Feed on

While the world is crashing down

I’d like to note that this is the third day in a row where the weather is beautiful.

Imagine that

Poll shows Americans are “explosively angry” at Washington.

Things like this don’t help.


8 reasons

Why young Americans don’t fight back.

Sam Seder interviews the author here.

Fighting back

Against bystanders who have the sheer audacity to videotape unprovoked police beatings. Can’t let them get away with it!

Bringing it home

To Boehner’s office:

Oh look

Only one woman at the Super Committee table. (Even though we’ll be hit harder by any cuts.) Oh well!

Hijacking the debate

Paul Krugman is still running around with his hair on fire over how we’re ignoring unemployment — and the Very Serious People still ignore him. Go read the whole thing:

Check out the opinion page of any major newspaper, or listen to any news-discussion program, and you’re likely to encounter some self-proclaimed centrist declaring that there are no short-run fixes for our economic difficulties, that the responsible thing is to focus on long-run solutions and, in particular, on “entitlement reform” — that is, cuts in Social Security and Medicare. And when you do encounter such a person, you should be aware that people like that are a major reason we’re in so much trouble.

For the fact is that right now the economy desperately needs a short-run fix. When you’re bleeding profusely from an open wound, you want a doctor who binds that wound up, not a doctor who lectures you on the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle as you get older. When millions of willing and able workers are unemployed, and economic potential is going to waste to the tune of almost $1 trillion a year, you want policy makers who work on a fast recovery, not people who lecture you on the need for long-run fiscal sustainability.

Unfortunately, giving lectures on long-run fiscal sustainability is a fashionable Washington pastime; it’s what people who want to sound serious do to demonstrate their seriousness. So when the crisis struck and led to big budget deficits — because that’s what happens when the economy shrinks and revenue plunges — many members of our policy elite were all too eager to seize on those deficits as an excuse to change the subject from jobs to their favorite hobbyhorse. And the economy continued to bleed.

What would a real response to our problems involve? First of all, it would involve more, not less, government spending for the time being — with mass unemployment and incredibly low borrowing costs, we should be rebuilding our schools, our roads, our water systems and more. It would involve aggressive moves to reduce household debt via mortgage forgiveness and refinancing. And it would involve an all-out effort by the Federal Reserve to get the economy moving, with the deliberate goal of generating higher inflation to help alleviate debt problems.

The usual suspects will, of course, denounce such ideas as irresponsible. But you know what’s really irresponsible? Hijacking the debate over a crisis to push for the same things you were advocating before the crisis, and letting the economy continue to bleed.

Gotta get back

Shelby Lynne:

Who won’t hire the unemployed?

As you probably know, I used to be an executive recruiter and I can tell you recruiting firms usually promise clients they will go out and find top-notch candidates who are already employed and not looking for work (that’s what makes them “recruiters” — they recruit people). But I can also tell you most clients don’t pay that much attention to what the recruiting company tells them, they just want to fill the position. So I’d have to say recruiters are probably the ones pushing the “no unemployed” language, because they promised the clients.

But I’m a little surprised if staffing companies are doing the same thing, because staffing tends to be entry or mid-level jobs, not executive or professional career-track positions, and those clients are a lot more concerned with filling the position quickly, with competency and reliability the main criteria.

If you want a job and think you’re qualified, ignore the ad and apply anyway:

A recent report by the National Employment Law Project, a worker advocacy group, called out 73 businesses for asking in job postings that applicants be currently employed. “This perverse catch-22 is deepening our unemployment crisis by arbitrarily foreclosing job opportunities to many who are otherwise qualified for them,” NELP said in the report.

The Huffington Post reached out to half the organizations cited in the report, and 19 responded.While several staffing firms defended the ads, employers disavowed them, saying they’d been written by a person outside the company and that they were completely unaware of the language used.

For instance, a spokesperson for AIELLO Home Services, an HVAC company based in central Connecticut, said his company would never run a job ad that specified applicants should already have jobs.

“If you like to make money and have a flexible schedule, then a challenging and exciting opportunity awaits you,” an online job ad for the company said. “And if you are currently employed, believe enough in yourself and your abilities to make a positive career move…you and your family will be glad you did.” (The ad also specified: “NO prior industry experience required!”)

After HuffPost forwarded the ad to the spokesperson, marketing manager Phil Clement, he looked into it and then said it was a mistake. “The ad is a pick-up from some consultant who has helped us in the past find sales people,” said Clement. “The ad is even copyrighted by him. We’ve just put our address at the bottom and hoped to uncover one or two experienced sales people along the way.”

Clement said his company has no policy against hiring the unemployed. “AIELLO simply wants to hire good people. There is absolutely no policy written or ‘understood’ that we will only recruit from the employed,” Clement said, adding that he himself had been out of work for two months when the company hired him this year.

“As my own hiring should testify,” Clement said, “AIELLO definitely hires the unemployed.”

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