By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter
The unemployment rate in Alabama is growing.
That’s right. Growing.
There continue to be more people looking for jobs than jobs being created. We have moved from a low of 6.1 percent unemployment a year ago to 6.3 last month.
At this rate, poor ol’ Gov. Robert Bentley is never going to get that salary he promised he wouldn’t take. And at this point, the guy could use it.
But he’s never going to get there, because, to be quite honest, we don’t deserve to be at full employment. We don’t deserve to be at the same level as the rest of the nation – 4.7 percent – or to have the opportunities that other states have.
Because we haven’t earned them.
We like to talk tough when it comes to people earning their keep, deserving their wealth and income. So, allow me to provide some tough talk.
Until the majority of the people of this State – the average, common workers and poor, impoverished workers – figure out that we’re all getting the shaft from the race-based, elite-aiding policies pushed by our lawmakers, we deserve exactly the job market and poor quality of life that such idiocy produces.
It’s time for a change that only we can bring.
Stop concerning yourself with whether an idea is “liberal” or “conservative.” Stop worrying if it was put forth by a Republican or a Democrat. Or if it’s a policy to aid *whisper* “the blacks.”
Instead, ask this simple question: is it a policy that helps me and people like me.
Seriously, we could turn this state around if the majority would simply vote for things that help themselves.
Vote to better fund schools where your kids attend.
Vote to offer more health care options that people at your income level can actually afford.
Vote to monitor and lower public utility rates.
Vote for unions that protect the average workers and ensure major corporations properly share profits with the employees who make those profits possible.
Vote to protect the waterways that produce the water you drink and food you eat.
Vote for a lottery and gambling that pays the college tuition for students who need it most.
Vote for jobs programs that train employees for the jobs that are actually available.
Vote for more sentencing reform that ensures the rights and opportunities of citizens aren’t forever erased by an early-life mistake.
I honestly don’t understand how any of that could be considered controversial for the average Alabamian.
I also don’t understand how we never, ever realize the consequences of failing to do these things. Even as we kick around plans to spend $800 million on prisons.
Not jobs programs.
Not health care and mental health care.
Because this is what voting for someone else’s interests gets you: You spend your life ensuring their wealth.
And that is the life story of average Alabamians.
That’s why the custodian pays a higher tax rate than the CEO in Alabama. That’s why the State’s schools in the poorest areas receive the least amount of funding and those in the wealthiest areas receive the most.
That’s why the politicians who you keep electing – the ones backed by the deep pockets of corporations and industry — keep trying to convince you that the jobs of yesterday, like coal jobs, are returning. Even as the companies that supply our power utilize alternative energy that they bring in from other states. Where those states’ workers reap the benefits of both lower power rates and more jobs – jobs that will truly be around in the future.
Over the years in this State, you’ve been convinced to give up on better education funding and union membership and government-aided health care programs and green energy jobs and the legalization of things that have long since been legal elsewhere around America.
The results are easy to see: we’re near the bottom in education, workers’ rights, a healthy workforce, a healthy populace, infant mortality, job readiness, and employment. And we have an incarceration rate that’s double that of North Korea.
And even as the rest of the country improves and continues to grow, we continue to sink.
While all it would take to turn it around is a simple vote for yourself.