To be young, gifted, black and unemployed

Vent Casey III, The Grio | August 7, 2011

Are the long-term unemployed locked out of the workforce? It seems that way.

As the debt ceiling and budget battle between Republicans in Congress and President Obama recedes, Democrats are attempting a tactical pivot to the jobs issue.

Many of us believe jobs should have been the principal legislative priority in the previous Congress, when Democrats held majority control of both houses, but instead focused on major initiatives like health care reform and bailing out American automakers.

The economy and jobs were the two most significant issues leading into last year’s midterm elections. As a result, Republicans gained control of the House, along with a record 680 state legislative seats — assuming control of 26 state legislatures. However, eight months after those legislators have taken their seats, the economy and job creation remains stagnant.

This does not bode well for the prospects of much of the jobless; people like me who have been out of the workforce for more than two years.

After watching Congress skirmish over every other policy point for the last two years, the fact that they are only now beginning to pivot to addressing jobs does not give me confidence that they will construct a solution, especially for the long-term unemployed.

We know the statistics by now: 14 million Americans are currently out of work; 6 million of those have been out of work for longer than six months, and 4.4 million for longer than a year.  (Read more)