The War on Ignorance – Jobs, Cigarettes, and the Economy

We are at war. But, it isn’t with a foreign nation or terrorist group. This war is different. We are at war with the truth. As a country we like to be hopeful, believe that everything is on track, and things are being taken care of. We are usually a nation of optimists. There are numerous economic and job reports that remind us that everything is OK. We’ve all heard “the economy” created X jobs last month, the GDP is up, and the DOW gained X. The recession is over and everything is rosy. Hear enough of that and it almosts rings true, until you see yet another store closure or layoff. If you are fortunate enough to be unaffected by the recent global economic crisis, these reports and observations probably go largely unnoticed by you. You dutifully report for work and periodically see that your 401k has climbed. In fact, you’re probably not even reading this.

But, if you are less fortunate and not employed at the level you’d like to be, or at all, it’s easier to see the truth beyond what is being reported. Most are no longer being counted as unemployed since they’ve long exhausted any benefits. They continue to erode their safety nets if they had any at all. And the underemployed, well, they were largely ignored from the the start. They also might struggle between several part time low wage gigs in hopes of securing something more meaningful and lucrative in the future.

The joke is the difference between a recession and a depression is when your neighbor loses their job, that is a recession. But, when you lose your job, that is a depression.

It really is true the Recession is OVER, in spite of what your personal economy tells you. Recession only has to do with GDP. Two quarters of declining GDP defines a recession. Persistent unemployment and underemployment or sputtering small business is another problem. Calling it a recession makes as much sense as calling it cigarettes or diphtheria. The trouble really is that while yes we are technically out of a recession we have continuing and growing economic doldrums for the middle class and poor.

We need to name this “bitch” of an economy and declare war on it. It’s not a recession, but it is a REAL thing. Our collective war should shine a light on the truth and aim to restore human dignity and the American dream. It’s a war on rhetoric and ignorance. And when corporations and politicians and “fill in blank” get in the way they should be declared enemies of the people and of the state. We should judge the merits of decisions and actions by asking, “Is that helping people and communities, or is it hurting?” Similarly, when somebody has to the courage to champion the middle class we should call that out to. Bernie Sanders, senator from Vermont is one such man and so I call him out as a middle class hero. See his videos on his YouTube channel. If you have another middle class hero, please get in touch.

If you haven’t yet reported your own employment status, please do so here. Let’s keep visible the conversation that will get more Americans Working, for an America that Works. Without a large and prosperous middle class, our republic that we’ve taken for granted since its formation in 1789, is seriously at continued risk.  Please spread the word and help others tune in to this conversation. To get their attention, you can start by telling them, “We need to talk.. about cigarettes and diphtheria.”


Gregory Olson

Gregory Olson is the Author of The Experience Design BLUEPRINT: Recipes for Creating Happier Customers and Healthier Organizations. Find the book or author page on Amazon. Reach Gregory on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. See a complete profile on About Me.

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