).

My previous job was a startup founded by five or six employers of a previous company pooling their resources and starting a software company in a niche market. They saw an opportunity and attacked it instead of sitting on their money like Scrooge McDuck in his vault. Ironically, government regulation created the market.

And that Ms. Nolen thinks it's "awful idea to use taxpayer's money to support recovering drug addicts and alcoholics" unless of course the rich fatcats pay for it, not people like her? Shameful.

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield September 17, 2010 | 9:17 a.m.

Define "working class." For example, do you include professors, doctors and lawyers making $100,000 or more?

If you have a college degree, you are far less likely to be unemployed. This fact holds during flush times and recessions. The last figures I saw had the unemployment rate for college grads at less than half of the overall rate.

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