NYT highlights funemployment in Democratic recession

posted at 10:55 am on September 8, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

How can you tell that we’ve gone from a Republican to Democratic administration?  Reading the New York Times provides readers an instructive guide for unemployment coverage.  Gone are the snarky references to “McJobs” in a Republican recovery, when unemployment was at 5.4%, or political criticism disguised as pseudointellectual etymology when it was at 5.8%.  Now, the NYT highlights the blessings of unemployment when it reaches 9.7%, especially to community organizers-cum-politicians (h/t Geoff A)

The work is often mundane: Investment research analysts are now making cold calls to voters, and headhunters are handing out leaflets at subway stations and supermarkets.

But the experience, coming at a time of crisis in their lives, has been surprisingly powerful for many of them. Volunteering, they say, restores some of what they lost along with their jobs: a place to go every day, a reason to put on a clean suit, people to work beside, a sense of purpose.

And for some of the jobless, the experience has triggered a profound reassessment.

Yukyong Choi, 36, a former litigator who has not worked in a year, is now an unpaid volunteer for P.J. Kim, a City Council candidate in Lower Manhattan.

“One thing that I’ve discovered through this process is I don’t really want to go back to that life,” Mr. Choi said. “That was a life filled with 18-hour days, and having to work with people you may not enjoy. It’s not the money anymore; I want to do things that will have a real effect on people’s lives, as opposed to just trying to get a company out of a situation.”

During the Bush administration, the Times and other media outlets routinely disparaged job creation as somehow beneath the dignity of the workers, even as wages rose and unemployment fell.  The work was demeaning and mundane, and the pay inadequate.  Every chance they had to use anecdotal complaints about supposed burger-flipping or paper-shifting wound up in front-page stories about how deceptive the Bush recovery was.

Now that the Obama administration has utterly failed to control job losses through its stimulus package, the Times shifts gears.  Now work itself was demeaning, and unemployment is liberating.  People can volunteer for political campaigns and come home tapping their toes and singing a song!  The jobless can now have “profound reassessments”!

Did the New York Times acknowledge in 2003 and 2005 that so-called “McJobs” also gave people a “place to go every day, a reason to put on a clean suit, people to work beside, a sense of purpose”?  What’s more, those jobs paid people to do all of that.  Private enterprise didn’t just restore a sense of purpose, they gave people a way to pay their bills and contribute to the economy.  Somehow, though, that’s more demeaning than doing all of these menial tasks for no pay whatsoever.

What’s next?  A series on the joys and liberation of homelessness?


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I don’t know what state you live in, Dark-Star, but the California Air National Guard is actively looking for members and offering up to a $20,000.00 sign-up bonus. I’m too old, but maybe you’re not.

Mary in LA on September 8, 2009 at 1:24 PM

Same way the gov’t paid workers and got money during WW2 when we were building an army that kicked @$$ on multiple continents simultaneously, I suppose.

by selling bonds and taking on more debt? Or the roughly 70% tax rate?

That’s how you propose to create a job for yourself that you would be wiling to work in?

You are ridiculous. there are jobs. You just think you are too good for the jobs that are available. The want ads in my local paper are just as full as they always have been.

You are one of these idiots brought up to believe the gov’t should provide for you and somehow create a job that is good enough for your wonderfulness that will pay you top dollar. And, you don’t mind if the gov’t steals my hard earned money to pay for your new gov’t make-work “job”.

You obviously did not learn anything in school. Based on your comments here, I can understand why no one would want to employ you.

Monkeytoe on September 8, 2009 at 1:24 PM

Why should corporations place the welfare of their countrymen before their own success? The UAW, among other looters, certainly did not.

The blame for outsourcing lies first, second, and third with unions and their left-wing political allies. End of discussion.

PimFortuynsGhost on September 8, 2009 at 1:26 PM

Assembly-line jobs especially; those have become prime candidates for automation, displacing thousands of lower-middle and lower-class people from honest labor. It’s hurting organizations trying to turn young outlaws around – without them, crime pays a lot well than a burger-flipping job and you don’t have to take all manner of BS from your customers.

Burger flipping is good honest labor too. Face it, you just want to be a victim.

highhopes on September 8, 2009 at 1:27 PM

What’s next? A series on the joys and liberation of homelessness?

The joy and sexual liberation of burka wearing…

bitsy on September 8, 2009 at 1:31 PM

the military is not the employer of last resort for stupid people. The military is not a scholarship program either.

You are 100% right, highhopes. Even as a lowly contractor, I can see that our military is the most professional organization out there. I think of the members I work with as “my guys” and I have enormous respect and affection for them.

Dark-Star strikes me as the type who would join for the wrong reasons and then be a hazard to those around him in Afghanistan or Iraq.

That’s certainly possible. None of us on this board really know each other as more than pixels on a screen, do we? ;-)
It’s also possible that our young friend might discover what he was born to do. My dad, who was a WWII veteran, credited the Army with providing him a direction in life, an opportunity to serve, and eventually an avenue to earn his M.D. degree.

A heart-felt thank you for your service!

