It's time to have a march on Washington for jobs. Large numbers of recent veterans and African-Americans are unemployed, probably more than three in 10 including those not in the official statistics. Many more people in the Rust Belt and Appalachia are also without jobs. Many private-sector employees have lost work. Public-sector employees are next.
The focus of attention by the administration and Congress appears to be on jobs as only an afterthought. Such issues as Wall Street, budget ceilings, budget deficits, health care, taxes and defense spending dominate Washington’s attention.
Meanwhile, voters at home are feeling the loss of jobs, future losses and all of the effects of unemployment on housing education, health and our local economies. Unemployed and potentially unemployed people cannot delay having their interests heard and addressed. If there is not more dynamic participation by voters, the administration and Congress will continue to only give token lip service to our priority for jobs.
There is a need to develop and plan policy and to create programs that will address our unemployment situation before it's too late. A dynamic march for jobs would enable us to communicate and elevate our priority for job development. It would also enable us to build coalitions of advocates around the needs of the jobless and underemployed. We don’t have much time. Let's march for jobs.
William E. "Gene" Robertson is a Columbia resident and professor emeritus at MU.