Many Americans are out of work. Many too many. Who’s fault is that? If you believe in so-called market economics, that’s just too damn bad. It’s the way things work. We shouldn’t mention that “things” in this case are decisions made by human beings, normally those with the money or who control the money, and those decisions are too often stupid. And by the way, others of this persuasion say or think, you can always find a job and if you don’t you are lazy.
Others, take Niccolo Machiavelli for example, thought Fortune to be a woman and a not very kind woman at that. Fortune favored some and disfavored others. Little you could do about it either way. We call it luck. Some are lucky. Some are not.
There is a third point of view. It says most people want to work. They are eager, if not desperate, to have a source of income, to feed and care for their families, to make their own way. Many of us in this group have known hard times. Either we ourselves or our parents or family have lost jobs, lost self-sufficiency, lost self-respect. It might help in political discussion if more people (everyone younger than me, and that is most people) had some memory of the Depression. Such memory would at least have the affect of shutting up those who casually say that the unemployed and poor are so by choice.
Beyond economic theory, however, is the deeper question: are we 300 million people who just happen to live in the same nation and are all on our own, or are we a national community, a place where we share common concerns, values, principles, and beliefs? The answer to this question will dictate your economics and your politics. It would be wonderful to believe that private charity alone, “a thousand points of light,” will take care of millions of desperate fellow Americans. But it can’t and it won’t.
Resources are available. A fraction of the money spent in Iraq and Afghanistan would put hundreds of thousands of Americans back to work rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure. If you can find money to fight a war, you can find money to create jobs.
The brave right now are those desperate neighbors who are struggling to hang on. If all of us, through our government, do not smile on them and help them, then we must pray that Fortune will.