Update: At least one Representative does consider the issue:
Thank you, Representative Hoyer.
Update: At least one Representative does consider the issue:
Thank you, Representative Hoyer.
Please read the full editorial with links on Bloomberg.com
Long-term unemployment is one of the most vexing problems the U.S. faces, and today’s jobs report shows all-too-meager progress in fixing it.
The U.S. created 165,000 new jobs in April, pushing down the unemployment rate to 7.5 percent from March’s 7.6 percent. But as of the end of April, 4.4 million Americans, or 37 percent of the unemployed, had been without a job for 27 weeks or longer, barely better than March’s 39 percent. The U.S. can’t afford to write off more than 4 million people who would like to work but haven’t for more than six months.
Long-term joblessness peaked in April 2010 at 6.7 million, so the picture might seem to be improving. Hidden within that number is this troubling fact: The average unemployed person has been out of work for 36.5 weeks. That’s not much better than the December 2011 duration of 40.7 weeks, which was the longest since World War II. Long-term unemployment at the start of the recession in December 2007 was 1.3 million people, and the average duration was 16.6 weeks.
Terrible things happen to people when they are out of work for long periods, numerous studies show. Beyond a sharp drop in income, long-term unemployment is associated with higher rates of suicide, cancer (especially among men) and divorce. The children of the long-term unemployed also show an increased probability of having to repeat a grade in school.
There is less agreement on why so many people have been out of work for so long. Democrats generally point to the anemic recovery, in which weak demand for goods and services results in less hiring. The cyclical nature of unemployment, they say, can be addressed with more government stimulus.
Republicans tend to focus more on structural problems, in which the education and experience levels of the unemployed don’t match what employers say they want in job candidates. More government spending, they say, would be a waste of money because it won’t close the skills gap. Some Republicans also think that extended unemployment benefits are a disincentive to job hunters.
Recently, though, economists in both camps have come to agree that something bigger -- and more insidious -- is at work: Unemployment causes social scarring. In other words, the stigma of long-term joblessness is, by itself, causing persistent joblessness. This is true whether you have a college degree or a high-school diploma, whether you are middle-aged or 20- something. It’s also true whether your collar is blue or white.
When researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston sent fake resumes to employers with job openings, the length of time candidates had been out of work mattered more than their job experience in determining who got called in for an interview. Applicants who had only recently lost a job but had no relevant experience were far more likely to be called than those with many years of experience who had been out of work a long time. So much for the skills gap.
One way to thwart such bias is to make sure the unemployed understand that their chances of getting work improve if they are in a job-training program or working at least part-time. Not sitting idle is paramount. This is where government can help.
Unfortunately, the U.S.’s job training effort is a mishmash of 47 programs spread across nine agencies. At $18 billion a year, it’s also costly. The effectiveness of those programs is hard to quantify because of poor data collection and management oversight, the Government Accountability Office concluded in 2011.
Only five of the 47 programs could demonstrate whether a positive outcome -- meaning a trainee got a job, for example, or obtained a new credential -- could be attributed to the program. About half the programs hadn’t had a performance review since 2004.
Finding out what works is crucial. Other solutions should be tried, including giving preference to the long-term unemployed when filling federal government jobs. In addition, President Barack Obama should ask Congress to approve tax breaks for companies that hire the long-term unemployed.
Work-share programs, in which employees accept reduced hours when demand is slack in exchange for unemployment insurance to compensate for lost wages, has worked in other countries. The U.S. should also experiment with state-based clearinghouses that connect employers with job-seekers in other states and subsidize the moving expenses.
The U.S. is in dire danger of having a permanent class of long-term unemployed. It has to do better.
Homer: Not a bear in sight. The Bear Patrol must be working like a charm.
Lisa: That's specious reasoning, Dad.
Homer: Thank you, dear.
Lisa: By your logic I could claim that this rock keeps tigers away.
Homer: Oh, how does it work?