Mary in LA on September 8, 2009 at 1:32 PM

The blame for outsourcing lies first, second, and third with unions and their left-wing political allies. End of discussion.

PimFortuynsGhost on September 8, 2009 at 1:26 PM

Let’s also keep in mind that outsourcing isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In a global economy, the US isn’t going to be the cheapest producer of manufactured goods until our average wages are that of some third world nation. Our strength lies in information, technology, and other service-related industries.

highhopes on September 8, 2009 at 1:32 PM

Assembly-line jobs especially; those have become prime candidates for automation, displacing thousands of lower-middle and lower-class people from honest labor. It’s hurting organizations trying to turn young outlaws around – without them, crime pays a lot well than a burger-flipping job and you don’t have to take all manner of BS from your customers.

You know, if things like automation were done only for higher profits, and a manufacturer could stay in business and make reasonable profits w/o updating and keeping a large labor force, I might consider the argument that it is good for the country for the manufacturer not to automate, etc. (I still wouldn’t agree w/ it, but the argument might have some limited persausiveness).

Unfortunately, that is not how the world or economics work. If the manufacturers do not automate and become more efficient, they will soon go out of business as their competitors do so. In that case, everyone who works at that company loses their job.

Monkeytoe on September 8, 2009 at 1:35 PM

Here’s the thing with jobs as I see it. A lot of jobs that were eliminated recently, should have been eliminated a long time ago.

I worked on a project were my team consisted of about 15 people. I can say without a doubt 5 of those 15 did 80% of the work. The other 10 not only didn’t do anything, but they got in the way of the 5 more often than not. If those 10 positions were to be eliminated tomorrow, it would be a good thing. And this is the case with thousands of teams at thousands of companies all over the country.

During boom times nobody really looked at the teams. Project gets done, everyone’s happy, our company made a $2.5B profit, why rock the boat. It’s only when the company starts losing money that management starts looking under the covers.

angryed on September 8, 2009 at 1:50 PM

I was graduating college in Reagan’s first years – before the economy turned up. So, I had been living in Jimmy Carter’s (JC will save the world!) ecomony.

Don’t think you got it bad, poor darkstar. J.C.’s days were ones when a family was grateful to get an 18% mortgage. We bought locking gas caps because people were stealing gasoline out of parked cars.

Despite this, Dad told me to work every job to best of my ability, swallow my pride until the whistle blows and I’d be fine. I graduated in finance, hoping to be a banker like my brothers. But I worked any job that would have me: bar-backing, burger-flipping, lawn cutting, trash-hauling, paper delivery, phone sales (and still suitably ashamed of that one), concrete pouring, frame building, roofing, delivery boy, public servant – and I’m sure I’ve forgotten some.

I never got to be a banker – I collected over 200 ding letters before I gave up that dream.

I didn’t get the career of my choice. I did get good employment, a lovely wife and fantastic kids. I’m happy because I did for myself and never blamed anyone for lost opportunities or set backs. I’m not wealthy, but I do provide and do so with one income.

And I will always have a job and income. Know why? Because people like you are always my competition.

The appropriate response to everything you’ve said, darkstar is two words, “grow up.”

Cricket624 on September 8, 2009 at 1:52 PM

J.C.’s days were ones when a family was grateful to get an 18% mortgage. We bought locking gas caps because people were stealing gasoline out of parked cars.

I was a pre-teen at the time, but I remember: Gasoline rationing… lines to get into the gas station… even-numbered license plates on even days, odd-numbered ones on odd days…

I don’t want those times back, ever, but I think we’re going to see worse ones in the next few years.

Mary in LA on September 8, 2009 at 2:01 PM

I don’t want those times back, ever, but I think we’re going to see worse ones in the next few years.

God forbid.

I can’t dispute that statement, but may God fobid.

Cricket624 on September 8, 2009 at 2:03 PM

IF I ran this site

Troll sinking 101.

I would create a separate type of thread with only 25 or 30 comments. All comments would be accepted at first, then four or five people would vote to cull most and then a special designation could be put on a second insertion (with the smaller number of posts) for those who just want the gist of the comments. And you would still have the first thread and postings to hear debates and traded insults with DARK-JAR, AnninCA or even Afrobra.

On the subject of packing, waste wrappers and fire starters,) I just met two people who live for the NYT and all they know about the paper is the awards and classy look. And they have quickly been brainwashed against FOX, The Wall Street Journal and Glen Beck to the utmost!

There is such a ignorant, liberal outlook coming from schools, the MSM and the pop culture that I believe The One must wreck the country with his fingerprints at the scene or were are headed for a European economy. And you think that the unions and protectionism is bad here, now?

IlikedAUH2O on September 8, 2009 at 2:08 PM

Could someone please compile a list of these morons who’d rather volunteer than work their day jobs! Because I surely need the work right now, and would gladly releive them of their job to allow them the free time to go volunteer.

Idiots.

Archimedes on September 8, 2009 at 2:14 PM

I don’t want those times back, ever, but I think we’re going to see worse ones in the next few years.

