Monday, January 24, 2011

Joblessness and homelessness

With the national count of the homeless this week and with local unemployment rates ranging from 15 percent to 19 percent, it's time again to look at why.

Here's a story that encapsulates what I've bemoaned before: The income disparity in America is approaching Third World status.

Whatever President Obama says in his State of the Union address, he won't touch this issue because he extended the Bush tax cuts that ensure the further decline of the middle class.

Yes, the stock market is bouncing back, corporate profits are zooming ahead and bonuses at Goldman Sachs are averaging $435,000 per employee.

Cold comfort, though, when the jobless rate is 10 percent nationally or when banks are foreclosing on homes like whack-a-moles.

Meanwhile the homeless numbers are expected to rise this year as much as the NYSE has.

Last year, the tri-county area of Central Oregon, which is considered rural, reported 2,402 individuals as homeless. That number should rise to more than 2,600 this year.

Nationally, estimates of the homeless range from about 700,000 to 3 million people, mostly in urban areas.

So, we have more empty houses than ever and more homelessness than ever.

That is the state of the union.

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