Since When Is \xe2\x80\x98Do Nothing' a Viable Option?

Oct 13, 2011

By Jenice R. Robinson

Americans are ill at ease with the nation's current economic climate as is made evident by recent polling revealing three-quarters of people believe the economy is getting worse and the nation is heading in the wrong direction.

Policymakers have widely conceded that the lack of jobs and economic anxiety are major crises facing the nation, but they continue to dally when it comes to passing legislation that will help put people back to work. Just Tuesday, the Senate failed to secure the necessary 60 votes to move past debate on the American Jobs Act. Even before the bill hit the floor, many lawmakers publicly expressed their lack of support for the bill. Others continue to flat out say that there is a slim to zero chance of action on a jobs bill.

There is a strong disconnect between the state of the nation's families and actions on Capitol Hill. The reality in which ordinary people live is one where median incomes are falling, economic inequality is growing, poverty has increased to 15.1 percent, its highest level since 1993, and where an astounding one in three people live in low-income households. It's a reality in which about 14 million people are unemployed (9.1 percent), and nearly 8 million more are under employed. It's one in which more people (one in seven) have to rely on SNAP benefits (food stamps) to put food on table and even more are eligible but not receiving benefits.

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