By Contributor on August 30, 2010

By Jim Hightowter

Another implosion bomb is set to hit American workers. The public sector, which has been one bright spot for decent wages and benefits, is about to shed tens of thousands of teachers, firefighters, park employees, utility workers, and others from state and local governments, sending our country in exactly the wrong direction.

Yet economists are cheerfully bandying around the most moronic oxymoron I’ve ever heard. They are exulting that we’re experiencing a “jobless recovery.”

I don’t see how their minds can put those two words together without having their heads explode. Excuse me, Einsteins, but there’s no such thing. You can spin your data ’til the cows come home, but an economy that has nearly 20 percent of the workforce either unemployed or underemployed, that has no plan for replacing the eight million jobs we lost in the last two years, that is now proceeding with mass layoffs of such essential workers as teachers and firefighters, and that is willing to accept poverty pay as the new American norm is not by any stretch of the imagination in a recovery.

There is, of course, a way to avert this economic disaster. It’s called leadership. Stop talking about a green economy and put Americans to work building it.

This is but an excerpt from Jim Hightower’s column in our September issue. To read the full article, and to subscribe to The Progressive for just $14.97 (a 75% discount!), simply click here.

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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