02/11/2011 02:48 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Egypt and Joblessness

I am pleased to hear President Mubarak has agreed to step down from office. We have only to look to the streets in Egypt to see what can happen when people are frustrated with their state of joblessness.

A population of 80 million, with about half under 30-years-old, Egypt has an unbearably high unemployment rate. Nearly half of all Egyptians live under or just above the poverty line, which the World Bank sets at $2 a day. The uprisings in the Middle East show faces of frustrated young people who cannot find work or anxious mothers who cannot feed their children.

The jobless have lost more than their jobs. It's really about hopelessness over the future and losing dignity. Long-term joblessness means more than empty pockets. It means their lives are literally at a halt -- living in limbo and darkness. It means delaying their marriages and starting their own families later, and putting their dreams on hold. That sort of helplessness can only last so long before it explodes into complete unrest.

Unemployment in our own country still hovers above 9 percent, and this rate is shockingly higher for minorities. Many of my constituents are currently struggling to put food on their tables. That's why I am focusing all my energy to find ways to create jobs in America.

My main priority in Congress is to work with President Obama, Governor Cuomo, Mayor Bloomberg to generate new jobs. For example, the White House recently launched a new initiative to help entrepreneurs launch their startups. My colleagues and I are working hard to make sure they have all the resources they need to start a new business that will help foster growth in our communities.

It will take time until everyone can get back to work. But, we in America live in a country where, unlike Egypt, people have the freedom and opportunity to reach their highest potential. Please don't give in, don't give out, don't give up. Help is on the way!

Listen to Congressman Rangel's message below: