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YOUNG: The ripple effect of high unemployment
When workers suffer, so does the nation as a whole
America has long been hypnotized by the myth of “ebb and flow economics” — that there are good and bad times, each endlessly begetting the other. The globe’s persistently poor areas should be enough to shatter that myth.
Good economies rest on strong foundations; so, too, their recoveries. The current unprecedented unemployment crisis is undermining America’s foundation. Simply assuming the economy will right itself is wrong.
America needs to fundamentally rethink its recent readiness to eschew job formation at home. For too long, we have indulged the luxury of relegating certain jobs to other nations — jobs deemed too dirty, too labor-intensive or not innovative enough.
If our current unemployment crisis has a positive side, it is that it allows us to free ourselves — especially those out of work — from these elitist misconceptions. We can start with energy-sector jobs in all their forms and reassess everything currently inhibiting their growth. We risk paying the price as individuals and as a nation if we do not.
J.T. Young served in the Treasury Department and the Office of Management and Budget from 2001 to 2004 and as a congressional staff member from 1987 to 2000.
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