Sunday, November 28, 2010

Award Time

There's some good stuff up at Watching America, so if you have the time I recommend you pay a visit.

The article I selected this week had a really unusual "hook" to it. It's from South Korea's Hankyung and it uses the upcoming selection of Time's "Person of the Year" to explore an issue which deeply affects not only the US, but also the rest of the world: unemployment, especially American unemployment.

Even Korean journalists avoid getting involved in the U.S. jobs issue we hear about from the international news desk. Maybe this wouldn’t be the case if we could report that the unemployment situation was getting better or that there was even the slightest indication of an improvement. But with constant news of youth unemployment, lack of jobs for graduates, baby boomers unprepared for early retirement, and job insecurity among older men and women, there have been incessant anxieties about the prospect of an inevitable long-term unemployment crisis. More than 400,000 new Americans are receiving unemployment benefits every month, with the total number of such people reaching 4.3 million.

Unemployment is scarier than the atomic bomb. This becomes evident in looking at the recent defeat in the U.S. midterm elections, or President Obama’s focus on saving the economy both at home and abroad. Neither of these things seem very out of place when seen from the perspective of jobs. Of course, unemployment is not a problem exclusive to the U.S.

The US is a prime market for the rest of the world. If we can't buy their exports, other nations' economies won't recover either, which means those countries will have unemployment figures rivaling the US. These countries get it. I wonder why ours doesn't. Unless, of course, our leaders do get it just don't care as long as the DJIA is above 10,000.

What is ironic about this article is that The Unemployed American is actually one of the candidates for Person of the Year. The magazine's website has the full list of those under consideration for this honor. Readers are invited to vote on their pick, although the editors make it clear they will not be bound by the results. Here's that list:

Julian Assange
Glenn Beck
David Cameron
The Chilean Miners
Arne Duncan
Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Jonathan Franzen
Lady Gaga
Robert Gates
Tony Hayward
Hu Jintao
LeBron James
Steve Jobs
Hamid Karzai
David and Charles Koch
Liu Xiaobo
Barack Obama
Sarah Palin
Nancy Pelosi
Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf
Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert
The Unemployed American
J. Craig Venter
Elizabeth Warren, Mary Schapiro and Sheila Bair
Mark Zuckerberg

I must admit that list presents a pretty good summary of the year's news, even if it also is a pretty good reflection of what's wrong with our culture. I voted for The Unemployed American. For those of you considering registering your opinion at the web site (and I think freeping it would be a good idea), be warned: the process is unnecessarily complicated and difficult. It might be worth it, however.

The Unemployed American as Person of the Year might put a little more pressure on the government to start tending to its proper responsibilities to us.

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Blogger Hecate said...

5 women

3:20 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

6, actually, but 3 make up one candidate.

3:23 PM  

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