Mary in LA on September 8, 2009 at 2:01 PM

I think we are at a crossroads. If we continue down the path of irresponsible spending and rampant socialism the Carter administration will look like boon years. We have a very narrow window here to turn things around by thwarting the filthy liar for the next year and installing a responsible Congress to offset the radical racist liar in the White House.

highhopes on September 8, 2009 at 2:15 PM

While it has been great to spend all summer taking care of my pregnant wife and playing with my 6 year old daughter it was tough having no money to go on vacation, go out to eat, go out for our anniversary, etc.

5 months now, over 1,000 applications sent out, I can count the n umber of interviews I’ve had on one hand. It seems like nobody is hiring even if they stopped laying people off. And to hear Obama say in Ohio things are better now than they were 7 months ago because we’re only losing 200,000 jobs a month instead of 700,000? Guess what chief, those 700,000 are still unemployed, the only reason the number of layoffs is dropping is because businesses are getting close to sustainability with their staff.

cadams on September 8, 2009 at 2:41 PM

did you hear? The recession is over! Over I tell you! Now oceans, stop rising already!

kirkill on September 8, 2009 at 3:11 PM

Let’s also keep in mind that outsourcing isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In a global economy, the US isn’t going to be the cheapest producer of manufactured goods until our average wages are that of some third world nation. Our strength lies in information, technology, and other service-related industries.

highhopes on September 8, 2009 at 1:32 PM

Incorrect. Our wages don’t have to be at 3rd world levels to compete. The total cost of doing business has to be lower. Wages only come into play as part of the cost and are directly related to productivity. Actually compared to productivity American wages are very competitive. Other costs include transportation, taxes, insurance, lawsuits, general overhead, inputs, environemtal and other regulations, etc. On a lot of those the US is not as competitive.

Overall the US produces, for example, over 10 times the per capita manufacturing output of China, and probably more when you consider a lot of China’s production would never be counted in a market system and that a large amount of it is going to its massive fixed investment bubble. That’s even after China slashed 60% off its wages by devaluing the yuan in 1993.

Heck, the 3 highest per capita manufacturing nations are Germany, Canada, and Japan. They don’t look terribly 3rd world to me.

jarodea on September 8, 2009 at 4:09 PM

The whole discussion is academic. The US won’t prevent money from moving out via laws, the free-market system offers NO internal restraints against doing whatever will make the most money, and we as a nation have almost no moral (external) restraints against doing so.

Dark-Star on September 8, 2009 at 1:22 PM

No shit, Sherlock; it’s called capitalism.

HAnthonyWayne on September 8, 2009 at 4:31 PM

Mary in LA on September 8, 2009 at 1:24 PM

I have a very low opinion of the recruitment promises made by the armed forces, as not a few have reported that the same were bogus or had hidden requirements in the manner of a used-car salesman. Still, I suppose the ANG would be worth a look, especially if they’re hiring for something that doesn’t involve working directly with guns/missiles. (I’m blind as a bad w/o my glasses and a bit of a fumblefingers)

The appropriate response to everything you’ve said, darkstar is two words, “grow up.”

Cricket624 on September 8, 2009 at 1:52 PM

Ah yes. The second most flippant, popular and ignorant response I’ve received from many people, both online and off.

cadams on September 8, 2009 at 2:41 PM

My heart goes out to you and your family. I know the pain and frustration you’re going through, though perhaps not to quite as severe a degree. God bless.

No shit, Sherlock; it’s called capitalism.

HAnthonyWayne on September 8, 2009 at 4:31 PM

Actually, it’s called GREED. And it’s been the shadow of capitalism for about as long as the same has existed. Africans were enslaved in cotton fields, children were worked to the bone in dank mills, and many more outrages because greedy capitalists knew such things were profitable.

Checks and balances…not just for the federal government!

Dark-Star on September 8, 2009 at 5:00 PM

Talk about your basic attempt to put lipstick on a pig.

The real point here is that everything Bozo does is driving private sector employers deeper into their bunkers. They are laying off everyone they can because the tax man cometh
and he comes for THEM.

As the economy shrinks people stop spending money and producers slow down production. Bozo keeps throwing wrenches into the gears of capitalism because people, he’s a communist, just like his pals.

dogsoldier on September 8, 2009 at 5:54 PM

So the union bosses and their goon squads, “stimulated” ACORNS and other community organizers, Wall Street bankers and hedge funds who overwhelmingly contribute to Democrats, the Edu-crats, corrupt Democrat officials (from the Department of Redundancy Department), and, last but certainly not least, trial lawyers, all of whom collectively control, and indeed are, the Democrat Party are FREE OF GREED? Bwahahahaha!

A “capitalist” meanwhile makes and sells things to people who voluntarily buy the good or service. If the public doesn’t buy, they’re out of business, except when the politicians force the tax payers to bail them out or “stimulate” them. And protection for their chosen big businesses can only happen when governments are allowed to exceed their Constitutional limits and are too big and powerful. The next bubble is government debt. When that pops, look out below!

boqueronman on September 8, 2009 at 6:16 PM

What better workers’ paradise than unemployment.

Mojave Mark on September 8, 2009 at 7:22 PM

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