As students enter the work force after graduating from high school and college, they will find that there are many reasons that getting a summer job is harder than it was last year. One of the reasons is that there were only 69,000 jobs created nationally last month, making the unemployment rate up from 8.1% to 8.2%. In Monterey County those numbers are lower than all the areas in the Monterey Peninsula. Statistics aside, it would be safe to say that the unemployment rate is closer to 15% since many people work seasonally and have stopped looking for work.
One student that I spoke to said that competition is high and that it would more realistic to say that for every summer job for youth and new high school or college graduates, there are 200 applicants. There is always the summer school option, but most kids would rather be working and making some money to pay for the cell phone bill and clothes for next fall rather than go to summer school.
The local weekly news had a complete edition on summer activities for school-aged kids ranging from dance lessons, yoga, arts and crafts and ecology education. Everything you need to know about any kind of sport is available for summer lessons and there are theater productions to be enrolled in, too.
While most people do not want to think about another year of recession and are actually angry that the economy has hardly sputtered into a recovery, especially during an election year, people are looking for the kinds of leadership needed to sustain a real recovery. How did the economic collapse happen?
You can start with investment banks like Lehman Brothers. Richard Fuld is among the top 10 considered responsible for the economic collapse. Goldman Sachs bet that investments they created would fail systematically as a practical matter. It was massive fraud.
There was also incompetence in terms of the government response with Henry Paulsen having the knowledge and confidence to have kept the collapse from happening, but avoiding doing so. The decisions that Bernanke made to keep from going completely into the abyss helped the banks, but not necessarily helped the rest of the population, thus foreclosures, high unemployment, and high gas prices.
It could have been much worse, so Bernanke connected with things they did badly, helped to put the economy back on track insomuch as that if they had sat around and did nothing, we could be back to growing our own food. Combination incompetence is what happened so that the disaster was unavoidable. Things that they did well saved the banks, but did not save the rest of the population.
Systemic corruption of the United States by the financial institutions points to the fact that the banks had sunk to an all time unethical level. Routine practices like Goldman Sachs creating investment instruments worth 10’s of billions of dollars with the intention of having them fail. Did these practices happen overnight? Absolutely not. Deregulation of financial institutions happened during the Reagan administration and it kept going decades later until now, and President Obama has not changed the economic policy to make the United States the kind of place the founders dreamed about. Things happening like commercial paper freezing up to the point that big corporations like ATT could not borrow money.
All of the excessive and extravagant spending will continue to be the freedom for the rich, but the freedom for poor to become educated with a chance of a better economic future may not be as easy to acquire as it used to be.
We all hope that the students have a chance to keep busy before school starts again in the fall and that they will be able to earn some money at the same time so that the hope of the American Dream is not gone forever.
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