By Matthew Rothschild on November 06, 2009

The new unemployment figures are a stinging indictment of the Obama economic policy.

Standing now at 10.2 percent, the highest in 26 years, the rate is much worse than Obama’s advisers predicted.

And their song is getting tiresome.

They keep singing that the economy would be much worse off without the $700 billion stimulus.

But that’s no solace to the more than 15 million people who are out of work today.

You can’t tell a guy who got laid off that it could have been much worse for him? What are you going to say: You could have been doubly laid off?

You can’t tell someone who just lost her home that it could have been much worse for her.

It already is much worse for her.

And to keep saying that we’re saving or creating 3.5 million jobs, as the Administration contends, is no solace either when so many more people are out of work.

Until Obama makes a commitment to a full-employment recovery package, he’s failing to meet the crisis at hand.

Several of the best progressive economists in the country—including Dean Baker, James Galbraith, Paul Krugman, and Joseph Stiglitz—warned Obama that he was coming in way too low with his original stimulus package. They predicted that unemployment would surpass 10 percent. Obama ignored them, and now he and his advisers claim that no one could have predicted it would be this bad.

Wrong.

It’s poor economics and poor morals to design a recovery package that leaves so many people unemployed.

And it’s suicidal politics.

With unemployment this high, the voters are likely to take more revenge on the Democrats a year from now.

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After the voter ID ruling, progressives try to reclaim politics for ordinary people

His bombing campaign is legally weak, and his rhetoric weaker.

By Harvey Wasserman

 

The most hopeful, diverse, photogenic, energizing and often hilarious...

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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