Is this 1937 or 1929?

One person I consider especially fortunate to have within my circle of friends is Andrew Ginsburg in NewYork. I admire his blog greatly (link to it from the foot of this post). He comes at the issues from an apolitical common sense standpoint and his concern for humanitarianism is always to the forefront. His post below highlights concerns that I share about the current economic situation in the US. 

You can also follow Andrew on Twitter here @GinsburgJobs

The point I’d like add to Andrew’s comments is that the only option left to many now is that of self-help. If the government is unwilling or unable to create jobs we have to create our own. I believe this isn’t as impossible a task as it might at first seem. Global communication networks have enabled much bigger things than this to actually happen – just look at the Arab Spring. What it needs is commitment and a willingness for individuals to share and help each other, rather than just ourselves. 

I’ll return to this topic in a future post , but for now here’s Andrew:

Is this 1937 or 1929?

by AndrewSGinsburg

It’s actually a great question but either one means bad news for the United States of America. Most people know about 1929 the stock market crash and the beginning of the Great Depression. What many people don’t know is that in the period from 1929 to 1937 the stock market rebounded, the economy looked good and everyone thinking we were out of any economic danger decided to put in place major budget cuts. 


That’s what happened in 1937, budgets were slashed, no more stimulus. Some people thought the economy had recovered. But it hadn’t. The budget cuts that were initiated in 1937 kept the Great Depression going until after World War 2. 


So where are we today, cutting budgets to continue the Depression we are in, or just at the beginning? It’s hard to tell. I am not an economist so keep that in mind while reading this. But, from what I have read from leading economists today we are in a situation of unprecedented long-term unemployment as well as an economy that’s shaky. Last quarter it basically broke even; this latest quarter the growth was below economists’ forecasts.

And, today we see our elected politicians looking for severe budget cuts. No cancer treatment for the poor? Is the U.S.A. a country where only the rich get medical care? The so called sequester is a disaster in the making. It cuts everything, from defending and protecting our country to cutting aid for education and medical care. That’s exactly what happened in 1937 which plunged the United States back into the Depression, which we had never gotten out of. 

What got us out of the Great Depression was WWII; during WWII, we spent as a country 3 times the GDP; which today would mean $45Trillion per year. People attack Barack Obama for his stimulus not working as well as it should have. Well, in a $15 Trillion economy, one push of $800 Billion wont do that much. Many economists predicted that at the time. And they were correct. 


Today our economy is in a Depression. Hiring has been so slow that it can’t keep up with population’s growth. Last month 500,000 people stopped looking for work. These people didn’t stop because they wanted to stay home and watch TV, or they wanted to live off the government (their benefits had long run out). They stopped looking because there are no jobs out there and people got sick of applying and rejected. You hear lots of stories about the unemployed having a lack of marketable skills; this used to be called on the job training. 

Speaking from experience I know that companies are not eager to hire people; they are not eager to take a well skilled worker and utilize their skills, no matter what the salary, they are more likely to over interview people and then not hire anyone at all. It’s really an extreme disaster for both sides. For the unemployed it can be worse than a spouse dying; they are more likely to suffer ailments that employed people aren’t. For companies, they are trying to make do with less; have fewer employees, fewer expenses and more profit. 

But that’s not the way it works in the big picture. Those that are fortunate enough to have jobs live in fear of losing them. You don’t get the best work from people when they are walking scared and afraid of being unemployed. What you do get is higher profits and CEOs with extremely high pay, because this quarter did well. No one is looking at the big picture, as to what companies and people will look like a decade from now. High riding companies will likely lose their CEOs as they move on to a better paying job. Every day employees are left with the mess senior management makes and are often blamed for it. 


So, 1937 or 1929? Austerity will kill all growth in this country and push us back into a deeper recession than we are already in. And it’s really a depression not a recession. If it’s more like 1929 we are in for a horrible ride. We are just at the beginning of a horrible economic mess. Yes the wealthy will be fine and are protected. Wherever you fall on the economic scale do you want to see your fellow Americans suffering and possibly dying because they don’t have income/cash? 

Its time to learn from history. What we did in 1937 caused tremendous pain. President Obama should be out there pushing for stimulus and jobs bills; like he tried to do with gun control. The GOP has been despicable in their obstructionism but that means Mr. Obama needs to work harder. We need more jobs for the 89 million people who are unemployed or who don’t earn enough to survive. 

Today is the day, we need to all come together to put every American who wants a job back to work. The cost will be minimal compared to the alternative.

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