To listen to GOP demagogues one would think they gave at least a slight thought about the lies they are destroying as their policies continue to create a permanent under class. The true focus of the GOP is the wealthy and the incredibly selfish members of the Christofascist/Tea Party base of the party. These folks truly do not care about the fellow citizens despite all their self congratulatory back patting and feigned piety. An op-ed in the New York Times looks at the society cost that the GOP obsession with budget cuts and lower taxes is fueling. It's not pretty and the future consequences will be even uglier as wealth disparities continue to soar and social mobility decreases. Here are column excerpts:
F.D.R. told us that the only thing we had to fear was fear itself. But when future historians look back at our monstrously failed response to economic depression, they probably won’t blame fear, per se. Instead, they’ll castigate our leaders for fearing the wrong things.
But while debt fears were and are misguided, there’s a real danger we’ve ignored: the corrosive effect, social and economic, of persistent high unemployment. And even as the case for debt hysteria is collapsing, our worst fears about the damage from long-term unemployment are being confirmed.Now, some unemployment is inevitable in an ever-changing economy. Modern America tends to have an unemployment rate of 5 percent or more even in good times. In these good times, however, spells of unemployment are typically brief. Back in 2007 there were about seven million unemployed Americans — but only a small fraction of this total, around 1.2 million, had been out of work more than six months.Then financial crisis struck, leading to a terrifying economic plunge followed by a weak recovery. Five years after the crisis, unemployment remains elevated, with almost 12 million Americans out of work. But what’s really striking is the huge number of long-term unemployed, with 4.6 million unemployed more than six months and more than three million who have been jobless for a year or more. Oh, and these numbers don’t count those who have given up looking for work because there are no jobs to be found.It goes without saying that the explosion of long-term unemployment is a tragedy for the unemployed themselves. But it may also be a broader economic disaster. The key question is whether workers who have been unemployed for a long time eventually come to be seen as unemployable, tainted goods that nobody will buy. . . . . there is, unfortunately, growing evidence that the tainting of the long-term unemployed is happening as we speak. . . . . a rising number of job openings doesn’t seem to do much to reduce their numbers. It’s as if employers don’t even bother looking at anyone who has been out of work for a long time.
[W]orkers who reported having been unemployed for six months or more got very few callbacks, even when all their other qualifications were better than those of workers who did attract employer interest. So we are indeed creating a permanent class of jobless Americans.And let’s be clear: this is a policy decision. The main reason our economic recovery has been so weak is that, spooked by fear-mongering over debt, we’ve been doing exactly what basic macroeconomics says you shouldn’t do — cutting government spending in the face of a depressed economy.It’s hard to overstate how self-destructive this policy is. Indeed, the shadow of long-term unemployment means that austerity policies are counterproductive even in purely fiscal terms. Workers, after all, are taxpayers too; if our debt obsession exiles millions of Americans from productive employment, it will cut into future revenues and raise future deficits.Our exaggerated fear of debt is, in short, creating a slow-motion catastrophe. It’s ruining many lives, and at the same time making us poorer and weaker in every way. And the longer we persist in this folly, the greater the damage will be.