Most of these people aren’t regular readers of our little business-media-criticism blog at CJR. They’re jobless, depressed or frustrated, and Googling for any scrap of news that might give them hope or, if not that, at least some certainty about the future: “Am I going to be out on the street because of politics while bailed-out bankers pay themselves near-record bonuses and millionaires get $100,000 a year tax cuts? Are you kidding me?”

Again, one in ten Americans is unemployed. The rate has been higher longer than any time since the Great Depression. One in six is jobless or wants full-time work and can’t find it. There are five unemployed people for every one job opening. But nobody’s doing anything about it—corporations are sitting on their trillions, stimulus money is running out, and politicians are talking about slashing spending and raising taxes to cut the deficit.

And if you think the economy’s going to pick up a head of steam anytime soon, my guess is you haven’t been out there looking for work.


Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at rc2538@columbia.edu.