The nation's dismal November employment numbers--a loss of more than 500,000 jobs is particularly troubling because the job loss coincides with seasonal hiring that usually indicates a job spike instead of a decrease this time of year.
In addition to the largest job loss since the 1970's, unemployment rose to 6.7%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The under-employment rate, which occurs when a worker is employed below capacity, soared to 12.5%. The American economy is down nearly 2 million jobs since the official beginning of the recession.
It also marks the end of anyone maintaining ideological based solutions for the economy and wants to continue to be taken seriously. The one thing that liberals, conservatives, Democrats, and Republicans all agree is that no one has a solution to the economic mess we're in.
Congress is using every economic tourniquet at its disposal to stop the bleeding within the nations financial and automobile industries without fully knowing what other industries may be suffering from internal hemorrhaging.
It is amazing to watch General Motors overcome by contrition and humility, not to mention the need for the $15 billion bridge loan to get them through the holiday season, admit to errors in judgment.
In a full-page ad in Automotive News, the country's largest automobile manufacturer stated:
"We acknowledge we have disappointed you," GM explains in what it calls a message to the American people. "We have paid dearly for these decisions."
General Motors displayed impeccable timing as it offered a mea culpa by overstating the obvious to anyone not associated with GM, decided to forego the much-anticipated rollout of the Cadillac Escalade hybrid, and asked for a government bailout as the nation suffers from a severe case of bailout fatigue thanks to the likes of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and AIG.
Meanwhile, Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., standing on principle has threatened to filibuster any deal that would give federal aid to the auto industry. Too bad Shelby didn't stand quite so tall when he supported, along with a number of his Senate colleagues--Democrat and Republican--the deregulation that has participated in creating the current economic debacle.
Shelby has long opposed bailouts. He opposed the Chrysler loan guarantee in 1979 as well as the $700 billion current financial bailout. But his philosophical opposition has no answer for what should be done and little consideration for the social impact that comes with our current economy.
The bailout rubric appears to be whether or not a company is too big to fail, this is a Wall Street consideration that seems to miss the impact the economy is having on the social fiber of Main Street. Nothing impacts the sanctity of marriage like the lack of money. And there are more than enough economic indicators to suggest that more families will experience financial problems in 2009.
As the economy tightens, the natural tendency will be to pull back on social activities and organizations, which are vital to one's social health and the espirit de corps that is critical to building and sustaining community.
But Shelby and others must come to realize that any solutions to America's current economic state are beyond ideology. There is no political orthodoxy, no magic bullet, or resident genius ready to provide the answer that will suddenly transform the current economic indicators.
Whatever economic solutions are available they will materialize only as the residue from the plethora of ideas that have been thrown against the wall by some of our smartest minds that hail from both liberal and conservative backgrounds.
We are in difficult waters; the public sector alone will not possess the ideas that turn around the American economy. Conversely, the private sector is hardly in position to offer itself as being in possession of the answer.
We the people should have little tolerance for any elected official, regardless of party, who stands on ideological grounds. Such thinking robs one of the ability to work with someone who may see the world differently.
Truth is, the only logical answer that anyone has a firm grasp, as it relates to this economy, is "I don't know."
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