Saturday, January 10, 2009

Unemployment rate at 16-year high

As of Friday's Labor Department report, 11.1 million Americans are unemployed, 50 percent more than a year ago.

The unemployment rate is now higher than at any time since the end of the administration of George Bush, Sr., 16 years ago.

The New York Times leads the paper with this story this morning and devotes an entire inside page to analyzing the consequences, the effects on the economy, and so on. Our concern here, however, is the effect on fathers, mothers--and especially children.

Every lost job represents another family that could tumble into poverty. And the consequences of poverty on children have been well documented. Poor children are more likely to drop out of school, get involved in crime, abuse drugs or alcohol, and wind up in jail.

Recessions and unemployment have real consequences for parents and children. Sometimes it's important to take the smaller, family-level view, than to focus exclusively on the economic statistics and forecasts.

The greedy Wall Street financiers whose reckless lending and fraud caused this collapse--and the government regulators who failed to stop them--deserve the blame for what happens to perhaps millions of children, whose opportunities are--right now--being snatched away from them.

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