I’ve been noodling around like mad since last Friday, when the US Bureau of Labor Statistics posted the news that only a trifling number of new jobs — 18,000 to be precise — had been created for the month of June, 2011. After the first sign of substantial gains the month before (over 200,000 new jobs created in May) this comes as a shock, a warning that the economy remains far from vigorous, and to those dreading the August 2 deadline for raising the US Federal Debt Ceiling, a dire portent of things that very well could lie ahead in the next month or two.
Post-release of this information, most analysis has zeroed in on the fact that SMBs (companies with less than 500 or 1,000 employees, depending on who’s measuring) are still sitting on the sidelines, too afraid of the current situation and possible downsides to even think about hiring anybody right now. And if you understand the notion of an economic pyramid (which translates its shape: “Big at the bottom, pointy and narrow on top” into the recognition that there are a lot more bricks or stones at the bottom than at the top) and recognize that SMBs form its base, you’ll also understand that without SMBs becoming more sanguine about hiring staff, the unemployment situation in the USA is going exactly nowhere fast.
My friends, we are sitting at the cusp of a huge divide that will govern the future of this country and the global economy for the next decade and beyond. Unless the Congress can get its stuff together and make the compromises necessary to raise the US Federal Debt Ceiling, we are headed for a world of hurt. I must now believe that this means major market falls, a return to double-digit unemployment rates, and a double-dip recession with overtones of economic depression. At my most alarmist, I can see this as on par with or perhaps even worse than the Great Depression of 1929 and the subsequent decade of misery that followed.
Everybody needs to send an email to all of his or her congresspeople and both senators for their state that says: “We don’t care what you have to do to raise the debt ceiling, do it. Don’t let your partisan principles ruin the future prospects for economic recovery, and kill the American Dream for ourselves and our children. Fix it, now!” I just sent a message to this effect to my Senators, John Cornyn and Kaye Bailey Hutchison, and to my Congressman, John Carter. I urge everyone who reads this blog to do the same. It’s time to stand up and be counted. We must resolve this issue, or we will all suffer dreadfully. Party affiliations and partisan principles no longer matter: it’s time to stop the bleeding, or the patient will die!!!