Nearly 20 percent of American workers unemployed – facing what looked like an endless future without full-time work, losing homes and struggling against downward mobility.
Many Americans marching in the streets – and even resorting to violence.
That was 1932.
Historian Arthur Schlesinger’s 1957 book “The Crisis of the Old Order, 1919-1933” described the times: “Farmers stopped milk trucks along Iowa roads and poured the milk into the ditch. Mobs halted mortgage sales, ran the men from the banks and insurance companies out of town, intimidated courts and judges, demanded a moratorium on debts.”
Now we come to 2011. In August, 14 million American workers were officially unemployed – a rate of 9.1 percent. But add in the unemployed who have given up looking for work and people who want a full-time job but are working part-time and you get more than 25 million people – a rate of 16.2 percent.
More than 6 million American workers have been out of work more than six months; 4.5 million have been out of work a year or more.
This should be a reality check on the gravity of the situation this country faces.
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