Tag Archives: underemployment
These are images of people waiting at various food banks across the United States in the days leading up to Thanksgiving. I’m sure these people are thrilled to know the Dow Jones Industrial reached 30,000 this week. This happened in the richest goddamn country in the world.
“The economy is going to be very uncomfortable between now and when we get the next fiscal rescue package. If lawmakers can’t get it together, it will be very difficult for the economy to avoid going back into a recession.”
“This winter will be grim.”
– Economists at JPMorgan Chase, in a report slashing their forecast for the 2021 first quarter to a negative 1% annual GDP rate
“You are not listening to what the director of the CDC said. If you believe that 22% is herd immunity, I believe you’re alone in that.”
– Dr. Anthony Fauci, to Sen. Rand Paul during a Senate hearing on COVID-19
“There’s absolutely no evidence that having a cold from a coronavirus in the past does anything to protect us. If it did, we wouldn’t have the epidemic we’re having right now.”
“I hope that you and the President don’t dislocate your shoulders patting yourselves on the back saying good job. We are 4% of the world’s population. We’re 22% of the world’s deaths. You bragged about the economy growing so fast – your words. Our unemployment is significantly higher than Germany’s; significantly higher than France’s; twice what Taiwan’s is; almost 3x what South Korea and Japan’s is; much higher than Australia; twice what Britain’s rate is; twice what New Zealand’s rate is. I mean I know you think the economy is doing well. But, if you’re talking to your wealthy friends on Wall Street…but things are pretty bad for most working Americans. They’re going to get worse unless you come up with a real package.”
Mnuchin had said, “I think we’ve made tremendous progress on testing.”
“When you have a president without shame, backed by a party without spine, amplified by a network without integrity, and by social networks that are marinated in conspiracy theories, behind whom are a lot of armed people — if you are not frightened by this, you are not paying attention.”
Friedman also stated the U.S. is on the verge of a “potential second civil war” if Trump’s insinuations aren’t taken seriously.
This COVID-19 pandemic has taken so much from the average person – no matter where in the world they live. Here in the U.S. we’re trapped in a nightmarish scenario with a disoriented leader heralding recent gains in the stock market, while millions remain unemployed. I’m sure those struggling to pay utilities are thrilled to know Fortune 1000 companies are enjoying record stock prices.
One of the most severe – and underrated – effects is the impact the scourge has had on people’s psyches. Emotional, mental and physical health always become subconscious victims of any national crisis. People are just trying to survive.
Personally, I’m in a vortex of angst and frustration. My freelance writing enterprise – as meager as it was – has pretty much collapsed. I’m fortunate I have some money saved from previous work, but I know that won’t last forever. Or even much longer. After my mother’s death this past June, though, I began to feel sick. Friends and relatives thought I was in a state of grief, which I was for the most part. But I thought I’d contracted that dreaded novel coronavirus. I had many of the symptoms. I had hoped my seasonal allergies had started to hit me early. Then again, perhaps it was the stress of dealing with my mother’s health. One friend suggested I was suffering from a lack of iron and Vitamin D. Still, I finally reconciled, it may be all of the above. Fighting so many battles at once takes a toll on the body. And mind.
Because of the pandemic, health clubs were among those businesses shuttered across the nation in an effort to contain the spread. I last visited my gym in mid-May; shortly before the rehabilitation center where my mother had been staying shoved her out because her Medicare benefits had been exhausted. (That’s another story!)
But even after my gym reopened in June, I still haven’t visited. Again it was that awful sickness. I didn’t know what was wrong. I’ve taken to doing basic calisthenics and walking along an exercise trail behind my home in recent weeks in the middle of the day. I used to go running, but I don’t have the strength right now. Key words: right now. Once you take off a long time without doing any kind of exercise besides laundry and loading and unloading the dishwasher, it’s a tad bit difficult to get back to normal. But even that little bit still makes me feel good.
Seven years ago I wrote about my tendency to visit my local gym on Saturday nights, when hardly anyone was present. I commented that only lonely fools like me did such a thing. At the turn of the century, working out on a Saturday night was unmanageable. But the gym I had at the time was open 24 hours. It was a perfect time to jog on a treadmill and lift weights, I realized, with such a sparse crowd. No one was there to be “seen”. That quiet time – with various types of music blaring from the myriad speakers lingering overhead – allowed me to think of every aspect of my life.
I left that gym in 2017 to join another local gym that closed unexpectedly a year later. After a lengthy hiatus, I joined my current gym last year. This is an old-school gym with no fancy juice bars or chic workout gear. Loud rock and rap music bounces around the concrete walls. It boasts an outside area with non-traditional workout gear, like tractor tires and tree stumps. Men can go shirtless. People there sweat – they don’t perspire! It’s not for suburban soccer moms or GQ cover models. (No offense to soccer moms!) I feel more than comfortable in such an environment.
I know it’s tough to take one’s mental and physical health into consideration if you’re unemployed or underemployed. But I also know you don’t have to belong to any kind of health club to care for your own health. Mental health experts are concerned about the severity this pandemic is having on people’s well-being. Quarantines are literally driving people crazy. And to drink too much alcohol and/or consume illegal drugs. Or contemplate hurting themselves. A bad economy helps none of that. I can identify with all of that. I really do feel that kind of pain.
Just walking the other day, carrying a water bottle and letting the sun emblazon my bare torso, helped me mentally. It didn’t make everything magically disappear once I returned home. I knew it wouldn’t. But maintaining one’s health – as best as possible, even in the worst of times – is vital. It can’t be overemphasized.
“No one should have to choose between staying home and really now being at higher risk with the situation with the coronavirus or having to decide to go to work sick.”
Texas alone has more than 10 million people age 18 and above involved in the workforce. About 40% of them lack paid sick leave; the majority of them female and/or non-White. Texas is notably more pro-business than pro-worker, and state officials have fought various municipalities that want to implement mandatory paid sick leave by filing lawsuits and proposing legislation to undermine those efforts.
Now, with the COVID-19 scourge in full crisis mode, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has declared a state of emergency.
Just wait and see. Oh, of course. Why shouldn’t the 10 to 20 million unemployed and under-employed in the U.S. be patient a little while longer? Wall Street has just experienced an extraordinary boom and the jobless rate has ticked down to 7.7% with reports that employers added 236,000 jobs in February. A tick is something I yank off my dog and throw down the disposal. While our elected officials continue to behave like unsupervised grade schoolers, average Americans keep losing their homes, and my student loans keep accruing interest.