The Army Of Unemployed: How The Laid-Off Can Change The World

Published on by The Inquirer

Adlai Wertman

Adlai Wertman is a Professor and Founder of the Society and Business Lab at the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California

With 47 million Americans already living in poverty, the newly unemployed will only serve to increase those numbers. While Obama is certainly sympathetic to this group, the homeless need much more than sympathy. The stimulus package offers very little to those who started and remain in extreme poverty. Middle class tax cuts and public works projects will do little to help the long-term unemployed and those who may never find their way in the job market. The 13% increase in food stamp payouts will not keep families away from food pantries which have reported demand growing by as much as 100%. This week's announcement from Kimberly Clark and Procter & Gamble that diaper prices will rise by 7% certainly doesn't help.The axiom states that 'as the rich get richer, the poor get poorer.' But what happens when the rich get poorer? Those who were not working before the collapse have fallen deeper into poverty. Even opportunities in the underground economy are falling -- too many people are cutting their own lawns today. Compounding the problem, while the poor have always given a higher percentage of their income to charity, no income means no giving. According to the Association of Fundraising Professionals, 53% of charities received decreased donations in the fourth quarter of 2008 (the time of year when many charities receive as much as 60% of their annual income).

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Brad Rowe 03/09/2009 21:50

Check out our interview with Adlai Wertman at the home of MIPtalk - Conversations with the World's Most Interesting People: