Paul A. Ibbetson
America's job status: unemployed
By Paul A. Ibbetson
September 9, 2011

Need a job? How about a job that pays the bills? These questions no longer apply to isolated parts of the country that have faced natural disasters or workers displaced by ENRON-type white collar criminal activity. In America, finding substantive work and keeping it has now become a national question of importance to everyone. For a growing number of people, the answer from the business world to the question of employment has been, "We are not hiring at this time."

As reported by Chris Stirewalt on Fox News, the argument for saying America is not in a recession because we have stopped having three sequential quarters of negative growth becomes moot when every quarter's growth is so small that it cannot improve the economy. The truth is that America's economy, and its subsequent lack of job growth, is like a heavy anchor dragging the bottom of the deepest ocean. Now imagine the American worker strapped to that anchor, and the mental image is complete.

As Shaila Dewan writes in The New York Times, we see that the most recent reports show the unemployment rate at 9.1 percent. These numbers are scary enough, but they fail to show just how bad unemployment really is. Given America's current economic dilemma, the percentages of the unemployed whom people read about in newspapers and hear discussed on the television should be more accurately described as "nice scenario" numbers, because "true unemployment" numbers are much, much higher. In reality, unemployment figures for Americans are at least double of those reported: more and more people continue to run out of Obama's extended unemployment benefits and no longer qualify to stay on the rolls; others are tired of looking for jobs that don't exist and simply abandon the job hunt and go home to stare at their sofa cushions. People who have fallen off the official count of the unemployed are not the only means by which the current employment numbers in America are being obscured; there are also the Obama "fantasy employment numbers."

The Obama "fantasy employment numbers" are undoubtedly a fiction originally created to combat the administration's inability to make good on the president's pledge to the American people to stop unemployment numbers from reaching 8 percent if given a historic "good faith" loan of $787 billion. After the president's social programing and "shovel ready" New Deal approach failed, the administration started counting unemployment from a new perspective; that is, new jobs would be counted from people who still had jobs. If this sounds a little weird, that's because it is.

As if pulling a clip from an episode of the Twilight Zone, the Obama administration said America's new reality on unemployment would now be evaluated from the perspective of people who didn't lose their jobs due to the president's actions. As reported by William McGurn in The Wall Street Journal as early as 2009, this method of gauging how Obama's economic stimulus plan is affecting American jobs was full of phony bologna number crunching. There is no way to quantify jobs saved by the stimulus package; this is a projection of pure fantasy born of desperation. At least in a real Twilight Zone episode, Rod Serling would have taken viewers to the side and told them they were now leaving the real world. Barack Obama needs to be dragged back to our reality, because Americans are just too broke to be able to play along anymore.

The truth is that Obama's philosophy and the capitalistic/free market system, the system upon which America was founded, cannot co-exist without American workers suffering. Employers of businesses that are still economically viable in today's economy will not expand their companies nor, hire new employees, so long as the Federal government impinges on the free market and creates future economic uncertainty. The administration's failed economic policies have protracted an employment downturn beyond what political spin and fantasy statistics can legitimize. Our country's painful reality is that the more common job status question for the average America is not, "What do you do for living?", but "Do you do anything at all?"

© Paul A. Ibbetson


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Paul A. Ibbetson

Dr. Paul A. Ibbetson is a former Chief of Police of Cherryvale, Kansas, and member of the Montgomery County Drug Task Force. Paul received his Bachelor's and Master's degree in Criminal Justice at Wichita State University, and his PhD. in sociology at Kansas State University. Paul is the author of several books and is also the radio host of the Kansas Broadcasting Association's 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 award winning, Conscience of Kansas airing across the state. Visit his website at For interviews or questions, please contact


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