Thursday, September 13, 2012
The (In)human Side of Obama’s Economy:
By Rafael Elias
I had never seen so many homeless people and panhandlers in New York City as I have seen over the last few years; so many young and old, men and women, Black and White, with cardboard signs reading “hungry” or “penniless”.
I can only imagine the pain and the tears of that mother that does not know where the money for food is going to come from; or to pay for her child’s school supplies, or the next electricity bill. How heartbreaking to think that her children will have no new clothes for the fall and maybe even the winter, the spring, or next summer. How wrenching to know that her time is consumed in trying to find a way out of her desperate situation where ends never meet and there is little if anything left to pawn or to sell.
It pains me to think of the fifty-something that lost her job and sees her prospects dim with every passing day and week as months continue to accumulate making her chances of getting employed smaller and smaller. I can see her spending many sleepless nights worrying about things such as buying gas for her car so that she can drive to one of those ever so scarce interviews.
The immensity of the figures sometimes makes us lose perspective of the human side of the current economic strategy.
We hear about the 23 million struggling for work, the 46 million living in poverty, and the 47 million on food stamps and almost without noticing, the numbers make us lose sight that behind each one of them there is a person, a fellow American, a friend, a relative, a neighbor.
We fail to stop and think about the magnitude of the problem and to frame it in a way that can make us more sensitive to its consequences. Poor people that would fill New York City six times over, twelve times the whole population of Los Angeles on food stamps, or six million poor children, equivalent to 15 Miamis.
We forget that some 8 million people have given up and are not even looking for work anymore. That is as if the whole state of Virginia had given up on America.
We fail to read between the lines and to understand that when Obama speaks about “from the middle out” he is hiding the fact that almost 2 out of 3 “new” jobs have been “created” at the low-paying end of the economy effectively and inexorably shrinking the middle class.
In the sea of numbers, figures and speeches, sometimes we don’t realize that median household income has dropped by more than $4,000 since Obama took office. That is equivalent to giving away a month’s salary, a month’s worth of hard work, just so that this president comes back and asks us for four more years of this.
These are the results of failed policies and $5 trillion (that is five million millions) wasted in ventures like Solyndra (those $500-plus billion lost in the failed venture could have supported ten million people making median income for a year!)
Indeed, the magnitude of the economic tragedy sometimes makes us lose sight of the impact it has on our families, our friends, our neighbors and our country.
But that unemployed mother weeping in desperation over her bills, that idle man laying awake not knowing when or if he will ever find another job, that homeless kid who should be in school or at work and not walking the streets, and all those middle class families that see their income get smaller and smaller, …
… They don’t lose sight of the tragedy.
Let us all remember this every day and think who is really focused on solving this enormous calamity. This time around it is not just about politics. It is our moral obligation to give our fellow Americans who are out of luck a chance.
The solution will not come from a snappy speech or a distracting ad about other topics. The solution will come from the resolute intentions of an experienced, knowledgeable leader who is laser-focused on tackling the challenge head on and is concerned about making our lives better instead of promising to do something about rising oceans.
Remember the human side of the current heartbreaking situation that Obama has only made worse over his tenure.
Remember that behind every figure and every number there is a human soul, a suffering mother, an aching father, a desperate youngster, a middle-aged man losing all hope and a senior in trouble; a neighbor, an acquaintance, a friend, a family member.
Remember that we need more than just a promise and a speech.
Remember this on November 6th.
Vote not only for your sake, but also for them who have been promised so much and delivered so little. Vote not only for you and what you like to hear, but for those with the silent tears. Forget about the lies and the spin, the distractions and the talks and do what is right.
Give Mitt Romney the chance to govern the way that Obama couldn’t.
A man, a woman, a child, a family, will do better and will be glad and grateful that you did.
See more of Rafael Elias in Political Analysis & Economic Studies (PAnEcS) here..............................