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View From Lodi, CA Pittsburgh, PA: On Labor Day Weekend, Grim News Blankets America
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September 04, 2009, 05:00 AM
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In California, the unemployment rate is 12.1 percent. Only four states have higher unemployment: Michigan, Rhode Island, Oregon and South Carolina.

California`s unemployment picture is unique, however, because it has hit men disproportionately.

Out of every four jobs lost nationwide since the recession began in December 2007, three were held by men.

Some experts have dubbed the phenomenon a "mancession."

The adverse affect on family income is easy to understand. Men traditionally work in the high-paying manufacturing and construction fields, the two most devastated California industries.

Women on the other hand are employed in lower paying service, health care or education jobs.

The good news is that women have managed to keep their jobs. The bad news is that when men are laid off, their larger incomes (women earn just 78 percent of what a man is paid in a similar occupation) and benefits including costly medical insurance are lost, too. [California Unemployment Rises to Record 11.5% in May, by Marc Lifsher and Alana Semuels, Los Angeles Times, June 20, 2009] 

Nationally, the employment picture is equally bleak. During his campaign, President Barack Obama promised the American public that the hundreds of billions of dollars pumped into the economy would prevent layoffs and revive America.

Obama sold his economic stimulus package by predicting: "Our plan will likely save or create 3 to 4 million jobs…. Ninety percent of these jobs will be created in the private sector." (Listen to Obama`s speech here.)

To say that Obama broke his promise is an understatement. Since making his campaign pledge, Obama`s administration has seen unemployment skyrocket to a national level of 9.4 percent according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Broken down over the last six months, job losses are as follows: February: 651,000; March, 663,000; April, 539,000; May, 303,000; June, 443,000; July, 247,000

As unsettling as these figures are, a complete picture of unemployed America evolves when the underemployed are factored into the equation.

A Lou Dobbs/CNN special titled "Jobs Now" concluded that nearly 30 million Americans are either unemployed or underemployed. (Watch here)

The official unemployed population is 14.5 million. But when economists add 8.8 million part time workers who want but cannot find full time jobs and 6.2 million who have been unemployed so long that they are no longer included labor statistics surveys, then the total unemployed reaches 30 million.

With any serious uptick in jobs unlikely and with the economy still staggering, analysts wonder if in 2010 mid-term elections the Democrats will pay the political price for their failures.

Republicans like to compare the political climate in 1994 during Bill Clinton`s first term when the Republicans regained Congress and Obama, 2010.

Two major factors are in play today for Obama that were not involved back in 1994. Neither bode well for Obama (or the Democrats) over the short or long term.

Leading up to the 2010 mid-term elections, the current uproar over unemployment, the mortgage crisis, the deficit and most importantly health care dwarf anything that occurred in 1994.

Under Clinton, the country had already pulled out of a recession but nevertheless the Democrats suffered catastrophic defeats by losing 54 representatives in the House and eight in the Senate.

If the Congressional mid-terms went badly for the Democrats in 1994 under much better economic circumstances, even larger 2010 defeats may loom.

As for Obama and 2012, while that date is a long way off, dark clouds are gathering.

Although Clinton had no trouble getting reelected in 1996, he is a much smarter and smoother politician than Obama. The liberal Clinton, an Oxford scholar, understands economics. 

Obama on the other hand knows nothing about economics and is on the extreme left wing of his party as opposed to the majority of Americans who are moderates.

While it`s uncertain whether the Republicans will capture either the House or the Senate next year, they will made significant gains. By so doing, the GOP will lay a foundation for 2012 to take both Congress and the White House.

Joe Guzzardi [email him] is a California native who recently fled the state because of over-immigration, over-population and a rapidly deteriorating quality of life. He has moved to Pittsburgh, PA where the air is clean and the growth rate stable. A long-time instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School, Guzzardi has been writing a weekly column since 1988. It currently appears in the Lodi News-Sentinel.