Lisa: It doesn't work.
Lisa: It's just a stupid rock.
Lisa: But I don't see any tigers around, do you?
[Homer thinks of this, then pulls out some money]
Homer: Lisa, I want to buy your rock.
"You may be interested to know that global warming, earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters are a direct effect of the shrinking numbers of Pirates since the 1800s. For your interest, I have included a graph of the approximate number of pirates versus the average global temperature over the last 200 years. As you can see, there is a statistically significant inverse relationship between pirates and global temperature."
"The nation's total violent crime rate hit an all-time high in 1991. Thereafter, it declined 18 of the next 20 years, 49 percent overall, to a 41-year low in 2011. That included a 52 percent decrease in the nation's murder rate, to a 48-year low, nearly the lowest point in U.S. history. The FBI has preliminarily reported that in the first half of 2012, the murder rate dropped another 2.7 percent."
"Concurrently, gun ownership and the number of privately owned guns rose to all-time highs, the number of privately owned firearms in the U.S. rising by over 120 million, including about 55 million handguns, about 80 percent of which were semi-automatic. The 120 million new firearms included over 3.5 million AR-15 semi-automatic rifles and tens of millions of other firearms that gun control supporters call 'assault weapons', along with countless tens of millions of ammunition magazines that hold 11 or more rounds, which gun control supporters think are too 'large'. In the three months following President Barack Obama's reelection and his announcement that gun control would be a 'central issue' of his final term of office, the number of firearm-related background checks conducted through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System rose 53 percent, as compared to the same November-January period a year earlier."
Is there any relationship between Lisa's tiger-repelling rock and the number of tigers in Springfield? Not according to her. Is there any relationship between average global temperatures and the number of Pirates? No. Is there any relationship between the national murder rate and the number of privately owned guns in the U. S.? The NRA-ILA never establishes a relationship, trusting instead on a logical fallacy, post hoc ergo propter hoc, to do the job instead.
So, what about guns and crime? Is there a relationship? Maybe. Maybe not. Until better research can be conducted, it's a hard question to answer with any authority. But: there may be a link between gun violence and gun laws. States with lax gun laws have seen higher rates of gun violence than states with stricter laws: so says the report America Under The Gun from the Center for American Progress:
"Despite this complex web of factors that influence the rate of gun violence, this report finds a clear link between high levels of gun violence and weak state gun laws. Across the key indicators of gun violence that we analyzed, the 10 states with the weakest gun laws collectively have an aggregate level of gun violence that is more than twice as high—104 percent higher, in fact—than the 10 states with the strongest gun laws."
"While this report has demonstrated a correlation between the relative strength or weakness of a state's gun-related laws and the prevalence of various types of gun violence in the state, this alone does not prove a direct causal link between these two factors. As discussed above, numerous factors influence the rates of any type of violence or crime in a state, including gun violence. This report does not conclude that weak gun laws alone cause gun violence or that strong gun laws alone prevent gun violence but rather that the association suggests a potential causal relationship"
As a New Yorker and a Yankees fan, my prayers go out to Boston: victims, families, first responders, volunteers. God bless and keep you all.— A 99er (@HelpThe99ers) April 16, 2013
Today, Yankees Stadium:
Rand Ghayad of Northeastern University sent out 4,800 fake resumes at random for 600 job openings. And what he found is that employers would rather call back someone with no relevant experience who's only been out of work for a few months than someone with more relevant experience who’s been out of work for longer than six months.
In other words, it doesn't matter how much experience you have. It doesn't matter why you lost your previous job — it could have been bad luck. If you've been out of work for more than six months, you're essentially unemployable. Many companies won't even consider you for a job.
"Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose: For example, concealed weapons prohibitions have been upheld under the Amendment or state analogues. The Court's opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. Miller's holding that the sorts of weapons protected are those 'in common use at the time' finds support in the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons."
Justice Antonin Scalia, delivering the opinion of the Supreme Court (source)