Full Employment and the National League Strike Zone
The indefatigable Atrios of Eschaton is very good at reminding us the Federal Reserve has twin codified policy mandates: control inflation and promote full employment. Full employment? You mean keep the little people working no matter the vagrancies of the free market? How very liberal the United States was in 1977 when plain folks were legislatively expected to have a life.
Most Americans, I daresay, would be surprised to learn ensuring their dreams and health is the law of the land. Successive Presidents and their Federal Reserve leadership simply ignored it in the loud din of American politics, Republicans of course actively working against it, so that eventually a complete lynchpin of the American way a life—a good job—just drifted away to nothing or a complete distortion as seen in the Fed today, which is conveniently obsessed with inflation but totally lost in space on their other core mission, oh well, never mind, we used to see the rules and reality one way and now we just don’t.
Watch a National League baseball game next month to see the same phenomena in full effect, a pitcher will hurl a grooved fastball on a trajectory that cannot confuse easily sailing in two inches below the knee. Strike one! What? Are you kidding me? The strike zone is an integral core element of the game, how could one league get so lost on what is so crucially real, that can’t be. Strike two! But, but…it’s right there in the rules, the other model running right beside it of course gets it, we always saw the rule that way, why are you doing that? Strike three! The rules are what those in power say they are, beat it, beyotch, you’re out.
Such is the grim fate of the American worker at an appalling official 10% unemployment rate, we used to get what the rules so plainly said: it isn’t acceptable in any sense to ignore full employment as a policy stance, we can’t have a country if our people aren’t working or we can’t offer opportunity to our young people. The National League San Francisco Giants, not surprisingly, follow the same model of ignoring primary mission (they can pitch and play defense, but can’t hit) and of course will fail their people just as much as the Fed does now. Badly.
The New York Times has a horribly sad article on downsized American careers this morning, MBA types desperate for work taking anything, anywhere, as long as money comes in and they don’t have to be constantly afraid and degraded in an interview process that can be hell on earth when there are five people vying for every slot.
“I’m happy here,” one woman said. “I actually feel respected.”
Forget about at least six years of advanced education for intellectually engaging work, earning good money or benefits, a workload that doesn’t break you or your family life, just some basic decent respect will do. Respect and decency in this American world where so many are on the street, desperate to stay off the street and somehow feed their children or fighting horrible depression as their dreams fall down in successive ruins all around them. Just respect for the rules and knowledge little people Americans deserve a life just as much as the employees of Goldman Sachs.
We as a people are as lost as the National League, a real Federal Reserve would have been demanding public works employment as loud as it could have fully a year ago, but instead that Republican Bernanke keeps issuing his stern smug admonitions about inflation while our kids go hungry.
I’m angry about it, sure, but much more basely confused: why can’t leadership understand reality? Reality of America, employment and the law? 10% unemployment doesn’t cut it, not even close, way off even the absurd interpretation of the National League strike zone, but look, this is just the way we do it now.
If you’re lucky, American, forget about travel except anywhere but Safeway, Social Security will be your only retirement income, you’ll never be in your educated career again but you won’t be on the street. If fortune really shines on you respect might even enter your realm of daily experience. This is our America of the 21st century.