What Do We Need? Jobs, Jobs and More Jobs

December 8, 2009
It is so serious out here, and there seems to be no hope of things getting better.

America is in great need, ladies and gentlemen. The nation has a 10% unemployment rate. Everyday hours are being cut and jobs are being lost in the hundreds even thousands. This causes people to make difficult choices such as choosing between feeding their children or paying a bill. Not paying bills results in lost of communication or a home which is even worst. People are being forced into poverty in greater numbers. What does poverty look like today? Well, it comes in many forms such as wondering if the next meal will come, if there will be a warm place to sleep at night, if one will be taken care of medically and so much more. Those at the bottom and those new to the bottom are becoming invisible to the rest of the nation.

Sure, the nation unemployment might not look that serious, but when you break it down, it is extremely serious. If you look at individual cities, it is bad. For example, in Brooklyn, the unemployment rate is said to be around 11%. Being unemployed causes people to turn to the only thing which can keep them alive which is public assistance. A couple of days ago, the New York Times broke down the job crisis even more with the raising number of people receiving food stamps. Food Stamps now help feed one in eight Americans and one in four children. Mostly all of the people in this program are near or below the poverty line.

When it came to look at individual counties, the Times stated that “In more than 750 counties, the program helps feed one in three blacks. In more than 800 counties, it helps feed one in three children.” These counties consist of states such as Louisiana, Missouri and Tennessee. Even huge cities are hit hard. The Times stated that almost half of the children in the Bronx receive this aid. Mark Rank, a professor at Washington University, did a study on how many people from St. Louis received food stamps. He found that half of the people have done so by the time they turned 20 and 90% of Black children have done so.

As you can see, times are really serious. Unemployment and poverty are real and is growing. But, I’m sure you are saying: “these people should just get a college degree.” Well, things haven’t been easy for college graduates either. I should know I’m one of them. I got my Bachelor of Arts degree in American Studies from Skidmore College. I’ve been trying to get a job at a not-for-profit organization dealing with children or people in poverty. I want this type of job because I know what it is like to be in poverty. I want to make a difference. While at Skidmore, I was set to take part in City Year in Washington, D.C., but lack of information has led me to not take part. Everyday, I’ve been applying to everything I find on idealist.org and other website since May. I’m not the only college graduate struggling out here. I have friends from Skidmore who are in the same boat.

People say to me things like “Danny, why don’t you just go for your graduate degree?” I am in the planning stages of applying to a Ph. D program in American Studies. But, I do think to myself: “would that even make a difference?” I recently found out that it probably wouldn’t. The Times did a piece on Black college graduates and how hard it is for them to get a job. One man with experience and a M.B.A can’t even get interviews. Graduate degrees seem to not make a difference at all. The type of degree this man got is one of the most popular and he can’t even get his foot in the door. That is insane. When it came to Black graduates entering the job force this year, the Times stated that:

Black joblessness has long far outstripped that of whites. And strikingly, the disparity for the first 10 months of this year, as the recession has dragged on, has been even more pronounced for those with college degrees, compared to those without. Education, it seems, does not level the playing field – in fact, it appears to have made it more uneven.

Get an education and get a good job, right? Well, not in today’s society. Reading that article makes things seem hopeless.

You might have switch gears and are now saying: “these people should just get some kind of Mickey Mouse job.” Well, the Times had an article this past Sunday that stated how it was harder to get a job at an Applebee’s in the Bronx than to get into Harvard. For every job opening, there are about six people applying for it. I have a college degree and can’t get a minimum wage job. So far, I only had a temporary job, which I will talk about very soon. Sure, there is help out there like Workforce One, job placement programs, job fairs, temp agencies and career centers, but how helpful are these things if everyone you know is applying for the same job you just applied to? Employers can just pick a name out of a hat. There is no winning.

So, what can be done? People would’ve thought that their hard earned money which went to companies would’ve helped them out in the end, but not at all. It seems that the bailout just filled the pockets of those fat cats on Wall Street. These companies bounced back with greater returns, but growth did not occur. You would think that helping out the banks would allow them to give more loans out to small businesses which would create more jobs, but that’s not the case. We are still in a hole, ladies and gentlemen, and it is getting deeper.

President Obama seems to be making this job issue his next mission. I heard on the news that he plans to use some of the bailout money. How does he propose to use the funds? Would it be something like this?

I know that this is pure fiction, but it is funny. You have to lighten the mood at some point. Funny stuff aside, the President needs to pressure these companies. We were there for them (even when some of us didn’t want to); now, they need be there for us. In the end, it would help them again because people would have money to spend. It is just common sense. I just hope the President comes to some solution to this grand problem for the sake of everyone. It is so serious out here, and there seems to be no hope of things getting better.



  1. […] State of Mind Challenging Minds « What Do We Need? Jobs, Jobs and More Jobs The Train has Left the Station December 22, 2009 It has left, […]

  2. […] job.” Wait a minute, sir. Truthfully, a bachelor’s degree no longer guarantees a good job. I know this first hand. I don’t think revitalizing community colleges will help. Maybe revitalizing graduate schools […]

  3. […] I didn’t have a job since graduating in May of that year. I talked about this later on in December of that year on this blog. I was also inspired by the song above to write this letter. The last line in my letter comes from […]

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