One of the greatest underlying causes of
economic distress in our nation is going virtually unreported,
at least by name.
As millions of workers are forced out of
higher-paying, often union jobs into lower-paying, typically
non-union jobs; as the productivity and buying power of the
economic grass-roots of our country thus weaken; as individual
and business consumption, investment, and savings thus fall or
grow at no more than a lackluster rate and indebtedness rises;
as the tax base thus shrinks, abetted by windfall tax breaks for
the well-off, and social programs are strained to the breaking
point, as the middle class is torn in two; and as our
government, vexed by such aggravations, sinks deeper and deeper
into trillions of dollars of increasingly foreign-held debt, it
becomes evident that the unspoken name of one of our worst
economic enemies is underemployment.
The world is not all black and white: Although
the reported rate of unemployment (complete underemployment
for an individual) has dropped, the full human potential of our
citizenry has not been increasingly tapped. Whether one is a
homeless wretch, an "unskilled" laborer, a highly trained and/or
educated professional, or one of that rare breed of "renaissance"
men and women, underemployment can bedevil us all, as our nation
-- no matter how militarily muscle-bound -- becomes more and
more an economic wimp, increasingly outcompeted by and indebted
to foreign powers making better use of their human resources.
A person is a terrible thing to waste.