POLITICAL PERFECT STORM
MAY HAVE ALREADY HIT THE ELECTIONS
By: John David Powell
As Big Sandy sets her eyes on New Jersey to deliver Mother Natures October
Surprise to the nations east coast, a political perfect storm may have already hit
the nation. Unlike Hurricane Sandy whose every move is tracked and then predicted by a
host of computer models, this political perfect storm seems to have formed under the radar
of daily tracking polls.
The week before the presidential election sees the economy topping the list of voter
concerns, with jobs, or the lack of them, sitting right in the center, just like a spider.
U.S. labor secretary Hilda Solis (www.dol.gov/_sec/welcome.htm#.UImEtmfh-So)
did a waltz across Texas last week to push the importance of job training and placement
programs offered by various organizations receiving federal funding. In Houstons
case it was the Goodwill Industries (http://goodwillhouston.org/jobconnection.htm)
programs to help veterans and their families.
Her tour came as the Labor Department released numbers showing the nations
first-time unemployment claims (http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm)
fell by 23,000 the previous week, the second drop in the last month.
The nations unemployment rate also is down. At 7.8 percent, it is at the lowest
level in at least eight months. That translates to 12.1 million unemployed Americans of
voting age. Having been part of that group, let me say spouses, domestic partners, or
dependents are the uncounted collateral damage. These people share in the economic or
psychological suffering, or both.
Thats 24 million Americans of voting age who look at their lives and see they are
not better off than they were yesterday, last month, or last year. To that group add
another 2.5 million Americans of voting age the Labor Department classifies as
marginally attached to the labor force, a number the government says is
unchanged from last year.
Who are these marginally attached individuals? They are American workers of
voting age no longer in the labor force, good people who want to work and are available
for work. These people looked for a job sometime in the previous 12 months, but
Uncle Sam does not count them because they gave up the search in the four weeks before the
Again, doubling the number of the marginally attached adds another 5
million hurting and discouraged Americans of voting age who may go to their polling places
and cast their votes, not with their heads or their hearts, but with their anger and their
frustration. That could be as many as 30 million angry, frustrated, unemployed,
under-employed, and marginally attached Americans of voting age. Keep in mind that around
132 million people turned out four years ago with more than half voting for hope and