Here is a 4-part story in the NY Times that seems to encapsulate the last fifteen to twenty years, say starting with welfare “reform” that began around 1995 and continuing through the passage of NAFTA.  All of these events were the product of a Republican controlled Congress and a Dem controlled White House.

The lies that had been told for at least the thirty years preceding the 1995 welfare reform, but especially emphasized by St. Ronnie of Hate with his welfare queens arriving in a Cadillac to pick up their welfare checks seemed to resonate with a public that didn’t understand that they might be only a few paychecks away from being homeless.

Some labor experts say the basic functioning of the American economy has changed in ways that make jobs scarce — particularly for older, less-educated people like Ms. Eisen, who has only a high school diploma.

Large companies are increasingly owned by institutional investors who crave swift profits, a feat often achieved by cutting payroll. The declining influence of unions has made it easier for employers to shift work to part-time and temporary employees. Factory work and even white-collar jobs have moved in recent years to low-cost countries in Asia and Latin America. Automation has helped manufacturing cut 5.6 million jobs since 2000 — the sort of jobs that once provided lower-skilled workers with middle-class paychecks.

Here we sit in 2010, with massive unemployment, and certainly not because of laziness, with the yoke of 1995 laws preventing people from maintaining any sort of dignity as they slide further and further down the economic ladder.

Folks, when this happens to you and you are in your fifties, eventually it dawns on you that there is not going to be a recovery, for you personally.

This is not anyone person’s fault, nor any one parties fault.  Similar to the problems we have with the public education system, everybody, every stakeholder bears some responsibility for the state of affairs.  But like an eight-sided building, every group (side) points to other groups as the problem-causer and to themselves as having the only true solution.

I’d like to suggest that we bring a large dose of humanity and caring in our public discourse.  But no matter what I suggest, at least half of the sides in that mythical eight-sided building will refuse to consider any solution, other than their own.

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