Yesterday, I received something that I hadn't seen in a while. It's called a paycheck.
Until a couple of weeks ago, I had been unemployed for fourteen months. I spent the last six months of that time in a training program which did exactly what it was supposed to do - get me a job. However, it paid exactly the same as if I had been sitting home watching daytime TV.
Columnist Paul Krugman wrote an editorial entitled "The Third Depression" in last Saturday's New York Times. He writes, "Around the world — most recently at last weekend’s deeply discouraging G-20 meeting — governments are obsessing about inflation when the real threat is deflation, preaching the need for belt-tightening when the real problem is inadequate spending." As Krugman sees it, we are at the beginning of a long slow depression, and this is not the time for governments to try to balance their budgets when they should instead be creating jobs.
A few days ago, I wrote about three young schoolteachers I know who lost their jobs at the end of this academic year. So many people, young and old, want to work, need to work, and the job market just keeps shrinking.
Krugman ends his article with these words, "And who will pay the price? The answer is, tens of millions of unemployed workers, many of whom will go jobless for years, and some of whom will never work again." I am in my late fifties, and for many months I was afraid that I might never work again. I am very grateful to be gainfully employed, and I hope I don't forget all those out there who want the same chance. More important, I hope our government doesn't forget them.