The big news today was that the National Bureau of Economic Research said that the recession ended in June of last year. Could have fooled me! Ok I know this is the ignorant response to the headline. A recession has a particular definition and by that definition the NBER made its assessment. But when definitions don’t serve reality, what good are they? To be honest, when you look at the facts “on the ground”, why even bother to report a finding like that? It is meaningless. It does nothing so ease the pain of those facing harsh economic realities right now. On the contrary, it just increases the rage of those who feel Washington and the economists upon whom they rely are totally out of touch.
As long as economists make pronouncements like the one made today, I tend to have a Tea Party reaction to them: throw the bums out!
My New Hero (For Now)
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On The Rutherford Lawson Show each week we name a Twerp of the Week. On the September 12 edition, I chose Donald Trump for his ham-fisted interference in the “Ground Zero Mosque” fiasco. However, last Thursday night The Donald redeemed himself somewhat in my eyes.
For the past few season’s of Donald’s “reality show” The Apprentice, he has been using celebrities competing for charity. This season he has returned to his original premise and is using real people vying for a temporary position within Trump’s company. On the season premiere, we learned the twist for this latest edition: all of the contestants have been effected in one way or another by the recent economic downturn. One person in particular, David, has a particularly devastating story to tell in that losing his job also lost him his wife (I’m assuming separation not divorce). He has five kids to support. He was flying high until he got laid off. As we watch David dial into the automated unemployment program to qualify for his benefits the voice over details his humiliation and desperation. My regular readers know that I have been surviving through my own layoff triggered financial struggles. This season premiere of “The Apprentice” hit me right in the gut.
Trump gets points from me not only for presenting the reality of what this economic downturn is doing to people’s lives … to people’s self-esteem but also for offering them help. Each and every one of them. If the entire season follows the pattern of the premiere, each winning Project Manager will get a one-on-one with the CEO of a major company. Each contestant eliminated will also get set up for a job interview with someone of Trump’s choosing. And of course, the winner of the entire competition will get to work for Trump for at least a short period of time. Is Trump a publicity whore? Absolutely. But here Trump uses his influence to give folks a hand-up, not a handout.
Trump is proving my biggest theory about our current downturn. Private industry needs to stop hiding behind their “uncertainty” about the future, blamed on Obama of course, and start doing the right thing and hiring when they need to hire. We all agree that public sector jobs alone will not get America working again. We need more Trumps to step up and get these millions of talented folks off the street and back on their feet.