Thursday :: Apr 3, 2008

Trapped


by Turkana

As an addendum to Steve's post on the new unemployment figures, take a look at this New York Times article:

The rapid decline in housing prices is distorting the normal workings of the American labor market. Mobility opens up job opportunities, allowing workers to go where they are most needed. When housing is not an obstacle, more than five million men and women, nearly 4 percent of the nation’s work force, move annually from one place to another — to a new job after a layoff, or to higher-paying work, or to the next rung in a career, often the goal of a corporate transfer. Or people seek, as in Dr. Morgan’s case, an escape from harsh northern winters.

Now that mobility is increasingly restricted. Unable to sell their homes easily and move on, tens of thousands of people like Mr. Kirkland and Dr. Morgan are making the labor force less flexible just as a weakening economy puts pressure on workers to move to wherever companies are still hiring.

Yes, the Bush economy and all that the conservative movement has brought us feeds on itself, crisis upon crisis, exacerbating each. People are trapped. And scared. By the Bush economy.

“You hear a lot about foreclosure and the thousands of families who are being forced out,” said Joseph S. Tracy, director of research at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. “But that is swamped by the number of people who want to sell their homes and can’t.”

If there's any good news, it would be in this New York Times article:

The first hint that President Bush might be detached from the nation’s economic woes was in February, when he conceded that he had not heard about predictions of $4-a-gallon gasoline.

Then Mr. Bush went to Wall Street to warn against “massive government intervention in the housing markets,” two days before his administration helped broker the takeover of the investment bank Bear Stearns.

Now Mr. Bush is in Eastern Europe, one of eight foreign trips he is taking this year. As he delivered his farewell address to NATO on Wednesday, Senate Democrats and Republicans were holed up in the Capitol, scrambling to produce a bill to help struggling homeowners, the kind of government intervention Mr. Bush had cautioned against.

For a man who came into office as the nation’s first M.B.A. president, Mr. Bush has sometimes seemed invisible during the housing and credit crunch. As the economy eclipses Iraq as the top issue on voters’ minds, even some Republican allies of the president say Mr. Bush is being eclipsed and is in danger of looking out of touch.

Given his reverse-Midas magical ability to turn anything he touches into sewage, I'm guessing that out of touch is where most Americans would prefer Bush to be.

Turkana :: 12:58 PM :: Comments (1) :: Digg It!