The New York Times' Nick Kristof went back home to Yamhill, Oregon for a couple of weeks this summer. He then wrote a column, Did We Drop the Ball on Unemployment?, that underscores how utterly clueless columnists for the New York Times can be about events outside of the obsessions of what Rasmussen calls the political class.
When Americans are polled about the issue they care most about, the answer by a two-to-one margin is jobs. The Boston Globe found that during President Obama's Twitter "town hall" last month, the issue that the public most wanted to ask about was, by far, jobs. Yet during the previous two weeks of White House news briefings, reporters were far more likely to ask about political warfare with Republicans.
(I'm an offender, too: I asked President Obama a question at the Twitter town hall, and it was a gotcha query about his negotiations with Republicans. I'm sorry that I missed the chance to push him on the issue that Americans care most about.)
A study by National Journal in May found something similar: newspaper articles about "unemployment" apparently fell over the last two years, while references to the "deficit" soared.
I wonder if Kristrof understands how tone deaf his breezy On the Ground blog, in which he asks readers to comment on his Sunday column, must sound to the desperate blue collar job hunters he calls friends back in his home town.
As my Sunday column appears, I'll be in transit to Libya, insha'allah. But this column grew out of my family vacation this summer back in Yamhill, Oregon, where I grew up. Like everyone in journalism, I had been focused on the debt ceiling debates, but what I saw in Yamhill was a different economic scourge: unemployment. It really puzzles me that 25 million Americans could be unemployed or under-employed, and yet the issue has never really gotten much traction....
.... So please read the column and post your thoughts below. I'd especially welcome comments from those who have lost their jobs or have friends and relatives looking for work.
(UPDATE: my flights were cancelled because of the hurricane, so I'm not in transit to Libya after all. I'm sitting here grumpily waiting for my basement to flood. My wife, who notes that whenever I fly off to save the world, the basement does flood in my absence, isn't complaining.)
Nick, there is a quick fix for America's joblessness problem. It's called ending presidential demagoguery over wealth producers and reversing the Obama administration's policies of over regulation and it will begin in January, 2013 when Obama leaves office. As for your patronizing cluelessness, alas, I fear that is truly hopeless.