The New American Economy: Win the Lottery, Get a Job


Written by Tula Connell, an AFL-CIO blogger

Stunning, just stunning. Nearly 17,000 people applied for jobs at a Ford plant in Kentucky, according to USA Today. The applications are now going into a lottery and Ford will determine who gets to proceed to be considered for the 1,800 jobs that pay $15.51 an hour.  No doubt not everyone who applied is unemployed, to be sure — but it’s likely a good number don’t have jobs.

So is this what it’s come to for America’s unemployed workers — they need to win a lottery to get work to support themselves and their families?

Derek Thompson nails it on the head in the Atlantic:

With every month’s employment survey, economists and journalists have to find new ways to write the headline “Job Report Surprises and Disappoints.” It’s getting difficult because the news is so dependably awful and the Thesaurus is only so thick. But it’s time to at least drop the word “surprises” and understand that the private sector does not work for workers the way it used to.

Two years after the start of the recession, there still are 4.7 workers for every ONE job available. Meanwhile, corporations sit on trillions of dollars. Rather than putting some of that cash to use to create jobs, CEOs are enjoying massive pay hikes. In 2010, Standard & Poor’s 500 Index company CEOs received, on average, $11.4 million in total compensation — a 23 percent increase in one year.

But rather than discuss what’s really key to America’s economy — creating jobs — Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill are derailing the country with their ideological games designed to give their corporate backers even more money — in the form of massive tax breaks for millionaires.

Earlier this week, participants in a Jobs Crisis panel we held here, noted that many in Washington continue to push deregulation and tax cuts as the way out of the economic hole the country is in, without acknowledging the role that those policies played in creating the current economic conditions.  Instead, the best way to get the nation’s job engine running again is through investments that can create jobs and increase demand such as infrastructure, education and training, aid to states, fair trade policies, long-term unemployment insurance and more.

As Matt Taibbi picquantly puts it:

…the political champions of middle America are at this very minute campaigning in Congress to extract more revenue from elderly retirees and broke-ass students while simultaneously fighting to preserve a slew of tax loopholes for the rich, including the carried-interest tax break that allows hedge fund billionaires to pay about half the tax rate of most Americans.

This post was originally published on the AFL-CIO’s blog.

Related Stories:

Recent Jobs Report in Pictures

Half of Americans Who Get Government Aid Say They Don’t

Women Now Losing Jobs as Men Gain Them

Photo: Tony the Misfit via flickr.


Judith Emerson
Judith Emerson6 years ago

Very disconcerting times. :/

Tim Cheung
Tim C6 years ago


Glenn M.
Glenn Meyer6 years ago

Cutting spending on, so called, entitlements is ineffective for addressing the deficit. Cutting programs that support the low and middle class will further strain both who don’t even receive lower prices as a result of the U.S. job losses and create a disconnect that will end in another financial collapse. The justification for attacking government benefits as opposed to raising taxes is the creation of jobs. But where?

Corporations have over-powered our government which now believes that out-sourcing and off-shoring of U.S. jobs is inevitable and necessary with expectations that the middle class should fall on their swords. It is the underlying cause of the financial collapse and borders on national security with the loss of our middle class tax base. Yet, this nation does nothing, not even demand it be restricted by whatever method. International businesses are doing the UN-AMERICAN activity of destroying U.S. salaries, U.S. businesses that hire in the U.S., and as an end result, destroying the U.S. marketplace while still demanding BUSINESS ENTITLEMENTS and protections for themselves.

Infrastructure spending and tax breaks will not replace enough jobs to keep up with the hemorrhaging loss of U.S. jobs from out-sourcing over seas. Neither party will do anything about it unless we begin grass roots efforts to protest out-sourcing and off-shoring of U.S. jobs. If nothing is done we will deserve what we get and it will get a lot worse before it gets better

Patrick F.
Patrick f6 years ago

$15.51 per hour? To work in an auto plant? Never buying a Ford ever again.

Ameer T.
Ameer T6 years ago

Sorry got cut off:

China is also harvesting Oil, minerals and resources from the rest of the world such as Africa, India and Middle East. They have created industries and make products and supply them to every country in the world with such cheap prices that industries in other parts of the world have even begun to shut down beacuse it is jsut simply cheaper to buy chinese products. China has a 10 Trillion dollar surplus as of this date and growing.

Two countries on an agenda of growth. two different ways to grow, two different ways to influence the world.

Ameer T.
Ameer T6 years ago

I want to put to you a comparision of two countries that had a similar agenda of rapid growth and global domination. i present to you case one:

AMERICA. It relied on an old world tactic, mostly atributed to uncivilized practice of war. it created a reason or assumed a reason, used that as a basis and a justifiction for war on several countries that had Oil, minerals or other natural resources by branding them as terrorists and a threat to American freedom. America spent about 7 trillion on wars in 3 countries, killed thousands, lost thousands, made deals with Oil companies and awarded the contracts to some domestic companies making the rich even more richer. consequently it created a domestic deficit and governement was almost shut down. debt ceilign had to be renegotiated, budget cuts include social security cuts, medicare cuts, education reduction. Prices rose and unemployment rose as well. To add insult to injury the Americans paid for their funeral by funding the wars with their taxes for a decade.

CASE IN POINT 2; CHINA: No war, no conflict, built the worlds largest gas pipeline, one of the largest dams, infrastructure, shipping ports, entered into contracts with several countries to supply them with resources in exchange for products. Make everything one can possibly think of therefore increasing jobs for the multitudes of their population. So much so that they have set up sweat shops and taken jobs (outsourced) from the rest of the world. They are also harvested

Ameer T.
Ameer T6 years ago

i agree that economy will not be if there is no money to spend. but thats only the model of the modern economy that uses money as the central medium of exchange. however if there is no money there is still demand and in order to meet that demand there will inevitably come the supply. In the worse case scenario the people may shift to barter. this happened during the depression of the twenties and cigarettes were used commonly as currencies in places like Germany.

But what will never be brought to discussion here or anywhere else is the fact that we should be learning from history but aren't. i dont know why? every great power crumbled as a consequence of over stretching itself, as a cosequence of wars and long term civil unrest. Russia as a recent example comes to mind and its fall after the Afghan war. It fought for a decade or so there and afterwards could not sustain itself adn broke. why shouldn't the same effect be expected in America. Analysts are rabid about the predictions of its fall, debt has gone through the roof, budgets have been cut, jobs have been reduced and all that is being shouted and called for is a hatred for muslims and a shut down on mosques or what oppresive laws exist in other countries for America to fix.

When the heck is everybody going to wake up and realise the right issues are not even being adressed.

Tracey D.
Tracey D6 years ago

Thanks for the article. As for those who've commented on being upset with those in power, all I have to say is as the band "The Fibs" sings "Vote those rascals out!" That's what I plan to do. Vote.

Lin Moy
Lin M6 years ago

If there is not a job that pays you to go to it, then it is wastefull to say the least. When, at the end of the week 3/4 of a check go to sitters what will you eat when you partially pay on a bill??