Walt Whitman famously observed to a friend in 1863 that “the real war will never get in the books.” Whitman knew what he was talking about, so the proposition can’t be discounted. But in the case of the Civil War, if the real war hasn’t gotten into the books, it’s not for lack of trying. Louis Masur even made a good book out of Whitman’s challenge.
I have Whitman’s feeling about “the real unemployment.” It will never get in the books, let alone the mainstream media. We know the relevant numbers, but the scope of the suffering created by large-scale long-term unemployment has somehow failed to register. The real unemployment will never get in the books, so to speak, at least so long as a Democrat is president and an election is looming.
To the extent that it has given up blaming the miserable condition of the economy on President Bush, the Obama administration would like us to accept the status quo as the new normal. Jimmy Carter never had it so good.
Ten-year-old Charlotte Bell created a memorable moment depicting one aspect of the real unemployment when she met up with Michelle Obama at a White House event on the occasion of Take Our Sons and Daughters to Work Day this past Thursday. Mrs. Obama hosted the event for the children of Executive Office employees and the White House opened it up to the press.
At the White House the young Ms. Bell may have put Take Our Sons and Daughters to Work Day to its highest and best use. She took the opportunity to give her father’s resume to Mrs. Obama. “My dad’s been out of a job for three years and I wanted to give you his resume,” said Ms. Bell. The AP covered the story (briefly!) here; the Bloomberg News video report is below.
The D.C. area has prospered with the booming growth of government in the Age of Obama. The growth of the government has something to with the challenges experienced by the private sector over the past five years. Ms. Bell’s father may not be perfectly representative of the real unemployment. Indeed, there may well be more to the story. The AP reports that he has been looking for a policy job for more than two years and recently has been trying to get a job with the Obama administration. The AP dryly concludes: “He worked on the Obama campaign in 2012.”
UPDATE: At NRO, Tim Cavanaugh has been digging up the rest of the story.