The real unemployment

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.

How bad is “the real unemployment”? IBD’s John Merline takes a stab at putting today’s weak jobs report in a striking context. Merline observes: “More workers joined the federal government’s disability program in June than got new jobs, according to two new government reports, a clear indicator of how bleak the nation’s jobs picture is after three full years of economic recovery.”

Merline takes a dim view of the picture that emerges from the comparison of job creation with disability claims. Looking on the bright side, however, it goes to show that Obama is more than just the food stamp president.

JOHN adds: I couldn’t agree more with Scott’s point. I would only add that in my opinion, in order to fully appreciate the depth of today’s economic disaster, you have to have children who are getting out of school and entering the labor market. The lack of economic growth which has persisted now for more than four years has stunted opportunities for an entire generation of young Americans. It has had a similar effect on minorities, recent immigrants and others who are trying to get a foot on the ladder and start their upward climb. It’s typical Obama: his policies have been bad for the prosperous and middle-aged, but horrible for the young, for minorities and for the less privileged.

UPDATE: Via Instapundit, more here (Ed Carson), here (James Pethokoukis), here (Daniel Mitchell), and here (Phil Izzo).

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