There has been further confirmation that the United States economy is in deep trouble.

Despite the billions of taxpayer dollars injected into a gravely sick economy, the unemployment rate soared to a 26 year old high in June.

The US Department of Labour said 467,000 jobs were lost in June. That means that officially, 14.7 million Americans are without jobs.

However even this grim figure does not accurately reflect the depth of the crisis.

When the underemployed (people who cannot get sufficient working hours) and those who want jobs but have given up looking are counted the American unemployment rate stands at a massive 16.8 percent or 25 million people. And even this figure excludes first time job seekers who have never been able to find work.

It is also significant that the economic crisis has wiped out the jobs that emerged during the so-called 'prosperous' years. The US economy now has fewer jobs than it did in 2000 - yet an additional 12.5 million people have entered the workforce.

'This is the only recession since the Great Depression to wipe out all jobs growth from the previous business cycle,” said economist Heidi Shierholz. 'This is a devastating benchmark for the workers of this country and a testament to both the enormity of the current crisis and to the extreme weakness of job growth from 2000-2007.”

June was the eighteenth straight month of job losses, with 6.5 million jobs lost since the start of the economic meltdown in December 2007.

But it is likely to get worse for ordinary Americans.

Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke wants the Obama administration to implement a austerity programme which would see severe cuts in social spending, including health and welfare.

'Maintaining the confidence of the financial markets,' Bernanke said in prepared remarks to a Congress Budget committee recently, “requires that we, as a nation, begin planning now for the restoration of fiscal balance.”

The phrase 'confidence of the financial markets' is code for protecting the interests of Wall Street and major international banks and investors - the very same organisations that were responsible for the economic meltdown in the first place.

Bernanke is the same man who opposes opposes caps on executive pay in companies receiving bailouts from the federal government.

Unfortunately for working people, Bernake's thinking is entirely in keeping with Barack Obama's economic strategy. Obama has pledged to slash the budget deficit by half by the end of his term, placing a reduction in health care costs and entitlement 'reform' at the centre of his fiscal policy.


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